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 of public meeting in House of Commons

Campaigners outside the House of Commons
Campaigners outside the House of Commons

Keep victims' sexual history out of rape trials!

On Tuesday 8 December 1998, about 80 women and several men gathered in the House of Commons for Women Against Rape’s briefing, "End the Second Rape, Keep Victims’ Sexual History out of Rape Trials". Instead of the usual long MPs speeches, 18 women who spoke of their own experience - strikingly for an anti-rape event, many speakers were Black and immigrant. Women of all ages, with and without disabilities, single mothers . . . described rape by strangers, fathers, husbands and boyfriends and on mixed mental hospital wards and by the police and military in other countries. Many described speaking about their ordeal in court, in police stations, and in immigration interviews and tribunal/appeal hearings - as the second rape. Whatever their background wherever they were from their experiences were the same disbelief and humiliation.

Women Against Rape said the provisions now on the agenda in the Youth and Criminal Justice Bill ignored women’s demands and left gaping opportunities to continue abusing women in trials. Supporting WAR’s call for a total ban, Harry Cohen MP who hosted the meeting pointed out that MPs, mostly men, object vigorously when their own private lives are exposed -- and now had a responsibility to respond to WAR’s demand. Consent, not sexual or medical history, had to be the issue in every rape trial. In the Chair Valerie Evans, of the Women’s National Commission (official advisory group to the government on women’s issues), said she will take what she learned from the meeting back to the WNC.

Black Women's Rape Action Project said "government must listen to what women have to say: the situation and concerns raised must inform policies, practices and legislation on rape, asylum and immigration and called for rape and other sexual violence be acknowledged as persecution and therefore grounds for asylum and same standards and treatment, protection and justice for all rape victims as a human right - no matter what our sexual history is, where we come from, or who we are.

WAR and Black Women’s Rape Action Project pledged to continue to press for legislation that will offer real protection, in court and for asylum seekers, and welcome support of all kinds at this critical time.

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