It’s time.

ChicagoCAC - ItsTime

The cultural shift in the last few weeks has been notable. A culture that believes victims, that allows victims to come forward without fear of retaliation or blame, that holds perpetrators accountable – this is what we need now… Read More

Gov. Rauner: Please sign SB189!

ChicagoCAC - SoL Rauner

Earlier this year, the Illinois House and Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 189, which removes the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse. This vital legislation has been sitting on Gov. Rauner’s desk for weeks, but he has not yet signed it into law.

Victims and survivors of abuse deserve unanimous public support. Gov. Rauner should stand with us by proudly signing this bill so that victims of abuse in Illinois will never run out of time to seek justice, and our community will be protected from known perpetrators.

Contact Gov. Rauner now to encourage him to sign SB189!

Option 1: Call Gov. Rauner’s Office

Have the biggest impact by calling Gov. Rauner’s office and speaking with a member of his staff at his Springfield office: (217) 782-0244. Here’s a script to get you started:

Hi, this is [YOUR NAME] from [YOUR HOMETOWN], zip code [YOUR ZIP CODE]. I’m calling to ask that Gov. Rauner stand with victims and survivors of child sexual abuse by signing SB189 into law before the August 15 deadline. Signing this legislation into law to remove the statute of limitations will help ensure that victims of abuse are heard and helped, no matter when they gather the strength to come forward. There are more than 1 million victims and survivors of child sexual abuse living in Illinois. Gov. Rauner should show his support for these resilient children, youth and adults by signing SB189 today. Thank you.

Option 2: Complete Gov. Rauner’s Contact Form

Complete the Contact form on Gov. Rauner’s website to make your voice heard. Complete the fields with your contact information, and copy this sample message into the Comments field:

Subject: Other
Position: Support
Comment: Governor Rauner, I’m writing to ask that you sign SB189 into law. By signing this legislation to remove the statute of limitations for sex crimes against children, you will publicly demonstrate your and our state’s commitment to supporting survivors of child sexual abuse and their right to seek justice. As our governor, you have a duty and a responsibility to protect Illinoisans. Removing the statute of limitations helps ensure that victims of abuse may be heard and helped, no matter when they gather the strength to come forward. SB189 was passed by both the Senate and House unanimously, and I strongly encourage you to sign this bill into law. There are more than 1 million victims and survivors of child sexual abuse living in Illinois. Show your support for these resilient children, youth and adults by signing SB189 today. Thank you.

Thank you for using your voice to support victims and survivors of sexual abuse! Share this page to help spread the word! 

 

Earlier this year, the Illinois House and Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 189, which removes the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse. This vital legislation has been sitting on Gov. Rauner’s desk for weeks, but he has… Read More

FullSizeRender-15

Great news! SB189, which would remove the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse, has passed the house judiciary committee unanimously! Thank you to Amy for sharing her story and being in Springfield today! SB189 will be up… Read More

ESPN: USA Gynmastics

“The tacit culture of acceptance of child sex abuse was fostered not just by Mr. Penny, but many of the long-term members of the board. Make no mistake, this resignation is the result of the brave women who… Read More

Impact Statement Event

In addition to hosting our BEYOND WORDS event on April 2, our friends at The Public House Theatre are donating proceeds from their Impact Statement event on April 19 to ChicagoCAC and Rape Victim Advocates. Learn more about this powerful event and RSVP on their website.

In addition to hosting our BEYOND WORDS event on April 2, our friends at The Public House Theatre are donating proceeds from their Impact Statement event on April 19 to ChicagoCAC and Rape Victim Advocates. Learn more about… Read More

Statute of Limitations: Amy’s Testimony

Amy is a longtime supporter of ChicagoCAC and a survivor of abuse. At the time that she was abused, child advocacy centers like ours did not exist, and she was not provided the support and opportunity for justice that children today receive. This is the testimony that she submitted in support of removing the statute of limitations, based on her experiences attempting to report abuse.

Good afternoon members of the committee. My name is Amy. Thank you for allowing me to share my personal story of sexual abuse, as I believe it will offer insight into the importance of supporting Senate Bill 189. While the story of my abuse is difficult for me share, I am grateful for the opportunity to finally utilize my voice to protect other children from experiencing the horror that I experienced as a child, and the pain that I continue to suffer as an adult.

I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and currently reside on Chicago’s north side. I was sexually abused for eight consecutive years by an adult neighbor who was a trusted family friend and pillar of the community. The abuse began when I was only 5 years old and occurred on a nearly daily basis until I was 9 years old. At that time, my family moved, and the abuse occurred less frequently. My abuser was bold, calculated and unrelenting in his power to manipulate me. He groomed me by offering me cookies, saying kind words and playing touching games to gain my trust. He silenced me by manipulating me into believing that the abuse was our special secret. At the age of 13, the abuse ended when I finally disclosed to my parents. Fortunately, my parents believed me and supported me throughout my journey of healing. While I was relieved that the abuse had ended and was grateful that I was finally safe for the first time in my life, I was haunted by the knowledge that my perpetrator was, undoubtedly, abusing other children.

While I was relieved that the abuse had ended and was grateful that I was finally safe for the first time in my life, I was haunted by the knowledge that my perpetrator was, undoubtedly, abusing other children.

When I approached my parents about reporting the abuse, they were fearful of traumatizing me further and made the decision that it was best that I not report to the police. While I respected my parent’s decision, in my heart, I knew I could not remain silent forever. I was fully aware that I was not my perpetrator’s only or last victim. For the next several years, the guilt of not reporting weighed heavily on me. I worried that my continued silence was allowing this sick, dangerous man to abuse other children. In my early twenties, I finally summoned the courage to report the abuse to the police. Unfortunately, my voice was silenced when shortly after I arrived at the police station, an officer informed me that the statute of limitations had expired and there was no legal action that could be taken against my abuser. Learning that I missed the deadline to seek justice against my abuser was devastating. I felt helpless, depressed and angry that the law protected perpetrators and not children. Once again I was the victim, powerless to my abuser.

