Welcome to Women Against Rape’s Refuge from Rape & Destitution blog.  Together with our partners, the All African Women’s Group (AAWG), we are campaigning to highlight and end the injustices women face in the asylum system, and the government imposed destitution women suffer as a result. More info here if you’d like to make a donation to this year’s Christmas Appeal for destitute members of AAWG and their children.

The dreadful Nationality & Borders Bill will be back in the House of Commons this week (Tuesday and Wednesday). We’ll be joining a Twitterstorm tomorrow calling on MPs to vote against this bill which will have devastating consequences – info here. Survivors of rape will be denied the right to even make an asylum claim if they are unable to speak about their traumatic experiences to officials immediately. There’s also a demonstration outside parliament between 1 and 2 tomorrow, Tuesday 6 Dec. The bill still has to go to the House of Lords, to be debated there and then return to the Commons for any unresolved issues, find out here how you can register your protest.

Ecocide is driving people to flee, find out more from AAWG speaking at COP26 events about women’s unpaid caring work – protecting communities and nature – and right to be here. Flora from AAWG speaking here.

“Our communities in the Delta are the poorest because the wealth from oil and gas are stolen by corruption from government and their foreign cronies. People’s livelihoods are destroyed. People are forced to leave; suffer many health problems and life continues to be miserable for us. Life expectancy is between 45 to 53 years old. Women and children are badly affected because when there is no food it is women who are the ones searching for something to eat for survival.More here from AAWG members speaking at Extinction Rebellion.

Read recent press articles about the battles that AAWG members have faced to secure safety and protection in the UK:

  • Ugandan lesbian woman wins asylum after cruel ordeal at asylum interview, read more in the Hampstead and Highgate Express.
  • Gloria and Bibi speak about the horrific conditions they suffered in detention and women’s resistance inside, in this article just published in the Metro.
  • Becky and Okeke, who both fled rape/domestic violence, describe the battles they’ve faced in the UK asylum system in this article published recently on Vice.com.
  • “Sara” describes in the Independent how she was left destitute and cramped into “disgusting” slum housing with her family while suffering a horrendous nine year wait for a Home Office decision on her asylum claim. There’s more about that battle on the blog here, including the Home Office’s own lawyer confessing even she couldn’t understand its refusal letter, so couldn’t argue why Sara should not be given asylum! WAR helped Sara win substantial – and to our knowledge unprecedented – damages for the delay.

Find out more in “Up from Destitution”, research conducted by AAWG in the summer to find out why members are made destitute and what they and their children suffer as a result. An article about the report’s findings is available here.

Members of the All African Women’s Group (AAWG) continue to win their cases, after hard won battles in an hostile and cruel process which disbelieves and dismisses victims’ accounts by seizing on the difficulties caused by trauma and stigma. Read here about three recent victories: two women won the right to stay in the UK and one, who had already won status here, is after 19 years, reunited with her children that she was forced to leave in Nigeria.