Update: The Chicago Sun-Times has published a number of responses to the editorial.

What's Happening:

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A Saturday editorial in the Chicago Sun-Times, by columnist Mary Mitchell, argues that a rape case against a man who forced a woman to have sex at gunpoint is “making a mockery of rape victims,” because the victim in question was a prostituted person.

We find this attitude about rape victims outrageously offensive. It is an example of how we continue to ignore rapists' actions, focus on women's actions and behavior, and justify rape and victim-blaming.

Mitchell says she is "grateful he [the perpetrator] isn’t being accused of snatching an innocent woman off the street." She claims this woman isn't a "real victim" because her own behavior put her at risk. Not only does this reasoning suggest that women deserve what they get unless they are the "perfect victim," but it also promotes the hateful and harmful idea that prostituted people are "unrapeable" and don't deserve justice or community support.

What You Can Do:

  1. Submit a Letter to the Editor
  2. Email the Editorial Page Editor: Tom McNamee, tmcnamee@suntimes.com
  3. Take to social media and express your concern: Tweet @MaryMitchellCST and @CSTeditorials

Talking Points:

  • Forcing a person into sexual activity without consent is rape -- regardless of whether they are in prostitution.
  • Rape survivors -in or out of prostitution- deserve justice and community support, not being blamed.
  • Cook County State's Attorney Alvarez should be applauded for treating a rape case with the seriousness it deserves.
  • Comparing one rape victim to another to determine their ‘worthiness’ of our sympathy is victim-blaming and reeks of rape culture.
  • Rape of a prostituted person is not “theft of services,” it is rape. Period.
  • Most rapes are acquaintance rapes and don’t match up to the “perfect victim” analogy.