Progress Report on the Implementation of
CAASE’s New Prevention Curriculum:
Empowering Young Men to End Sexual Exploitation
The first three months of the current school year have been marked with several successes for the Education Outreach team at the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation. We have added two new education interns to our team, and they have made valuable contributions to our effort to teach young people. We have also expanded our curriculum offerings and have added another school to our list of partnerships. Thank you for the generous support that has made the work possible.
In addition to presenting Empowering Young Men to roughly 100 young men so far, the team has also presented workshops on gender inequality, sexual harassment, and consent. We created these new workshops because schools requested additional programming, and the team was able to deliver. This fall, CAASE’s educators have presented programs aimed at reducing all forms of gender-based violence to over 400 students. The more we are presenting, the more schools are asking for us to work with their students, but we still need your help.
The requests for additional programming have created an additional goal. In addition to increasing the numbers of students and schools to which we will present Empowering Young Men, CAASE has committed to creating supplemental workshops dealing with a variety of topics related to sexual exploitation and gender-based violence. The workshops on gender, sexual harassment, and consent have been well-received, and we plan to add workshops to address pornography, pimping, and trafficking.
By expanding the number of programming options, CAASE is simultaneously expanding the breadth of its impact. This new school year is off to great start, and has shown us that schools are in need of our programs. At the moment, however, we are not equipped to handle all of the requests from schools. We need you now. Please continue to support us and GlobalGiving in empowering and equipping young leaders to create a world filled with mutual respect and is free from sexual violence and harm.
While the schools that we partner with have been on summer vacation, the Education Outreach team at the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation has remained hard at work. Thank you for the generous support that has made the work possible. In the 2010-11 school year, CAASE brought its curriculum into seven schools and taught over 700 young men. The goal for the 2011-12 school year is to partner with ten schools in order to reach 1000 young men and empower them to become allies ready to stand against sexual exploitation and violence. During the summer months CAASE’s educator contacted the ten perspective schools, and will begin meeting with teachers, counselors, and principals very soon.
In addition to expanding its number of school partnerships, CAASE has also finished a “toolkit” designed for teachers to use in their classrooms. The “toolkit” can be used to continue the conversation about ending sexual exploitation after a class of young men has participated in Empowering Young Men, or to begin one between the young men and women in a class. The “toolkit” has a wide array of lesson plans that range from discussions about gender stereotypes to creating practical solutions for reducing gender-based violence. It also encourages teachers to incorporate some of the activities across a variety of academic disciplines, and provides suggestions on how to do this. The “toolkit” is not intended to be a stand-alone curriculum, but rather a catalog of ideas for supplementing a teacher’s pre-existing lesson plans.
By expanding the number of partnering schools and creating a teacher “toolkit,” CAASE is increasing both the breadth and depth of Empowering Young Men. The 2010-11 school year was a tremendous success by all measures, and we at CAASE hope to build upon this success as we enter a new academic year. Please continue to support us and GlobalGiving in empowering and equipping young leaders to create a world free from sexual exploitation, violence, and harm.
“Prostitution is a scar on the face of our society.” This is what one young man in 12th grade wrote in a written response following his completion of “Empowering Young Men.” He went on to say, “I am disappointed with the misinformation [we are] taught… Prostitution is not a choice… and it is a big business in the US.” Another young man wrote, “This is wrong… most prostitutes enter the lifestyle as children… I am disappointed with the fact that most men think that [buying sex] has no emotions attached to it.”
Thanks to your very generous support, young men are getting the message. Nearly 700 young men – Chicago students in 8th through 12th grade – have participated in “Empowering Young Men to End Sexual Exploitation” with Caleb Probst, Education Outreach Associate for the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation. From the classroom discussions about needing to be role models and leaders in their neighborhoods, to the written responses expressing a desire to learn more, the vast majority of these young men are demonstrating an understanding of the problem of prostitution and a willingness to act. One young man in 8th grade, showing a clear understanding of the link between poverty and prostitution, wrote, “I want to get people [in this school] to donate food, clothing, and shoes to the women who need it.”
