Fiona Bawdon at The Guardian wants to know why the immigration authority perpetuates a “culture of disbelief” toward women seeking asylum in the United Kingdom because of sexual assault in their home countries:
[Activist organization Asylum Aid] says asylum seekers are still subject to the kind of questioning that would provoke outrage if it were police treating rape complainants in this way. In one case a male UKBA official asked a trafficked woman if she enjoyed working as a prostitute; another victim was asked if she had tried to stop a man raping her; a case worker had never heard of “female circumcision”. There were examples of women being interviewed for up to five hours without a break.
Dr Russell Hargrave, head of public affairs at Asylum Aid, says reforms introduced by police and criminal courts are not being applied to those going through the asylum process.
Rape culture is systemic and takes time to dismantle, but this is ridiculous. It’s hard not to imagine a racist component to this problem, as well—that non-white women may be seen as less trustworthy and more sexualized, and therefore less capable of being raped. (We all know only completely virginal women can be raped.)