December, 2017
JCAST Chicago December Guest Blog

Al Franken and the Monster Myth

I take no pleasure in Al Franken's departure from the Senate, but my greatest sorrow is for what he did-that photo of him "pretending" to grope a sleeping woman revolts me, and I believe Ms. Tweeden's report that he stuck his tongue, unwanted, into her mouth. Although I will miss his smart and progressive voice in Congress, I am confident that there are other Minnesotans (including women) who can serve his state well. I am also hopeful that recent events are revealing what I have long called "the Monster Myth"-the false notion that only evil, awful, men engage in sexual misconduct.

We are in the initial stages of a new national experiment in treating women as credible rather than crazy, and ought to budget ample time and space so that women's justified rage and grief-whether long suppressed or newly triggered-can be expressed. We should also recognize that lacking experience in holding men accountable for the ways in which they subordinate women makes doing so scary and difficult. But we have to do it- it is long past time that we stop protecting men from the harmful consequences of their sexually abusive conduct. I hope that we can all remember that just as women have never been "ruined" by being sexually violated, neither will men be "ruined" by being made to answer for their behavior.

In the current tidal wave of #metoo stories unleashed by reporting on Harvey Weinstein, we are finally hearing the primal screams triggered by the shock of being groped, masturbated at, or worse. Many are now learning that wherever sexual violation lands on the spectrum from forced kiss to rape, sorrow and rage are its wake. And we are being buffeted by more than just the emotions of survivors: as men from every community are revealed as harassers, gropers, or rapists, we are collectively experiencing the heartbreak that comes from learning that perpetrators are men we care about.

Before, it was easy for people without a lived experience of sexual violation to think that only monsters engage in such behavior. It is still difficult for people to accept that sexual violation doesn't require monstrous intent. But it has always been 

Column from Huff Post published on 12/8/2017 
Showing of I am Jane Doe 
Sunday, Jan 21 @ 2:00pm

Resolve to combat Human Trafficking  by participating in this showing of I am Jane Doe at the Northbrook Library, 1201 Cedar Ln. from 2-5pm.

JCAST Chicago is excited to welcome Marian Hatcher, survivor, champion of combating sex trafficking, & Senior Project Manager at the  Cook County Sheriff's Office and Carina H. Santa Maria, MSW, LCSW, Director of Field Education at the Graduate School of Social Work, Dominican University for the discussion following the movie. 

Invite your friends and family and help us fill the auditorium! 
Upcoming Events*

Chicago Showing of I am Jane Doe
Tuesday, Jan 18, 6-8:30pm 
Park Hyatt, 800 N. Michigan
Learn how young women are sold online and join with others to end demand of paid sex. 

Chicago Bar Association
 Human Trafficking Committee 
2018 Calendar
  Jan 9, 12:00  - CBA lunch/fireside chat CLE Speakers: Judge Virginia Kendall and Assistant US Attorney Bethany Biesenthal - discussing the role and efforts of the federal judicial system in trafficking cases.

Feb 14, 12:00  Joint meeting with Labor & Employment Law Committee.  S peakers: Lydia Colunga-Merchant at Raise the Floor & Darci Flynn at Heartland Alliance  discussing the Illinois Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. 

*Please note that not all of these events are sponsored or hosted by JCAST Chicago but are listed here as a convenience to those who might be interested.
Toiletry and Gift Card Donations Needed Year-round to support young women trafficked in Chicago that are helped by the Dreamcatcher Foundation. 

Donation Drop off locations:
Encore & More: 1107 Central Ave, Wilmette
Hadassah Thrift Shop, 405 Lake Cook Rd, Deerfield
Hadassah Office, 60 Revere Dr #800, Northbrook
Temple Sholom, 3480 N Lake Shore Dr, Chicago

If you or your organization would consider organizing a collection drive or a packing program, please contact Donna Fishman at

Street Dignity Bag Packing List:
These items are needed in small, travel sizes. One of each item will be packed in a gallon ziploc "street survival" bag. These items may be packed in ziploc or other small tote bag, or donated in bulk. ( You might even Ask your local businesses if they have items to donate and share this list.)

toothbrush and toothpaste (*ask your dentist!)
hand sanitizer
hand lotion
granola or power bar
pack of tissues
Gallon Ziploc Bags
$5 McDonald's Gift Cards

Prevention Bag Packing List:
The Dreamcatcher Foundation regularly visits girls living in at-risk communities, including teen-aged single mothers. These items may be packed in a tote bag and donated in bulk.

liquid body soap
dove soap
lotion or moisturizer
perfumed body spray
Gift or tote bags

*Bulk items, hotel toiletries and gift cards to McDonalds ($5), Target, Dollar Store, CVS or Walgreens (any amount) are always welcome*
JCAST Chicago on the Move
JCAST Chicago has been busy giving presentations across the Chicago Metropolitan area, for Jewish and secular groups.  Please help JCAST secure speaking "gigs" at Jewish organizations.  Contact Donna at  with names and contacts at synagogues, chavurot, and other Jewish organizations. 