I felt helpless, depressed and angry that the law protected perpetrators and not children. Once again I was the victim, powerless to my abuser.

Since my late teens, I have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety. I have spent more than half of my life and thousands of dollars every year participating in various forms of therapeutic services focused on trauma and recovery. The abuse has impacted all aspects of my life, including my relationships. While I have made significant progress in my healing, I continue to struggle with immeasurable emotional pain from the years of horror my abuser inflicted upon me. I mourn for the child that I was prior to the abuse and the innocence that was stolen from me when I was only 5 years old.

The laws regarding the statute of limitations on sexual abuse in Illinois played a detrimental role in my story. For the last 30 years, I have had to live with the pain and guilt that other children most likely suffered the same abuse that I experienced as a child because a law was in place that protected my perpetrator.

I am here today to ask you to reform the current statute of limitations to allow victims the time they require to come forward to seek justice.

I am here today to ask you to reform the current statute of limitations to allow victims the time they require to come forward to seek justice. I disclosed my abuse at an early age and was fortunate that my parents believed me and supported me both emotionally and financially. Despite this, I was still too late to seek justice in our system. Many survivors do not disclose this early, as they do not have the support and resources that I had. I have never understood why, when there is no statute of limitations for murder, there is a statute of limitations for sexual crimes. My abuser murdered part of my soul. Please prevent this heinous crime from happening to other innocent children. Vote yes to Senate Bill 189. The clock should never run out on reporting child sexual abuse.


Thank you to Amy for sharing her powerful testimony and for all of her efforts to support victims and survivors of child sexual abuse. Visit our Statute of Limitations Advocacy Action page to help us pass this important legislation.  

Amy is a longtime supporter of ChicagoCAC and a survivor of abuse. At the time that she was abused, child advocacy centers like ours did not exist, and she was not provided the support and opportunity for justice… Read More

BEYOND WORDS

Join our Community Advisory Council on Sunday, April 2 at The Public House Theatre for BEYOND WORDS. This reception will honor survivors of child sexual abuse, and together we’ll enjoy poetry reading, live music and light refreshments. Attendees who are impacted by child sexual abuse are invited to decorate a t-shirt to hang in our interactive exhibit, which will also feature children’s art. View complete information and RSVP here.

ChicagoCAC Beyond Words - April 2

Join our Community Advisory Council on Sunday, April 2 at The Public House Theatre for BEYOND WORDS. This reception will honor survivors of child sexual abuse, and together we’ll enjoy poetry reading, live music and light refreshments. Attendees… Read More

Beyond Words 2017

Join ChicagoCAC’s Community Advisory Council in recognizing Child Abuse Prevention Month with BEYOND WORDS, a reception honoring survivors of child sexual abuse. We will enjoy live music, a poetry reading and light refreshments. Guests are invited to decorate a t-shirt as part of our interactive art display. Learn more and RSVP.

ChicagoCAC Beyond Words - April 2

Join ChicagoCAC’s Community Advisory Council in recognizing Child Abuse Prevention Month with BEYOND WORDS, a reception honoring survivors of child sexual abuse. We will enjoy live music, a poetry reading and light refreshments. Guests are invited to decorate… Read More

Safety over The Holidays

During the holiday season, many of us are looking forward to seeing friends and family at various events. But for survivors of child sexual abuse, these get-togethers can be a stressful time of being around their abuser or the loved ones who reacted poorly to disclosures. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

To help adult survivors of sexual abuse:
  • Stand with survivors. Victims deserve to be heard, believed and supported. Let survivors know that you believe them and want to help them feel comfortable.
  • Show compassion. Everyone reacts to trauma differently. If a friend or family member is withdrawn, declines to participate in activities or seems upset, check in with them. Offer to listen, and let them know that you respect their boundaries.
  • Seek help. If you or an adult loved one is in crisis in Chicago, call the 24-hour Chicago Rape Crisis hotline: 1-888-293-2080. Outside of the metro area, call the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE.
It is also important to be vigilant at events where children are present. Help prevent sexual abuse this time of year by:
  • Keeping the conversation open. Remind the children in your life that no adult should ever ask them to keep a secret – but explain the difference between a secret and a surprise. Be sure children know that they can come to you right away and tell
    you anything without fear of repercussion.
  • Set and respect boundaries. If children do not want to hug, kiss or otherwise show affection for family members, don’t make them. Reinforce these boundaries regularly with your behavior and words to remind children that their bodies are their own.
  • Trust your gut. If something feels off, offer extra support, consult with another adult you trust and, if you suspect abuse, call the child abuse hotline: 1-800-25-ABUSE.

Learn more about preventing child sexual abuse in our resources section, including our free Keeping My Family Safe workbook.

safety-over-the-holidays

During the holiday season, many of us are looking forward to seeing friends and family at various events. But for survivors of child sexual abuse, these get-togethers can be a stressful time of being around their abuser or the loved ones who reacted poorly to disclosures. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Community Advisory Council

Our Community Advisory Council is a group of adults committed to raising awareness of ChicagoCAC and our resources. Together with our staff, they help plan our Child Abuse Prevention Month activities, and they’re already working on our 2017 event. Thanks to these wonderful volunteers for all of their support! Learn more.

110316-community-advisory-council

Our Community Advisory Council is a group of adults committed to raising awareness of ChicagoCAC and our resources. Together with our staff, they help plan our Child Abuse Prevention Month activities, and they’re already working on our 2017… Read More