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.

 

 

 

Women Against Rape

Grassroots multi-racial women's group founded in 1976. Offers counselling, support, legal advocacy and information to women and girls who have been raped or sexually assaulted.

I accused my husband of rape. I was locked up – and he was set free

In the Media

Exclusive: Sarah said she suffered years of abuse from her brutal partner. But when she reported it to the police, the tables were turned on her and she lost her freedom and her children

Helen Pidd
guardian.co.uk, Friday 26 November 2010 21.34 GMT

At midnight on 28 November last year, Sarah made the phone call she says she thought would save her life. After nine years of abuse from a man she describes as so controlling that she wasn't allowed her own purse, let alone bank card or driving licence, she had finally been pushed over the edge.

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The idea that we are faced with the mutually exclusive objectives of protecting victims of rape and the innocent is false

In the Media

Why women who report rape fall foul of a harsh criminal justice system

Afua Hirsch, legal affairs correspondent
guardian.co.uk, Friday 26 November 2010 21.00 GMT
 

The criminal justice system is flawed, and is failing to protect the victims of rape adequately.

It's hard to believe that the views of a 17th-century jurist could have any place in the modern law on rape. Sir Matthew Hale was not enlightened even for his time, with his view that "[a] husband cannot be guilty of a rape committed by himself upon his lawful wife, for by their mutual consent and contract the wife hath given up herself in this kind unto her husband, which she cannot retract".

But Hale's rule remained the law until 1991, when the House of Lords at last acknowledged it was "no longer acceptable". Twenty years from now we may well look back on the way today's courts approach rape victims with similar disbelief.

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False rape complaint case that split a small community

In the Media

The conviction of a 16-year-old girl for falsely claiming she was raped has caused alarm among campaigners
• Steven Morris
• guardian.co.uk, Friday 28 January 2011 18.15 GMT
 

She should have been in a classroom working towards her GCSE exams, making sure she achieves the grades she needs to study photography at college.

Instead after a gruelling three-day trial the teenager found herself in front of a judge being convicted of falsely claiming that she was raped last summer when she was just 15.

The case has caused alarm among anti-rape campaigners and legal experts who believe it is yet another example of the increasing readiness of the police and the Crown Prosecution Service to pursue women – or in this case a girl – who in their eyes falsely claim rape.

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Correction: Women Against Rape did not criticise Julian Assange’s legal team

On 16-17 January 2011, Women Against Rape was quoted in a number of papers as “criticising” Julian Assange’s legal team for including the names of the women making allegations against Mr Assange in their skeleton argument.

The articles gave a misleading impression of our views. We never criticised or even mentioned Mr Assange’s legal defence in our comment to the Press Association. Following our complaint, the PA apologised for their mistake by circulating the advisory below with our full quote. Can you please publish and/or circulate this correction.

Press Association wire 19 January at 1635:

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Women question the unusual zeal in pursuing Julian Assange for rape allegations

In the Media

Letters, Guardian 9 December 2010

Many women in both Sweden and Britain will wonder at the unusual zeal with which Julian Assange is being pursued for rape allegations (Report, 8 December). Women in Sweden don't fare better than we do in Britain when it comes to rape. Though Sweden has the highest per capita number of reported rapes in Europe and these have quadrupled in the last 20 years, conviction rates have decreased. On 23 April 2010 Carina Hägg and Nalin Pekgul (respectively MP and chairwoman of Social Democratic Women in Sweden) wrote in the Göteborgs-Posten that "up to 90% of all reported rapes never get to court. In 2006 six people were convicted of rape though almost 4,000 people were reported". They endorsed Amnesty International's call for an independent inquiry to examine the rape cases that had been closed and the quality of the original investigations.

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Re anonymity for rape survivors and allegations against Assange

The rape allegations against Julian Assange have become entangled with the politics centred on Wikileaks. In the last few months this has led to the publication on the internet of the names of the women involved, and to a call for women who report rape to lose their anonymity. Rape victims’ right to anonymity and defendants’ right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, are both crucial. We oppose the use of rape for political agendas which undermine protection and justice for both rape victim and accused. We are appalled that rape allegations may be manipulated to facilitate Mr Assange’s extradition or even rendition to the US where elected officials have called for his execution for his Wikileaks activities. How can anyone ignore this threat? WAR cannot. We oppose the death penalty for any crime, let alone when no charges have been brought.

14 Jan 2011

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Complaint re Andrew Gilligan misrepresenting Women Against Rape

Following our complaint Gilligan’s Daily Telegraph blog has changed somewhat. But where is the apology for his slanderous misrepresentation of WAR?

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Additional statement from Women Against Rape regarding rape allegations against Julian Assange

Women who are fighting for justice for themselves or their children are astounded at the zeal with which Julian Assange has been pursued. Questions need to be asked about the authorities’ motivation when men who pose an obvious immediate danger to women and girls are treated more leniently.

In our 34 years of dealing with rape – including cases of extreme violence where women have suffered years of domestic violence and repeated rape sometimes at knife point – we have seen defendants let out on bail, and police and prosecutors biased against rape survivors. One of the women in our group has been fighting for justice for her daughter who was raped when she was under age; it took the police several months to arrest the man though they had his address. In those months he raped another young woman.

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Keir Starmer orders change in dealing with rape claim retraction cases

In the Media

Director of public prosecutions Keir Starmer acknowledges legal 'failings' in recent rape claim case

Afua Hirsch
The Guardian, Thursday 16 December 2010
Article history

Keir Starmer, the director of public prosecutions, has ordered a change in the way in which rape claim retraction cases are dealt with.

The director of public prosecutions, Keir Starmer, has ordered a change in the way government lawyers deal with cases against women who withdraw rape claims, acknowledging "failings" in the handling of a recent victim.

In his first public statement since a woman was freed from jail last month after being convicted of perverting the course of justice for retracting a rape claim, the chief prosecutor in England and Wales has said that from now on, similar cases will require his personal approval.

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