Upcoming JCAST Chicago Presentations

12/11/2017- Temple Sholom Sisterhood
1/11/2018- JWRP leaders of Hadassah
Sex Trafficking in the News:
More and more our news feeds are filled with stories about sex trafficking - some positive and some negative. Here are a few article links that may be of interest.
Make an End of Year gift to JCAST Chicago and support education and advocacy in 2018
Steering Committee
JCAST Chicago is governed by a Steering Committee of dedicated individuals. If you would be interested in serving on the steering committee or one of our Action Teams, email

Steering Committee Co-Chairs:
Donna Fishman, NCJW
Susan Rifas, JUF, JWF

Steering Committee:
Ronna Ash, Hadassah
Susan Block, Hadassah
Cathy Carmody, NCJW
Donna Gutman, NCJW, ICJW, CEASE Network 
Sara Kalish,  Chicago Parks Foundation
Betsy Lazerow, JCFS, JCARES
Carole Levine, NCJW 
Rae Luskin, NCJW
Sherry Petlin, NCJW
Bonnie Ribet, NCJW
Heather Ross, NCJW, Hakafa 
Mara Ruff, JUF 
Stacy Saef, NCJW 
Joan Zahnle, NCJW CNS
Rochel Ray & Samantha Spolter, SHALVA 

Gayle Nelson, Engagement and Development Director
Can't Wait for 2018!

1/21- Movie and roundtable: I am Jane Doe, Northbrook Library, 2:00PM

1/25- Evanston Training of Nonprofit leaders and First Responders, 9:00 a.m. 

1/30-Oakton Community College, DesPlaines Campus-Showing of new film- Stopping Traffic, 12:00p.m.

2/25-Lets Talk About Boys Sexuality, Consent and the Internet Age, 7:00-8:30 p.m.

3/4 2:00-4:30 -Stopping Traffic Cosponsored with Hadassah!

4/22- Lets Talk About Girls Sexuality, Consent and the Internet Age , 7:00-8:30 p.m. 

And Passover events in the City and Burbs with NA'AMAT!
Featured Organization

Phi Theta Kappa
Phi Beta Chapter, 
College of DuPage

JCAST Chicago leader, Jill Lexier, was excited to participate in an Interfaith Forum on Human Trafficking organized by the Phi Beta Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa at College of DuPage earlier this month. The event was part of the Chapter's Honors in Action Program and capped off eighteen months of learning and increasing awareness.

Over sixty students attended the Forum. In addition to Jill, representatives from the Muslim, Christian, and Hindu faiths spoke. Phi Beta Chapter's Vice President of Academic Affairs, Heather Blaney was the main organizer of the Forum. She learned about human trafficking in high school and was an intern at ReClaim 13, a nonprofit providing housing and other services for sex trafficking survivors in the western suburbs.

The Forum galvanized many of the participants. Next semester, College of DuPage Cosmetology students will travel to ReClaim 13's Cherish House to provide free services to survivors. 
Take Action
Take Action!

Here are some things you can do today to take action against Sex Trafficking: 

* Sign up for Action Alerts
Visit our website to keep up-todate with the issues most relevant to you. Sign up for JCAST Chicago, NCJW or Sex Trafficking Action Alerts today! 

* Send a Letter
Send a letter calling on local leaders and law enforcement to enforce laws and end demand. Visit our website to print out constructions and a sample letter.

* Hang a Flyer
Victims may visit bus stations, grocery stores, currency exchanges, and gas stations. Hang a poster featuring the hotline for the National Human Trafficking Resource Center. and help them escape to safety! Visit our website for more information and to print flyers.

* Write a Letter to the Editor
Write a letter to the editor when you learn publicly about arrests of perpetrators of sex trafficking. Commending the media, the police departments involved, and local authorities keeps sex trafficking in the news and encourages more enforcement. Visit our website for a sample letter to the editor. 

Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery by Siddharth Kara

Girls Like Us: Fighting for a World where Girls are not for Sale by Rachel Lloyd

The Johns: Sex for Sale and the Men Who Buy it by Victor Malarek

The Natashas: Inside the Global Sex Trade by Victor Malarek

Women Hold up Half the Sky: Turing Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Sheryl Wudunn and Nicholas Kristof

IN PLAIN SIGHT Podcast  to End Human Trafficking Each week, the IN PLAIN SIGHT Podcast features a an inspiring speaker who may educate you in your work to end human trafficking around the globe.  Click here  for a link to the website.

Jewish Coalition Against Sex Trafficking (JCAST) Chicago
847-853-8889 *

JCAST Chicago is supported by the Jewish Women's Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago.