Friday, October 29, 2010

Who Made Halloween About Sex?

Rachel Durchslag, our executive director, is quoted in RedEye about the trend of increasingly “sexy” Halloween costumes, and I thought maybe we could chat about it over here too. Alysse, the RedEye reporter, interviewed Chicagoans about which type of costume was better, sexy or scary. We appreciate our perspective being included in the story—here’s a longer quote from Rachel on the subject:

“As our society is getting more and more hyper-sexualized, people are going over the top on Halloween to out-do the pace. It’s still really taboo to talk about sex in our culture, and yet we’re bombarded with sexual imagery.

I see this trend as our culture’s failure to create authentic ways to celebrate sexuality. Who gets to define what’s sexy and sexual? We’re letting costume companies make money off of defining our sexual desires.

Men, on their own, probably wouldn’t say that they fantasize about a woman in a skimpy firefighter outfit. And yet now that it’s accepted, women feel they need to live up to these standards.

We should think about the role we’re letting corporations play in shaping our identities. It’s frightening.”

What do you think? Is Halloween about sex because we want it to be, or because someone else tells us it should be? And, on a lighter note, what’s your costume going to be this year? Rachel was Waldo :)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sex Slavery in our Backyard

When reading the story regarding the woman who was made into a sex slave in Kansas City, I was truly mortified. This woman apparently became a victim at the age of 16, when she ran from her adoptive parents. The couple charged with sex trafficking both stated that the victim asked if she could live with them, after escaping her adoptive parents. Unfortunately, many victims of prostitution and human trafficking are often runaways. They try to lead healthier lives by running away from abuse and then become re-victimized by pimps, traffickers, or in this case, a couple the victim thought she could trust.

To me, the most upsetting part of this story is that the victim is blamed. In the article, people who have encountered the victim have stated that she enjoyed what she was doing, which includes stripping, pornography, and being tortured during sex. In research performed by CAASE, men have admitted to buying prostituted women because they are too embarrassed to ask their partners to perform specific acts. In this case, men were soliciting this woman online and in person in order to perform BDSM. This article also stated that the woman was “mentally deficient” – therefore no consent (if consent was even given) is consensual.

A coworker of this woman stated that she looked “happy and spoiled.” Being tortured by methods of electric shock and waterboarding does not seem like a happy and spoiled life to me. A life full of physical and sexual abuse does not seem like a happy and spoiled life either, actually it sounds terrifying.

Want to get involved and help combat sex trafficking? Would you like to become a voice for millions of women and children who are victimized each year by this crime? Find out more information at

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sarah Jessica Parker and Gabourey Sidibe Join Fight Against Sex Trafficking

Actresses Sarah Jessica Parker and Gabourey Sidibe join the fight against sex trafficking in Brooklyn by recording public service announcements to raise awareness of sex trafficking and Brooklyn's new hotline for victims. The PSAs highlight the fact that young adolescents are trafficked and encourages use of the hotline for helping end sex trafficking.

CAASE has been a leading organization in the fight against child sex-trafficking, and was instrumental in helping to get the Illinois Safe Children Act passed, which protects victims under the age of 18 of sex trafficking and forced prostitution from being prosecuted for prostitution. To learn more about the advocacy work that CAASE engages in, visit End Demand Illinois

Listen to the PSAs here!