Thursday, December 22, 2011

Responding to "The Misunderstood Sex Offender"

If you pick up a copy of today’s Chicago Reader and flip to page 6, you’ll see a letter from our executive director, Rachel Durchslag, in response to the story “The misunderstood sex offender.” While we thought the story tackled some important issues, it missed the mark by failing to inform readers about the larger scope of the problem: most rapists are never arrested, charged or convicted. Did you catch the article in the Reader? What did you think? 

CAASE's attorneys work with survivors of sexual assault every day. Many of these survivors were raped by acquaintances, and few of them ever see their attacker held accountable until they reach out to us. Learn more about our legal services here. 

Here’s our response to the Reader article:

Dear Editor,

Readers of “The misunderstood sex offender” (Dec. 8, 2011, by Sam Worley) might conclude that Illinois is over-punishing sex offenders when, in reality, the overwhelming majority of perpetrators of sexual assault are never held accountable for their crimes. Within the realm of sexual violence, the men featured in Worley’s article represent a tiny minority of sex offenders; the men he featured were actually convicted. It’s estimated that fewer than 11 percent of rapists in Illinois are ever arrested, let alone charged or convicted of their crimes. Current law enforcement practices and the laws pertaining to sex offenders are clearly ineffective, and we must begin by demanding that perpetrators be arrested and charged. Reforming our response to sexual assault should never center on the needs of the offender, as Worley suggests, but instead on creating justice for crime victims.  

Rachel Durchslag
Executive Director
Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation

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