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.




Reporting sex attack to police was the beginning of a new ordeal, says victim

In the Media

The Times, Analysis Fiona Hamilton

Last updated September 15 2010 12:01AM

For Anushka, being raped by a former partner was an “intrusion of everything”, she said. “It isn’t just unwanted sex, it’s a complete invasion of your mind, your body, your soul. It destroys you for a long time. You have no trust, you don’t want a relationship.”

When she went to the police to report the assault, believing that she had a clear-cut case, she could have hardly believed that her ordeal was about to get worse. “They don’t treat you with any care at all, I was distraught,” the 48-year-old told The Times.

She felt completely let down by the justice system because the police did not pay enough attention to her case.

Her phone calls went unanswered and she believes that officers undermined her evidence when the matter went to court. When she initially reported the rape in 2008, she had believed that it was an “open and shut” case after her former partner admitted to police officers that he had turned up at her home unannounced one evening.

“He admitted in a video statement to the police that I’d said ‘no’, that he was just trying his luck and that he didn’t think he’d done anything wrong,” she said. “I thought there was no chance that he would get away with it.”

However, Anushka claimed that the police failed to keep her informed about the progress of the case.

She said that she was threatened on three occasions by family and friends of her former partner, but the police refused to do anything.

“They said it wasn’t witness intimidation, but that’s exactly what it was. I was assaulted on one occasion and still they did nothing. Those people who threatened me were allowed to give statements to the court, talking about my former partner’s supposed good character.”

When the matter went to court, Anushka felt that the police officers who testified, deliberately undermined her case by saying that she had constantly called the station in an angry manner.

“It made me sound bad but I was only frustrated because they weren’t telling me what was going on. Then I had no chance to see the CPS barrister before I went in, the man barely looked me in the face. He knew nothing about me. It was an absolute nightmare.”

She was prevented from testifying in open court, she says, thus stopping her from talking directly to the jury.

“It was the worst thing I could have done,” she said.

When her attacker was acquitted, despite admitting in open court that he had “held her down”, Anushka could not believe her ears.

“Most people said it was an open and shut case. I feel completely let down and I really don’t think the police tried that hard.

“They just weren’t that interested. I’m just so distraught at the injustice.”

Lisa Longstaff, a spokeswoman for Women Against Rape, a victim support programme, said that “too many” women were being let down.

“What we’ve found from many cases is that the police don’t necessarily attend right away so that evidence is lost. Victims are often discouraged from reporting, and they don’t necessarily believe the women when they do report. They don’t gather the evidence as thoroughly as they should.

“Rape has just not been a priority, there’s no other way to explain it. And no-one is holding them to account.

“We’ve had review after review. What we needs is for the people in high places, starting with the politicians, to stand up to the police. They have to take them on and insist that things have to change.”

Anushka is a pseudonym.