These responses show that “Empowering Young Men” is having a positive impact the young men in Chicago. As the 2010-2011 school year winds to a close, CAASE is beginning to take the necessary steps to bring the curriculum into even more schools next year. Thank you for continuing to support this project; the numbers of young, male allies continues to grow daily.
On any day in Chicago, there are 16,000 – 24,000 women and girls involved in prostitution. However, on that same day in Chicago, there are now more than 500 young men who are aware of this problem and the number is continuing to grow. Because of GlobalGiving and your very generous support, the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation has been taking its curriculum, Empowering Young Men To End Sexual Exploitation, into the city’s classrooms on a daily basis. These young men are learning that although society accepts this country’s sex trade industry – including prostitution, pornography, strip clubs, and escort services – as normal, it is not normal and there is something they can do about it.
Since the initial presentation of the curriculum at the Nancy B. Jefferson Alternative School in April of 2010, CAASE’s Education Outreach Associate, Caleb Probst, has taught Empowering Young Men in six different high schools in Chicago to more than 500 young men between the ages of 14-18. According to a research study into the behaviors of men who purchase sex, the average age at which men begin purchasing sex is 21. Therefore dispelling the myths that surround the sex industry and reaching these young men with the truth about prostitution while they are still in high school is imperative. The data collected from the curriculum’s pre- and post-evaluations indicates that these young men are getting the message.
At the start of the first lesson, each young man is given a pre-evaluation that asks him his opinion regarding 23 statements about prostitution, and to then place his answer on a 4-point Likert scale – strongly disagree, disagree, agree, strongly agree. When the final session ends, the young men are asked to respond to the same 23 statements in a post-evaluation. The following trends noticed in one recent class have been fairly consistent throughout all of the classes; the growing popularity of the curriculum, however, has prevented Mr. Probst from having the time to tabulate the data from the more than 500 forms. At the start of the presentation, 50% of the young men agreed or strongly agreed that most people enter prostitution by choice, but by the end 78% said they disagreed or strongly disagreed with this statement. The young men were also asked if most people enter prostitution as children, and on the pre-evaluation 88% disagreed or strongly disagreed. On the post-evaluation, however, all but one indicated that he agreed or strongly agreed with this statement. One student even wrote, “I was shocked to learn that the average [age they start] is 12.” In response to the final statement of the post-evaluation, “arresting prostitutes is a good long-term solution,” all but one indicated that he disagreed or strongly disagreed with this idea.
Creating practical solutions to the problem of prostitution, however, is one of the major goals Empowering Young Men sets out for its students. During the final session, Mr. Probst divides the students into groups and assigns each group the task of brainstorming actions that young men can do personally, within their families, and within their communities to reduce the prevalence of sexual exploitation. At the end of the brainstorming session, the groups reconvene and Mr. Probst writes each idea on the board. Some of the most common ideas have included using only respectful language when talking about women, holding their peers accountable to do the same, writing articles for the school news paper to raise awareness, and behaving as a “big brother” to younger kids in the neighborhood. Some classes have even decided to write letters to their representatives and to organize a school-wide food and clothing drives to support a women’s shelter in the community.
At the conclusion of the brainstorming session, Mr. Probst hands a small wallet-sized note card to each student and tells him to pick one of the actions the group generated that he wants to do. Each student then, without consulting his classmates, completes the following statement, “I will…” Mr. Probst encourages each student to keep the card somewhere that it can serve as a reminder for what he has learned and then opens up the floor to allow each young man to share something he will take away from the class. One young man said, “I was surprised to learn that there is still…slavery in the United States.” Another said, “I don’t think being called a ‘pimp’ or ‘boss’ is a good thing anymore.” In agreement with him, another added “I’m not going to make jokes about being a pimp anymore.” Perhaps most encouraging of all, there have been countless young men who have said they intend to treat all of the women in their lives with more respect.
