this blog. I'm not really a hot news reporter so I thought I'd spare you my own attempt to write this up. But I was one of the five women who took part in this Rape Crisis protest. We've had a lot of support and we just hope that Boris does the right thing. One thing I would add to the following article is that we targeted Richard Barnbrook's speech in solidarity with Southall Black Sisters. Southall Black Sisters have been forced to boycott a committee looking at strategies for dealing with violence against women because they (rightly) object to the racist, sexist homophobe Barnbrook also having a seat on the committee. You can read more about that here.)
FEMINISTS released attack alarms in City Hall today in a protest calling for Mayor Boris Johnson to secure funding for rape crisis centres.
Five women smuggled the alarms through security and set them off just after 11.30am as assembly members discussed how much money should go to referral and support centres.
The protesters were wearing t-shirts painted with the slogan “rape crisis in crisis” in red as they sat in the public gallery of the GLA centre next to former mayor Ken Livingstone.
They linked arms but were eventually escorted out by security, allowing mayor's question time to continue.
Beth Evans, 22, who has just graduated from King's College and is a member of Mind the Gap London Student Feminists was among the protesters.
She said: “The total annual funding for Croydon Rape Crisis Centre is £250,000 which is the same amount Boris gets paid by The Daily Telegraph – what he calls 'chicken feed.'
“The mayor has failed to keep his promise to voters that he would increase support for women who have suffered sexual violence.
Boris was answering questions from Green party GLA member Jenny Jones about the policing of rape in London and the funding of rape crisis centres.
A consultation by the GLA on preventing violence against women, named The Way Forward, will run to Monday next week.
Evans said: “We welcome the fact the mayor is finally talking about rape crisis but at the moment everything he says sounds like more empty promises.
“We desperately hope people will take part in the consultation online and hold the GLA and the mayor to account. This is why we had to raise the alarm today.”
The mayor stated before the elections last year that he would open three new rape crisis centres and continue to fund Croydon, the only such service currently available.
Johnson promised £744,000 towards rape crisis centres during his campaign but has currently budgeted just £467,000.
The costs of the Croydon centre, which has a four-month waiting list, stands at £250,000 and campaigners fear there is not enough cash.
Laura Harvey, 27, a PhD student from south London said: “Every girl and woman who has suffered violence has the right to specialised support to rebuild their lives.
“But London only has one rape crisis centre for 3.9 million women. Only one in four councils provide this support so there is a post code lottery for women in the most desperate need of help.”
According to the latest figures, there were 1,792 rape cases in the year to 2007 of which only 7.4 percent resulted in conviction. Studies have shown that less than seven percent of rapes are ever reported.
UPDATE: Lee Jasper, former Senior Policy Advisor on Equalities to the Mayor of London, said in response to the-sauce.org article: "Ring the alarm! When the number of women being raped is n the increase I cant see how such a decision is justified or remotely defendable?"
UPDATE: The alarms were set off as Richard Barnbrook, the BNP GLA member, stood up to speak. This was to highlight a BNP member's statement that rape is "like eating chocolate cake".