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.

 

 

 

Rhiannon Brooker sentenced

Photo: Alex Brew

image001.jpgThanks for all your support for Rhiannon Brooker who was sentenced yesterday. Despite having been a victim of child abuse and being the mother of a 10-month-old baby still breastfeeding, Rhiannon was jailed for 3 and 1/2 years by Judge Lambert (the same judge who sent Gail Sherwood to prison for two years) – a callous and vindictive sentence.

A number of letters had been handed in to the judge before sentencing – from family members, Women Against Rape and other women’s organisations, and breastfeeding experts and support groups. The judge acknowledged that the innocent party who will suffer is the 10-month-old baby which is a tragedy. But he dismissed the letter from breastfeeding experts as irrelevant even though the child was still being breastfed. Rhiannon refused to be in court during sentencing and waited in the cell. Before going down, she said goodbye to her sisters and brother and thanked everyone for their support.

You may have seen the revolting media coverage. It is no surprise – we have seen this kind of bias in every other false allegation prosecution. If rapists were investigated and prosecuted in the way Rhiannon was over two years, the conviction rate for rape would not be 6.5%. It is clear from police records of a conversation with the CPS that some officers believed Rhiannon, and that their superiors ordered them to get a confession so they could secure a conviction and save their “reputation”. Rhiannon was the more vulnerable party so they went for her.

Rhiannon should never have been prosecuted. Serious charges such as perverting the course of justice should not be used on vulnerable women. We believe Rhiannon is innocent and that she is the victim of a miscarriage of justice – that’s what we shouted in court when her sentence was passed. At least the Guardian report acknowledged our protest. She should not be in prison and her baby should not have to suffer this cruel separation from her mother.

We are continuing to campaign on this and all the other miscarriages of justice against rape survivors. We can no longer encourage victims of rape, sexual assault and domestic violence to report when they risk such malicious prosecutions and years in jail.

Receiving letters makes all the difference to coping inside, so we urge you to write to Rhiannon c/o WAR, which we will forward, to protect her from hatemail.

Best wishes, for justice and against rape.

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