To Contact Legislators in the State of Illinois, go to www.ilga.gov. Then Click on Senate MEMBERS or House MEMBERS for their Springfield or District Office information. This page is devoted to praising and chastising specific members of the Illinois Legislature for their support of, or their neglect of, concerns and needs of the victims of violent crime in Illinois. CONTACT US if you wish to submit content for this page.
CONTENTS of this Page
Press Release and Media Advisory
This year’s Legislator Heroes are:
HB 45 Defeated!
Legislators who opposed the interests and well-being of murder victims family members with their yes vote on HB 45, April 2, 2009 - the bill was resoundingly defeated, thanks to the wise judgment of the vast majority of the Illinois House members:
Please contact the Illinois House
of Representatives Members
who voted YES or Present and explain to them why they should
not resort to hurting already traumatized victims family members as a way to
For over a year we have been wondering why you are so negatively attached to the word "VICTIM". We hear you using it all the time, to promote your own anti-victim agenda. You seem almost obsessed with it and we would like to ask you to seriously reconsider your troubling, insensitive, and bizarre fascination with this word. You have used it in speeches at universities, on the floor of the General Assembly, and always with this kind of theme (we paraphrase):
"YOU (murder victims family members) aren't really "victims"! You don't know the meaning of the word! The guys behind bars are the REAL victims. Let me tell you what a real victim is!" and then some speech about the troubled history of slavery in our nation.
We are all deeply troubled by racism in our nation, Representative Washington. We know it is real and we know it is wrong, and that our society needs to engage in a serious discussion about what to do about it. We know that social and economic justice is vital to our stable, safe, and functioning society. We who are victims of violent crime stand for justice, the protections of human rights, and building the best communities possible. We will join you and any other public official who wants to work hard to do just that. Many of us have long records of public service on this very issue.
But let us help you better understand the ramifications of your negative and divisive misuse of, the word "victim".
"Victim" is a legal term.
Unfortunately sometimes for us, the "poor me" pejorative connotation of the word victim gets mixed up with that vital legal functioning of that term. But legally, there are no other options for describing who we are.
IllinoisVictims.Org, all national and local victim-related organizations and professionals only use the term in the legal sense.
A victim is someone against whom a crime has been committed. That is all. That is enough.
In this context, crime victim is a legal term. The law actually defines this term with an important legal function.
Victim can also be used as a psychological term, referring to a state of mind where people who have been injured, and who perceive an injury, are altered in the way that they think about themselves and the world around them.
We think this is the way you are using the term.
Let us help to try to point out to you why this is not a helpful way for you to use the word, especially so often and so publicly to support what is not a helpful agenda.
It is undeniable that many offenders are also themselves crime victims. These people take their personal victimization and repeat the cycle by victimizing others. They make MORE victims.
This is the cycle that we are trying to break with our work.
The people that are in prison and jail may have been crime victims, but by turning around and committing violence against others, they can no longer lay claim to the sympathetic position and high moral ground of victims who are working for peaceful communities and justice for all.
It is foolish and not appropriate to apply the word "victim" to a guilty violent offender, in prison or not, who may have been injured or perceives themselves to be injured; but who, instead of responding positively to this in their lives, they choose to respond by hurting others.
Other victims, like us, choose NOT to victimize others in the wake of violence committed against us and our loved ones, and instead we turn to work to help others.
That is just part of the work of IllinoisVictims.org, and
many other programs our members participate in. Some examples of our work
include Fight Crime Invest in Kids, Carpenters Place in Rockford, and our work
with the community impact panels in the Cook County Juvenile Probation Program.
Some of us work to help offenders in restorative justice programs, programs on
accountability and community service to make up for their bad choices. Many of
our members work on violence prevention - this is a huge part of what many of us
do - and educating young people, working for better public policies on health
and safety related matters, etc. Some of our members lobby regularly for
programs that would help people who are less fortunate or would help troubled
youth - programs that the Illinois Legislature often cannot find the money to
support. All of our members work to help innocent other victims of violent
We think you are trying to "one up" us because you do not like the fact that we oppose your legislation that would release brutal and unrepentant murderers sentenced to life without parole. Some of us have called you out publicly when you refused to support legislation that would require background checks on criminals trying to get guns, after promising to do so, and then taking money funneled to you from the state's gun lobby.
We call upon you to come together with us in a cooperative and collegial manner in order to solve the problems that all of us care about, rather than being divisive and hurtful towards innocent and real victims of violent crime, many of whom are willing to work with you, if you were willing to put the interests of all Illinois citizens first.
WNTA in Rockford covers the importance of
protecting victims rights in offender release and sentencing legislation - Features
IllinoisVictims.Org on Morning Talk Show