At the start of the 2010-2011 school year, CAASE set a goal to present the Empowering Young Men To End Sexual Exploitation in 10 schools and to 400 students. As of mid-February, Mr. Probst has presented in six schools, and three of them have scheduled regular programs through the end of the school year. Currently there are three additional schools that are determined to find time in their busy spring semesters to bring Empowering Young Men to at least their oldest students. Thus CAASE is on track to reach its 10-school goal. Because Mr. Probst has already presented to roughly 540 students, CAASE has met the 400-student goal. The new goal is for 750 young men in Chicago to have participated in this program by June, 2011. With your continued support of this project, more and more young men will become aware of the huge problem that prostitution presents to their community. As their awareness becomes action, violence and harm will slowly begin to decrease for the prostituted women and girls in Chicago. Thank you again for supporting Empowering Young Men To End Sexual Exploitation, because with support like yours we will be able to continue building a generation of male allies who stand together against sexual harm.
 Claudine O’Leary and Olivia Howard, “The Prostitution of Women and Girls in Metropolitan Chicago: A Preliminary Prevalence Report,” (report, Center for Impact Research, Chicago 2001).
 Rachel Durchslag and Samir Goswami, “Deconstructing The Demand for Prostitution: Preliminary Insights From Interviews With Chicago Men Who Purchase Sex,” (report, Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, Chicago 2008).
On any given day in Chicago, there are 16,000 – 24,000 women and girls are involved in prostitution. The rate of this sexual harm and exploitation continues to grow due to a lack of awareness and action. This country’s sex trade industry – including prostitution, pornography, strip clubs, and escort services – is accepted as normal by society, and there is no education for young men to discourage them from buying sex. In short, our culture is failing to address these problems because it is failing to take concrete steps toward solutions. Because of the lack of effort to educate young people about the harms of the sex trade, CAASE developed “Empowering Young Men Toward Ending Sexual Exploitation” – the first curriculum in the country that directly addresses demand deterrence for commercial sexual exploitation and human trafficking with young men. In March, Caleb Probst, the Education Outreach Associate for the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, began implementing CAASE’s new curriculum. As of November 17th, thanks in large part to GlobalGiving and your very generous support, Mr. Probst has taught the curriculum ten times in three different schools in Chicago.
CAASE originally piloted the curriculum at the Nancy B. Jefferson Alternative School, which is housed in the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center. It is a school that aims to provide educational opportunities to court-detained youth. Six students participated in the 4-session presentation, four of whom attended all four sessions. The students came in with a wide variety of opinions regarding the prevalence of violence and the freedom of choice within prostitution and human trafficking. After completing the curriculum, the students were still divided as to how much choice women have when entering prostitution, but all agreed or strongly agreed that women did not have a choice to leave. They all also noted in the exit survey that they agreed or strongly agreed that prostitution is a violent form of sexual exploitation.
Since the initial pilot of the curriculum, Mr. Probst has continued presenting Empowering Young Men at Nancy B. Jefferson, and has also presented programs at Urban Prep Academy and Noble Street College Prep – the curriculum has reached more than 120 young men in Chicago so far. During the final session of the curriculum, these young men generate ideas for how they can personally help end the sexual exploitation of women and children. This is a crucial element to the curriculum, as it allows the young men to take ownership and responsibility for solving this societal problem. Many of the young men from Nancy B. Jefferson agreed to begin using only respectful language toward women and girls, because as one young man noted, “the girls [who start prostituting] usually have low self-esteem.” One class of young men at Urban Prep decided that in addition to “looking out for the girls in [our] neighborhood,” they wanted to organize a clothing and medical supply drive in their school to benefit a direct service provider in their area. Another class decided to organize an awareness raising campaign in their school, and they made posters because “a lot of guys just don’t know about this stuff.”
As the school year continues, Mr. Probst will be facilitating monthly presentations at the Nancy B. Jefferson School and will be teaching twice a week at Noble Street College Prep. He is currently talking with representatives from four other schools who are interested in bringing Empowering Young Men to End Sexual Exploitation to their male students, and his goal is to present in at least 10 schools and reach 400 young men by June, 2011. As these young men grow more aware, and they begin to put their ideas into action, incidences of sexual harm will continue to decrease for the thousands of prostituted individuals in Chicago. Thank you again for continuing to support this project and helping to end sexual exploitation in Chicago.
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