This is the joint website of  Women Against Rape and Black Women's Rape Action Project. Both organisations are based on self-help and provide support, legal information and advocacy. We campaign for justice and protection for all women and girls, including asylum seekers, who have suffered sexual, domestic and/or racist violence.

WAR was founded in 1976. It has won changes in the law, such as making rape in marriage a crime, set legal precedents and achieved compensation for many women. BWRAP was founded in 1991. It focuses on getting justice for women of colour, bringing out the particular discrimination they face. It has prevented the deportation of many rape survivors. Both organisations are multiracial.




Report: Picket the Crown Prosecution Service!

Photo: Howard Jones
Photo: Howard Jones
Photo: Peter Marshall
Photo: Howard Jones
Photo: Howard Jones

On Friday 1 July over 40 protestors gathered for a loud protest at the HQ of the Crown Prosecution Service in London. It was the first action of Slut Means Speak Up, the campaign that grew out of Slutwalk London, and was called jointly with Black Women’s Rape Action Project, the English Collective of Prostitutes and Women Against Rape. The key demands were to prosecute rapists and to stop their vindictive prosecutions of women. Specifically, the protest highlighted women sent to prison for so-called false allegations of rape, and to drop the prosecution of sex worker Sheila Farmer, who faces trial in September.

Lisa Longstaff (WAR) welcomed everyone with some facts: 90% of rapes are not reported and of those that are, the conviction rate is just 6.7%. Over 30 women have been imprisoned for alleged false allegations of rape in the past year. WAR has been supporting Gail Sherwood, a mother of three, sentenced to two years, and Layla Ibrahim, sentenced to three years when pregnant with her first child. She read a message from Sara Arthur, Ms Ibrahim’s sister: “Her conviction was a total miscarriage of justice. It’s left our family distraught, broken and vulnerable. We’ll fight to get Layla’s name cleared - we’re behind her 100%. The CPS have these new Guidelines on suspected false allegations of rape, but in my sister’s case, they were completely broken.”

Participants were visibly moved when speaker after speaker took the open mic to describe how they were disbelieved or even blamed while their attacker was let off without prosecution. . A young woman reported how the CPS had blamed her for letting her rapist into the flat. An older woman held up a shocking photo of her bruised face, and spoke of her fury that the CPS had dismissed her report of rape as “consenting sex”.

Cari Mitchell (ECP) spoke for Sheila Farmer: “Like the vast majority of women who work in the sex industry, Ms Farmer is a single mother who went into it because of poverty. Also, she had health costs as she is fighting cancer. After a brutal rape she started working with other women for protection and is now being prosecuted for running a brothel. What is she guilty of? Wanting to be safe?” Others spoke of sex workers who had reported violence to the police but had found themselves prosecuted, and their assets confiscated by the police and CPS who are using the Proceeds of Crime Act to make money out of prostitution.

People jeered when a criminology academic reported that she had been in a meeting with ex-Solicitor General Vera Baird last week, who claimed that brothel-keepers are no longer being prosecuted. Ignorance or lie?

Thierry Schaffauser, president of the GMB sex workers union branch paid credit to the ECP for campaigning for sex workers’ rights since 1975. He said: “One night a police officer told me if they found my body on the sidewalk covered in blood they would laugh at me because they had warned me enough.”

Cristel Amiss (BWRAP) said: “Women fleeing war zones, who’ve seen their loved ones killed, and have come to seek safety and protection in the UK are disbelieved and refused asylum, in the same way that women raped in the UK are disbelieved and refused safety and protection. Rape survivors have been detained in the notorious Yarl’s wood immigration and removal centre.”

Sara Walker from Women of Colour in the Global Women’s Strike added: “It is often very hard to come forward and report, there is a double fear - not only of the police sexism but of their racism; they may attack our families and our communities if we report a rape.”

Another young woman of colour added: “I have quite a high number of friends who have experienced rape or sexual abuse, and not one single one of them has gone to the police about it, because we are aware of what we would face, the traumatic experiences we would have.”

Passers-by and workers from the nearby office buildings stopped and stared at the lively protest. Colourful placards and banners spelled out the issues loud and clear. Perhaps the most pertinent was: “Protect all rape survivors - prosecute rapists!”

Michael Doherty spoke about his 14-year-old daughter being groomed by a paedophile via the internet. When he tried to get the police to investigate, he was accused of harassing a police worker by phone and prosecuted. Luckily he had taped all the calls, and this proved his innocence in court. He is now taking a private prosecution against the police. He complained to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) who did nothing. But when he met with it's deputy chair Deborah Glass earlier that week, she admitted that the IPCC as a complaints system isn’t working.

At the end, Sally Freeman the mother of a girl whose rapist had not been convicted told the crowd: “When you fight the rapist that’s hard enough, but try taking on the authorities because they’re even more corrupt than the people they are trying to convict. They’ve spent thousands trying to defend their actions – why didn’t they spend that on prosecuting the man who raped my daughter?”

Anastasia Richardson, the 17-year-old co-founder of Slutwalk London, announced there will be other protests. A woman from Singapore said they hope to set up a similar campaign there.

More photos

Leaflet for the picket


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