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.

 

 

 

Success stories

SAnaon.jpgMs K, a vulnerable older woman with multiple health needs, won her right to remain under the Legacy program at the beginning of September 2009 after a ten years battle to stay in Britain. When her solicitor broke the news Ms K said, “If I hadn’t found BWRAP and the All African Women’s Group – I would have taken my life . . . I was so depressed but meeting other women like me and hearing what they have been through gave me courage. If you are fighting for asylum never give up.” In 1999 she was arrested in Uganda for her political activities, and held in a prison where she suffered sexual and other physical violence. She escaped in March 1999 and sought asylum in Britain. We have been helping Ms K since September 2003. She has been attending self-help sessions for over six years and volunteering when her heath permits.

Jnipher.jpgWhen Janipher Maseko finally won her right to remain under legacy in December 2008, she was overwhelmed . . . “women in Yarl’s Wood, BWRAP and Nursing Matters and many other supporters saved me and my kids when I was detained in 2007 without them . . . I was so distressed I was ready to give up, but once I knew people were angry about how I had been treated . . I fought back . . . now the horrors of what happened are behind us. We are happy and my children are settled . . . but my son may have learning problems because he was taken from me at four weeks old while he was still breastfeeding. Social Services are monitoring his progress and I am finally getting help and support to look after them both thanks to my solicitors and BWRAP.”

Interview with Janipher Maseko in the Guardian Saturday 24 November 2007
Stop the threatened removal of Janipher Maseko, breastfeeding mother with two babies May 2007
Ms Janipher Maseko to be released from detention! 31 May 2007

 

“This organisation is vital to the wellbeing of women in society in general. I have been fortunate to have benefited from the generous advice and support WAR gave me when I was in a crisis as a mother of two children in a violent relationship. The support helped me to recover and move forward constructively; I feel is was crucial to developing the sense of wellbeing I now have.

I believe WAR is an exceptional organisation and consider its skills, years of experience, knowledge and resources essential to ensure some degree of equal opportunity in society.”
 

I won the right to stay after four long years of fighting even to get my asylum case heard. My four children were lost in Burundi where I was forced to leave them when I fled for my life after being imprisoned, raped and tortured. Any spare penny that I had since coming to the UK was spent looking for my children. When I won the right to stay I renewed my efforts. I found a reliable man who has some experience in detective work who was ready to search. In July 2008, he located three of them in Uganda.

At first, contact with my children was very difficult. They were deeply traumatised by being separated from me for so long. For all those years they hadn’t known if I was alive or dead. With the help of Women Against Rape, I am applying for settlement visas for the children to join me. We are waiting for the outcome of their applications.

Fantastic News from Maureen M, one of our dedicated volunteers
Maureen on hearing that she won her case
Help traumatised mother find her children

Being a survivor of rape, attacked asleep in bed, from a rapist who had broken into the house, leaves mental scars that stay with you always.

The Old Bailey trial where the offender received 9 years imprisonment after my testament, only to be released after two thirds of his sentence to rape again. This proves how much WAR is truly needed.

Over the course of the years, being put in touch with much needed contacts for legal advice at key stages is paramount, as information is power for survivors. Without this help women are being re-victimized. Believe me, I’ve been through it!”
 

In March 1999 Ms S, a young Muslim woman of Arab African descent who was born and raised in Dubai won her asylum claim at Appeal. Following the news of her victory, Ms S wrote: “No ink in the world could express my appreciation and gratitude. A simple ‘Thank You’ comes with very deep heartfelt feelings that I cannot even find the words to express myself.” BWRAP wrote an expert report for her successful Appeal hearing detailing the impact on her of being repeatedly raped by her father's cousin, and other violence inflicted by her mother when the family were deported to Zanzibar by the Dubai authorities.

I am an Eritrean woman, I’m writing to say thank you. You have been sharing my problems, I can’t wait saying thanks for you and your colleagues in your office for helping me.

I feel I have parents, because you have been with me in all troubles in finance, health and housing problems, helpful advice and letters to refugee council. It’s very kind of you.”
 

Ms O, a refugee from Nigeria fled sexual harassment by a high ranking army officer and rape by his colleagues. Her asylum claim was rejected and she was detained. We made representations by letter to Joan Ruddock, (then Minister for Women), as well as other government ministers Mike O’Brien, Jack Straw and MP Derek Fatchett, and asked the UNHCR to intervene. When she was released and granted exceptional leave to remain in July 1998, Ms O said:

“It is my honest hope that your organisation continues to grow from strength to strength in giving a voice, and empowering women, especially vulnerable Black women facing personal tragedies and the [power] of the Home Office.” Her solicitor said “BWRAP plays unique and important role in assisting with the asylum cases of women who have been subjected to rape or other sexual violence in their countries of mmented origin . . . In Ms O’s case in particular, your representations to the Minister for Women and your suggestion of contacting the UNCHR were pivotal to the successful result.”
 

shadowrapeanon.jpgThank you for the card and kind words of support. I dread to think where we would have been now had we never have come to WAR. As you say, part of the healing process is when the perpetrator is found guilty and how devastating that is when that does no happen. You persecute yourself for allowing that to go on, but I guess in a way doing what we are doing is in itself part of the healing process.

“WAR has provided extra support especially talking to my legal representative when they have neglected my asylum claim, including pointing out a letter form the home office threatening me with deportation which had been ignored by my representative. I could not find help like this from any other organisation, but this was crucial for me. Lawyers can be intimidating if you have a language barrier but having a group like WAR can be of great help and personally I have benefited from this. Also WAR has provided letters of support, which have been very crucial in my immigration case and without such letter I wouldn’t have been able to put down my ordeal in writing.

Through this organisation I have met and made women friends from my own country and other parts of the world who share the same pain and traumas. It was very important for me to meet other black women because the other groups were mainly of white women."