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.

 

 

 

One in three people blame women for being raped, finds Amnesty survey

In the Media

WAR and women in our network gave substantial interviews on this issue on 21 November 2005 on:

  • Channel 4 News
  • National ITV evening and lunchtime news
  • 24 hour rolling news on BBC and ITV
  • BBC3 TV News
  • More4 TV News
  • Four radio programmes including Radio 2's Jeremy Vine show and Radio 5 Live Breakfast show
  • The Press Association
  • The Guardian
  • The Times 
  • BBC online
  • Grazia magazine
Amnesty International's survey found that about 1/3 of people think women are partly to blame for being raped if we are drunk, or have been flirting, or dress provocatively, etc. We were able to give a number of rape survivors in our network a chance to speak out about their experience.  Some of the printed articles can be seen below: 
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The Guardian
One in three blames women for being raped
David Fickling, Monday November 21, 2005
 
One in three people believes that women who behave flirtatiously are at least partially responsible if they are raped, a report published today reveals. A similar number think that women are partially or wholly responsible for being raped if they are drunk, and more than a quarter believe women are responsible if they wear sexy or revealing clothing.
 
The Amnesty International report was described as "shocking" by the group's UK director, Kate Allen. "The government's policies on tackling rape are failing and failing badly," she said. Nearly 15% of respondents thought a woman would be partly responsible for being raped if she was known to have many sexual partners, and 8% totally responsible. Men are marginally more likely to blame the victim than women, although in the case of drunkenness 5% of women thought a woman would be totally responsible if she were raped, compared to 3% of men.
 
Police recorded nearly 13,000 rapes last year, a figure thought to amount to only 15% of the true total since most rapes are never reported. The conviction rate for rape is 5.6% - the lowest ever recorded, with 741 cases resulting in conviction last year.
 
A study in 2002 found that one in 20 reports of rape led to conviction, compared to one in three in 1977. "There's pretty much a rape crisis in this country," said Amnesty spokesman Neil Durkin. "It's up to the government to change these attitudes, and look at to what extent they permeate the criminal justice system."
 
Ruth Hall, from the support group, Women Against Rape, said prejudices were ingrained in the way rape cases were examined."Let them worry about the awareness of the police, judges and the Crown Prosecution Service, and public awareness will change," she said.
A survey for the Association of Chief Police Officers released yesterday found that less than a quarter of police forces in England and Wales had dedicated rape investigation teams, although 85% were found to be meeting best practice standards for gathering evidence.
 
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From the BBC website:
A third of people believe a woman is partially or completely responsible for being raped if she has behaved flirtatiously, a survey suggests.
 
Fewer than 6% of reported rapes result in a conviction
The Amnesty International poll of 1,000 people also found over 25% believe she is at least partly to blame if she has worn revealing clothing or been drunk.
 
Amnesty says the "shocking" findings show government policies are failing.
And the director of public prosecutions told the BBC the report "highlights some areas of real concern".
 
Ken Macdonald QC, who is in charge of prosecutions in England and Wales, spoke to BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour.
 
"The idea that a third of our people think that if a woman flirts she has only herself to blame if she is raped is, I think, quite shocking," he said.
 
"These are jury trials. The jury is the community in the courtroom and it is reasonable to suppose the jury brings into the courtroom a lot of the attitudes we have been reading about."
 
The Home Office says it has changed the law to try to improve conviction rates.
"We have made a number of changes to the legal system and to how the police and Crown Prosecution Service work, to put victims needs first and to make it easier for cases to get to trial and secure convictions," a spokesman said.
 
"We are determined to close the gap between the increasing number of rape cases reported and the low number of convictions."
 
However, the Amnesty poll, carried out by ICM, found that most people in Britain had no idea how many women were raped every year in the UK or how few of the cases reported to police resulted in a conviction.
 
Almost all, 96%, said they either did not know the true extent of rape or thought it was far lower than the true figure. Just 4% thought the number of women raped exceeded 10,000.
The number of recorded rapes of women in 2004/5 was 12,867 - up 4% on the year before - although police estimate that just 15% of rapes come to their attention. Only 6% of reported rapes result in a conviction.
 
'Disturbing attitudes'
Amnesty International UK director Kate Allen said the poll, part of its Stop Violence Against Women campaign, had uncovered "disturbing attitudes".
 
She said: "It is shocking that so many people will lay the blame for being raped at the feet of women themselves and the government must launch a new drive to counteract this sexist 'blame culture'."
 
The research exposed the scale of public ignorance over rape as well as the "dreadfully low" conviction rates, she added.
 
"The government has an international duty to prevent this gross human rights violation yet it's clear that the government's policies on tackling rape are failing and failing badly."
Joanna Perry, policy manager at Victim Support, said it was alarming to read that so many people appeared to believe that a woman was responsible for inviting a rape or sexual assault.
 
'Devastating effect'
"Rape is an appalling crime and has a devastating effect on victims and those close to them. In other words, nobody asks to be raped," she added.
 
And Ruth Hall, from the support group Women Against Rape, criticised "prejudices" in the court system.
 
"They still put the woman on trial, including her sexual history with other men, which is supposed to be banned and blame the woman for what happened to her and hold her accountable," she said.
 
Rape is an appalling crime and has a devastating effect on victims and those close to them. Nobody asks to be raped , Joanna Perrym, Victim Support
 
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('Sue' in this article is in WAR's network)
'I felt it was my fault and thought no one would believe me'
By Tosin Sulaiman, The Times, November 21, 2005
 
FOR Sue, the experience of giving evidence against the man who had raped her was deeply humiliating.
 
She decided to report the incident, two weeks after it happened, on learning from a friend, who also knew her attacker, that he had a previous conviction for rape.
 
At the trial she felt that the defence was trying to discredit her by questioning her motives and asking how much she had drunk that night. “They were trying to put something across to the jury about my character, about why I shouldn’t be believed,” she said.
 
Sue, 40, had been drinking heavily at a friend’s party on the night that she was raped by an acquaintance, and was wearing a revealing dress. After the party she shared a taxi home with the man, who insisted on seeing her to her door and, despite her protests, coming in for a cup of tea. “I was very drunk. I was unconscious when the attack happened and I woke up to find myself being raped on my couch in the early hours of the morning,” she said.
 
The case was thrown out before any other witnesses were called because the judge felt that she was an unreliable witness. “The process of being in court, being the only person to take the stand, being told you were an unreliable witness, was completely humiliating,” she said. “You also think it’s all been for nothing because he’s still on the streets.
 
“The one thing I would say to women is: don’t allow yourself to be vulnerable and alone with someone who’s not your boyfriend or your best mate.”
 
Leanne decided not to report being raped because she felt that she would be judged. The 41-year-old mother, who was raped by someone she had considered a friend, said: “I knew that no one would believe me. I felt it was my fault. It took me months to accept that he had made that decision to do that to me.”
Some names in this article have been changed

 

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