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.

 

 

 

Gail Sherwood

When reporting rape turns into a crime

In the Media

Women who drop rape allegations because of fear are being prosecuted. Our new guide is needed more than ever.
Lisa Longstaff

guardian.co.uk Comment is free, Tuesday 9 November 2010 14.04 GMT

The imprisonment of a woman in Wales for withdrawing rape allegations against her husband is a nightmarish addition to the discrimination awaiting women and girls who seek justice after suffering rape and sexual assault.

Just 6.5% of reported rapes end up with a rape conviction (and 87% end with no conviction at all). Stalking, threats to kill and further assaults are common from violent men who have been reported, especially when they have had a relationship with the victim. Two women a week are killed by partners and ex-partners. Many other women commit suicide to end the terrorism they face.

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Gail Sherwood on life in prison

"As a mother separated from children, partner and dogs, it's like a living hell. Worrying about what's going on at home, running the home from far away. My partner lost it big time yesterday, he's really struggling. People say let them get on with their lives but I can't. Everything in the home was pivotal around me and they all ask me for advice and guidance on what they should do next. Tell them what to feed the puppies, how to fix the internet . . . I've had my youngest girl sobbing down the phone. All I can do is talk them through it. My partner tells me I mustn't cry because it upsets him.

I am allowed to hug them when they visit, when they first come in, but not after that. My family get sniffed by the drug dog – we've got 20 dogs at home so of course the drug dogs sniff them! Then we were told we were being watched for drugs for the whole visit. Same happened with two of my friends – they've both got dogs too."

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What you can do to support Gail Sherwood

On 4th March 2010, Gail Sherwood, a 52-year-old mother of three, was sentenced to two years in prison for falsely claiming she had been harassed and raped by an unknown stranger. Women Against Rape has been supporting Gail for over 18 months and throughout her six-week trial. We are convinced that she is innocent. So are over 70 of her friends and family who wrote to the judge: “We have always found Gail to be kind, intelligent, well-balanced, and above all honest... [She] had no reason to jeopardise her family life with her daughters, her partner, her dogs and her livelihood by making up something that did not happen...”

For more information visit (http://www.womenagainstrape.net/content/defence-case) and read the excellent article published in the Guardian on Friday 5th March 2010 (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/mar/09/gail-sherwood-jailed-campaigners).

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Jailed for crying rape: fantasist or genuine victim?

Supporters of Gail Sherwood say her conviction will discourage others from reporting attacks. Prosecutors say she had to be taken to court for the sake of real rape victims

Steven Morris
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 9 March 2010 13.19 GMT
Article history

 

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The Defence Case

Court report – the Defence case

DS Wood was recalled to the witness box to answer the questions he was unable to answer in previous days. He confirmed that:
- Vaginal swabs had not been tested for lubricant (although Mrs Sherwood had always said the rapist used a condom).
- Mrs Sherwood had not been seen “vigorously hitting herself” in the vagina in order to cause injury, as claimed by the prosecutor, but that two officers claimed to have seen her “rubbing herself”.

Mrs Sherwood later explained that she had tried to shift her hips as she was numb on the cold ground and that an officer had pulled her legs straight telling her to stay still. She emphatically denied injuring herself.

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Report of the trial of Mrs Gail Sherwood in Bristol Crown Court

There seems to be an increasing trend to prosecute women who reported rape and were not believed by police.  On 8 January 2010 Mrs Gail Sherwood was put on trial in Bristol Crown Court accused of making false allegations.  She has had WAR’s support for nearly two years.

We are concerned that the trial should be accurately reported as the media coverage of such cases is often biased and sensational. So far newspapers have only mentioned the prosecution’s arguments, sometimes inaccurately. The defence begins on Monday 1 February and we hope that the media will present what Mrs Sherwood and her witnesses say.
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