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.

 

 

 

Why I am on hunger strike at Yarl's Wood

In the Media

Denise McNeil, one of the detainees at Yarl's Wood, explains why she has been on hunger strike for the last two weeks

The Guardian, Monday 22 February 2010

Twenty women at Yarl's Wood ­detention centre in Bedford have been on hunger strike for two and a half weeks in protest at their treatment by the immigration ­authorities. Here, one of them, Denise McNeil, tells her story:

I have been on hunger strike for more than a fortnight. I feel weak and get terrible headaches. A ­doctor says I should eat, but I am still refusing food. I can't sleep because I am woken every hour of the night when the light goes on and somebody here checks on me.

The women have been through terrible experiences – some are survivors of rape and torture – but we are treated like criminals. When we staged a protest two weeks ago, we were locked in a corridor, with no water or toilet facilities. After two hours, some women felt sick. One had an asthma attack and we begged the officers to let her out, but they refused. Since then, I have been detained in isolation.

I came to the UK from Jamaica in April 2000. My brother had been murdered by a gang, and my sister was going to be a witness at the trial – then she was killed too. I realised I would be murdered if I stayed, so I came to Britain. My son, then seven, joined me a few months later.

I didn't know that I could claim asylum. Instead, I started a computer course and applied for a student visa. This was refused. Around the same time, I started a relationship with a British man and we were married and had a son, so I applied for a marital visa. This was also refused.

I was brought to Yarl's Wood in March last year and told I would be deported. My other brother came to the UK in 2000, but he was ­deported to Jamaica within five years. Last month, he was murdered. I am still trying to ­convince the immigration officials that my life is in danger too. All I want is to live a safe, normal life with my children in Britain.

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