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.

 

 

 

Speech @ SlutWalk by Cristel Amiss, Black Women's Rape Action Project

p1030539.jpgYou all look great, you look amazing from up here - we’re so glad to be here together in our thousands, from all our different backgrounds. We belong together!

Slutwalks are everywhere it’s like a wave across the globe: Brazil, Argentina and one planned in India. They are an occasion where women of colour can be visible as survivors, and speak up about our often invisible organising against rape. In the UK and across the globe, women of colour face racist and sexist violence.

And we face the poverty that makes us more vulnerable to violence, especially in countries of the South. But even here, women get lower wages than men, and women of colour even lower wages than white women. If you have less, you are more unprotected in every way.

In the 70s, Asian women coming to Britain fought the obscene virginity tests forced on them to enter this country – that is, government sanctioned sexual assault by immigration officials. Many were also forcibly sterilised.

slutwalk-march-london_721916.jpgIn 1982, Esme Baker, a Black mother in East London was sexually assaulted in a police van when she defended her son from a racist attack by them. She said “I equate my experience to the past when women were put on blocks, stripped naked, assaulted and then sold.” Her son was put on trial for attacking the officers who had attacked him. There were two pickets outside the court – one by a group of women in support of Esme Baker, and one by WAR in support of her and her son. We won and the boy was found not guilty. But when we asked the other group why aren’t you supporting the boy against the racist assault, they said we don’t support men! Ms Baker could not make that separation, and neither can we.
Women of African descent have always been considered sex objects, perpetually available to white men. The police are too often not responsive to any rape survivors, but even less so if we are women of colour.

Some years ago when a Black woman reported her violent partner – the police came to her house and arrested the whole household -- including her. So you don’t call the police if it puts you in more danger.

Because of these experiences we formed an independent group of women of colour focussed on protecting each other against rape, racist attacks and other violence, and winning justice - that’s why BWRAP exists.

We struggle against
• Islamophobia - Muslim women are accused of being terrorists if we cover ourselves up –– and sluts if we don’t.slutwalk-london_722462.jpg
• The UN estimates that 80% of the casualties of war are women and children. We have been bombed, mass raped, and starved, had our children killed before our eyes – from Palestine to Sri Lanka, Congo to Darfour, Iraq to Afghanistan.
• Of those of us who come to Britain as asylum seekers, 70% are rape survivors. We have often escaped from wars which are promoted and armed by the west. Yet we face disbelief, destitution, detention and deportation back to the dangers we escaped. Lawyers and immigration officials have been known to demand sex in return for representation. How can women possibly report this violence knowing that they face deportation if they do?
• In central India, Dalit and Tribal women from our network are organising to stop rape by soldiers and security forces, paid by mining and others corporations to plunder their lands.
• Domestic workers in our network in Peru, mostly Indigenous women, in Trinidad & Tobago and in the US are organising against rape and exploitation by employers.
As the women on the Paris SlutWalk march said, referring to the attempted rape by the IMF chief: ‘We are all chamber maids’. That’s how we break down divisions among us. Wherever we are, whoever we are! We’re together against rape!
 

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