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.
Jan 7, 2016

A Look Back

January, 2016

As we look forward to 2016, let us take a moment to look back at what some students said during 2015.  At the end of each 4-session program, we provide students with the opportunity to reflect on what they have learned and why they believe it is important.  Here are a few highlights:

  • “I was surprised to learn that 80-90% of [people in prostitution] were sexually abused as children, and that most start with prostitution when they are still children.  This is important to think about because you don’t always know what someone in that situation is going through.  They are hurt and don’t want to be doing it any more than anyone else would want to.  From now on, I will not judge these people.”
  • “The harm to society is that women will continue to get raped and exploited; it makes me think of what could be done to stop this from happening.”  
  • “I learned that porn and strip clubs are linked with trafficking, so from now on I am not going to watch porn.  Ever.” 
  • “It’s not okay to watch and enjoy seeing women get exploited and disrespected.  Now I don’t take porn so lightly anymore.” 
  • “I can’t believe how big this problem is.  It makes me want to do something to stop it, because I wouldn’t want this happening to somebody close to me, and everybody is somebody.  From now on, I am not going to disrespect women because you never know what they are going through, and you don't want somebody calling your mom ‘slut’.”

As always, thank you for your continued support of our prevention education efforts.  It is only through your generosity that we are able to reach nearly 2,000 students last year and equip and empower them to stand as allies against sexual violence and exploitation.  As one young man said last year, “It’s really important to think about these things, and spread awareness about it.”  You helped him do that.

Sep 23, 2015

Fall Update

Fall Update

September, 2015

This week marked the beginning of another school year, and Chicago’s half-million students are back in their desks.  CAASE’s educators hope to build upon the success of last year and expand the total number of school partners from 20 to 25.  The team has already begun scheduling workshops with existing partners, and has had promising meetings with potential partners.  Adding five more schools to the list seems like a very attainable goal for the 2015-16 school year.

One of the greatest contributing factors to the ability to increase capacity has been the team’s increase in size.  This year the CAASE prevention team will have an additional educator, bringing the total to three.  The team is ready to get back in the classroom and attended some training over the summer to help prepare.  The Communities in Schools Chicago Summer Institute offered seminars on teaching in a trauma-informed manner.  Given the sensitive nature of topics covered in the Empowering Youth programs, this was incredibly helpful to the whole team.

In addition to reaching out to high schools, CAASE is excited to announce that it will also be launching a prevention education program on college campuses.  It’s going to be SWEET.  The program, Students Working to End Exploitation and Trafficking, will be unveiled later this fall, and CAASE’s educators hope to bring the SWEET program to at least three colleges in Chicago.

As always, thank you for your continued support of our prevention education efforts.  It is only through your generosity that we are able to reach thousands of students each year and equip and empower them to stand as allies against sexual violence and exploitation.  As one young man said last year, “It’s really important to think about these things, and spread awareness about it.”  You helped him do that.  Thank you.

Jun 24, 2015

Impact from 2014-15

Progress Report on the Implementation of

CAASE’s Prevention Curricula:

Empowering Young Men to End Sexual Exploitation and

Empowering Young Women to End Sexual Exploitation

 

June, 2015

 

June not only means warmer weather and sunshine, but it also means that the school year is over.  The 2014-15 school year was tremendously successful for the CAASE prevention education team.  CAASE’s educators worked with over 2,000 students in 20 different high schools across Chicago.  These numbers, however, only tell part of story.  Let’s let the students tell the rest of it.

 

Here’s how students responded to the program this year:

 

  • “From now on, I will not call girls discriminating or dehumanizing names.”  When a man objectifies and dehumanizes a woman with his language, he becomes complicit in her exploitation.  Following the program, 75% of the young men said they would no longer engage in this behavior.
  • “From now on I will try to help out friends in unhealthy relationships.”  The majority of commercial sexual exploitation begins as a romantic relationship that becomes more and more unhealthy.  Following the program, 17% of the students indicated that they felt empowered to help a friend avoid this situation.
  • “I learned that strip clubs are not fun, and are not very safe.”  After learning about the realities of strip clubs, both young men and young women said that they would not patronize strip clubs, nor would they let their friends do so.  On a scale of 1 to 9, with 9 being very likely, most students rated their desire to go to a strip club as a 1 following the program.  Most rated their desire as a 9 beforehand. 

 

Thank you for your support of our efforts.  Students who have completed the Empowering Youth to End Sexual Exploitation programs went on to say that the programs have “opened my eyes and brought more clarity along with awareness to this topic” and have inspired them to “respect everyone regardless of their gender” and to “raise awareness through social media.”  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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