Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE)

CAASE addresses the culture, institutions, and individuals that perpetrate, profit from, or support sexual exploitation. Our work includes prevention, policy reform, community engagement, and legal services.
Jun 19, 2014

A Success Story

I was asked to come into a high school in Chicago to work with their 9th grade boys.  The school indicated that they were troubled by the behavior exhibited in the halls by some of the boys toward some of the girls, and thought the boys would benefit from going through our program, Empowering Young Men to End Sexual Exploitation.  At the start of the first day, I asked the boys to write down words they would use to describe “a prostitute.”  The majority of the responses were words like, “slut,” “hoe,” “THOT” (That Hoe Out There), “easy,” “nasty,” “dirty,” and “worthless.”  Many of these words were the same words that the administration reported hearing directed at the girls in the school.  At the end of the 4-session program, I asked the same question.  This time, however, the responses were words like, “abused,” “raped,” “alone,” “desperate,” “depressed,” and “victim.”

As these young men went through our 4-session program, they had an opportunity to examine the constructs of masculinity and think critically about how they influence their own decision making.  They also had a chance to consider how their behavior, and the behavior of their peers, can impact their community.  One student wrote, “I’ve learned that men treat women like crap, they use them as an object…  I know that this puts girls in danger of becoming a prostitute.”  He and his classmates began to see that objectifying women and degrading them with words like “slut” can have serious consequences.  When asked how girls end up in prostitution, many responded with “they had a traumatized life,” “they had a rough childhood,” or “[society says] they have less power.”

Now, not every girl who is objectified and degraded will end up being commercially sexually exploited, and these young men acknowledged that.  But as one student said, “we [never] know her story.”  At the end of the final session, I asked the young men if there was anything that they would do differently now, based on what they had learned during the program.  The two most common responses were “I will stop saying words like ‘thot’” and “I am going to respect women more.” 

School is out for the summer now, but let’s hope they keep their promises.

Mar 20, 2014

March Update

Caleb Probst training other facilitators
Caleb Probst training other facilitators

Progress Report on the Implementation of

CAASE’s Prevention Curriculum:

Empowering Young Men to End Sexual Exploitation

 

March, 2014

 

As the snow and ice begin to melt, the CAASE prevention education efforts are really heating up.

So far in 2014, the prevention educators have:

  • Facilitated Empowering Young Men to End Sexual Exploitation with 131 young men between the ages of 14 and 18, in three different high schools;
  • Facilitated Empowering Young Women to End Sexual Exploitation with 89 young women between the ages of 14 and 18, in two different high schools;
  • Trained 15 educators on how to facilitate the Empowering Youth program.

 Going forward through the spring and summer, the prevention team will: 

  • Continue facilitating Empowering Young Men and Empowering Young Women;
  • Participate as a guest panelist at the Illinois Capital Forum; and
  • Translate all prevention education materials into Spanish.

Thank you for your support of our efforts.  This program is continuing to each day, and is now receiving national attention for the innovative way in which it engages young people—especially young men—in a conversation about ending sexual violence and exploitation.  Please continue to support CAASE’s prevention team as we continue to empower the young men and women of Chicago to make a difference.

Dec 17, 2013

Winter Update

Progress Report on the Implementation of

CAASE’s Prevention Curriculum:

Empowering Youth to End Sexual Exploitation

 

December, 2013

 

Although the academic year is not quite halfway done, the calendar year is almost over.  As such, it seems like a nice time to reflect on the efforts of the prevention team’s efforts.

 

In 2013 the prevention educators:

 

  • Facilitated Empowering Young Men to End Sexual Exploitation with 486 young men between the ages of 14 and 18;
  • Facilitated Empowering Young Women to End Sexual Exploitation with 407 young women between the ages of 14 and 18;
  • Presented workshops on topics such as healthy relationships, sexual harassment, sexual assault, and human trafficking to 1,002 young people between the ages of 14 and 18;
  • Maintained partnerships with 15 Chicago high schools;
  • Completed the adaptation of the Empowering Youth Curriculum for lower grade levels; and
  • Presented on exploitation prevention education work at conferences in five different states and in Canada.

 

Thank you for your support of our efforts.  This program is continuing to each day, and is now receiving national attention for the innovative way in which it engages young people—especially young men—in a conversation about ending sexual violence and exploitation.  Please continue to support CAASE’s prevention team as we continue to empower the young men and women of Chicago to make a difference. 

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