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.

 

 

 

Letters: The bitter aftermath of failed rape prosecutions for women

In the Media

Letters, The Guardian, Wednesday 19 February 2014 21.00 GMT
While your excellent leader (14 February) acknowledges the authorities' "widespread complicity in sexual abuse", three letters (17 February) call for a time limit on rape prosecutions and the prosecution of women accused of making a false allegation. There is already a zealous drive to prosecute women for lying. This is despite whistleblower PC James Patrick exposing widespread police pressure on women to retract rape reports, targeting the most vulnerable victims, and the Independent Police Complaints Commission finding that this had been a "standard operating procedure" in one London borough. Once women have been pressed to retract, what is to stop the police from accusing them of lying and the Crown Prosecution Service from prosecuting?

Is there a greater victim than the one who, having suffered violence, is jailed while her attacker goes free? We are working to overturn two miscarriages of justice – the convictions of Layla Ibrahim and Gail Sherwood, jailed after reporting rape by strangers. We brought these and other cases to the attention of Keir Starmer when he was director of public prosecutions. And while he is building a career as the victims' champion, the CPS under him prosecuted more vulnerable women and girls for "false allegations" than previously. The criminal justice agencies should indeed be ashamed of having treated pre-Savile victims with contempt. Too many rapes, recent and historic, were blocked by the authorities. Look at Oxford, Rochdale, Caldicott preparatory school … which reached convictions – eventually.

A not-guilty verdict doesn't prove that the victim lied. Yet after each celebrity acquittal, there are immediate calls for time limits on prosecutions and anonymity for the accused. Both display a unique eagerness to protect the accused and to disbelieve the victim. Both would silence victims – back to pre-Savile days.

Lisa Longstaff
Women Against Rape
 

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