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One would imagine that self-defining as a political artist suggests a sense of radicalism.
However, Stark’s choice of creative expression is manifested through internet-related platforms such as conversations in online sex chat rooms in the works like “Osservate, leggete con me” (2012) and private images printed from those shared on her Instagram [email protected]” (2015), which are decidedly the most banal things anybody can do these days.
She has spearheaded efforts that have led to new state laws that protect victims of sex trafficking, and she has created a transformative approach to addressing prostitution by looking at the demand side—that is, the men who purchase sex and who make money from sexual exploitation.
Her focus, and the policies CAASE has implemented, are rapidly setting the groundwork for a new national model.“Rachel is fearless,” says Emily Muskovitz Sweet, AM ’06, the executive director of the Jewish Women’s Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago and a funder of CAASE. She is shifting how we define [prostitution], discuss it, and respond to it.”Along the way, Durchslag has received a host of awards, including the YWCA’s Promise Leadership Award and Chicago NOW’s Women Who Dare Award. The organization she founded continues the SSA tradition of addressing the needs of the most vulnerable among us,” says Susan J.
(This article appeared in the Winter 2013 issue of SSA Magazine.)All it took was a small independent film to change Rachel Durchslag’s life. ’05, who saw the movie in 2003 as she was working for several women’s organizations, it was a jarring look at the grim realities of prostitution and sex trafficking in her hometown.
The movie, Lana’s Rain, is a fictional story of a Bosnian refugee in Chicago forced into prostitution by her dominating older brother. Moved by the film and convinced she needed to focus on prostitution, Durchslag joined a roundtable on the issue through the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.
Within the year she was volunteering in Thailand to aid sex trafficking victims, and by 2006, at age 28 and armed with a master's degree from SSA, she founded a nonprofit organization, the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE), to address the issue.
In just six years as the executive director of CAASE, Durchslag has grown the agency from one employee (her) to a full-time staff of eight.
Rather, her works are humorous, witty, and bitter sweet.
Being able to influence and manipulate the emotions of another as they search for intimacy, sex and love, overtakes Nick. We seek Adams and Rachel’s chat room dialogue nimbly play out on stage with Olivia Dustman playing Rachel as a sort of Nick as a women.
He calls that ‘dark play.’ Control, power and thrills were Nick’s motivation. Sorium Brouwers and Jane de Laubenfels are the Netizens who play out the various characters Nick invents to sustain his fraudulent persona.
In 2012, SSA awarded Durchslag and her work its esteemed Elizabeth Butler Award, given to an alum who is five to ten years out of graduate school and who demonstrates leadership, exceptional promise, innovation in social practice, and a strong commitment to social change.“Ms. Lambert, an associate professor at SSA who served on the Butler Award committee.
“The Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation tackles the commercial sex trade without further victimizing women.”Rachel Durchslag is a passionate person.