Prostasia Newsletter #48—November 2022 View online
Prostasia Foundation Protecting children by upholding the rights and freedoms of all
Intersectionality & Primary Prevention for Prostasia

Salutations everyone! It is a pleasure to come aboard as the Interim Executive Director of the Prostasia Foundation. I have been in the anti-violence movement for almost 20 years, and I am eager to use my education and experience to help move Prostasia forward in a sustainable way. I value diversity, inclusion, and empowerment. I know that in order to make real strides in this field our methods must be evidence based, culturally resonant, and survivor centered. 

I have already learned that one of this organization’s greatest strength is its commitment and passion from the staff and stakeholders. Your support is needed now more than ever as we evaluate our priorities and strategically move forward in order to do the most good. Over the years working in domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers, providing crisis intervention, facilitating trainings, technical assistance and nonprofit management, I have seen the how truly intersectional our work really is.  But what exactly is intersectionality and how is it relevant to what we do? The term intersectionality was coined by activist, advocate and scholar Kimberle Crenshaw in 1989 and has more recently been the topic of conversation in the anti-violence and social justice movement. 

The Center for International Justice defines intersectionality as a concept that examines the ways in which systems of inequality based on gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, class and other forms of discrimination “intersect” to create unique dynamics and effects. It is by viewing all intersecting aspects of an individual’s identity, and the societal factors that provide protection, or promote vulnerability to violence, that must be fully examined in order to stop violence before it starts.

In order to prevent child sexual abuse and other forms of gendered based violence, we must address the societal issues that are at the root of this global epidemic. We know that anyone can experience violence and sexual abuse, but there are some populations that are inherently more vulnerable. This is not a weakness in who they are, but a result of systematic oppression, and inequality. Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, and Transphobia are just a few examples of ideological oppression that engender more violence against certain groups of people, and make the concept of “Justice” for these survivors even more elusive.

It is not enough to advocate for survivors’ access to Justice, but we must also work to stop the abuse before it ever happens. I know that this is guiding principal of Prostasia, so it makes sense that we would venture further down the path of prevention. “Primary Prevention” is a term that comes from the public health field. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines primary prevention of sexual violence as “population-based and/or environmental and system-level strategies, policies, and actions that prevent sexual violence from initially occurring. Such prevention efforts work to modify and/or entirely eliminate the events, conditions, situations, or exposure to influences (risk factors) that result in the initiation of sexual violence and associated injuries, disabilities, and deaths.”

We know that ending violence and preventing child sexual abuse is no easy task; but I think that Prostasia is well positioned to continue current collaborations and seek out new partners to sustain this vital work. I am excited and energized to have you all by my side as we move forward in the work, where terms like intersectionality, primary prevention and anti-oppression are not just theories or abstract concepts, but are foundational values of our organization.

Laramie Gorbett, M.A.
Recent blog posts

Due to the four-month break since our last newsletter, there are more new blog articles on our site than we can feature here. Check them out all at

Including autistic people means preventing sex abuse
Autism is a challenging topic because there are a lot of people who don’t understand it or the perspectives held by autistic people. There are even movements to call us…
Self-care tactics that will benefit kids of all ages
Self-care for kids can mean many things, from learning methods for calming down to practicing an enjoyable hobby. Like adults, children experience stress, anxiety, and mood disorders that can cause…
A non-carceral approach to child sexual abuse material
“Knowing there are videos and pictures of my abuse and of me sharing nude images as a minor is embarrassing, to say the least. I constantly feel stupid that I…
Queer joy
Finding your place in the world is one of the joys of the internet. As a fairly introverted person, it’s always been easier to make friends in spaces where you…
Sexual Violence Prevention 101

This 90-minute webinar teaches the basics of a public health approach to sexual assault prevention. Topics covered include the difference between outreach, awareness, and prevention; in-depth exploration of what the social ecological model means for our prevention programming; benefits and challenges with engaging local schools; and how to mobilize community partners and create a local sexual violence prevention task force.

The free speech case of the decade goes on appeal

Should publishing stories about sex crimes be treated more seriously by the law than committing those crimes in real life? It sounds like a trick question, but this is what a Texas court apparently decided, when it imposed a 40 year term of imprisonment against Thomas Arthur for the crime of obscenity, over the contents of a taboo erotic fiction website. The United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals is currently considering Arthur’s appeal from that 2021 conviction, following a hearing on the appeal in September.

Prostasia first broke the news of the FBI’s takedown of Arthur’s website Mister Double following a raid on his property in November 2019, and later assisted his counsel in their endeavor to secure expert witnesses to testify in Arthur’s defense.

The key to his defense was that the materials over which Arthur was charged are constitutionally protected speech, because they have serious artistic and/or scientific value, in spite of covering taboo subjects including child sexuality and abuse. Psychologist Dr David Ley was slated to testify to this effect on behalf of the defendant. But the trial judge excluded Dr Ley from giving evidence, on the basis that whether the stories and drawings were obscene was a question for the jury alone. The appeal turns on whether this decision by the trial judge was correct.

Arthur’s counsel in the appeal, Lane Haygood, explained that Dr Ley intended to “talk about how the use of erotic art and material could be used – and he had actually used it – in his treatment of people with these paraphilias, and said that this was something that was commonly accepted in the clinical psychological community."

Although stories comprised the majority of the website’s content, attention focused on the hand-drawn profile pictures that the site also contained to illustrate the authors’ profile pages. One, in particular, was described by a judge as “a person's fantasy little pen drawing of an adolescent girl reclined touching herself … like a Dürer drawing from six centuries ago.” At one point during the hearing of the appeal he asked the prosecution, "is it the government's position that any drawing on the internet of an adolescent girl masturbating is felony obscenity?” Government’s counsel replied in the affirmative.

Haygood suggested that this would lead to absurd results, since although stories and media touching on adolescent sexuality may be shocking to an average juror, they are found throughout mainstream art and literature.  As he said, "the average juror may never have read Lolita; the average juror may never have read Tropic of Cancer; they may never have seen American Beauty or the Saw films or any of these other materials which are commonly viewed [and] not challenged as obscene."

The judge seemed to agree, remarking that this would mean that not only Arthur, but also the estimated two million people who had accessed his website would all be committing felony offenses. “That's rather staggering,” he said, “I mean, with child pornography [involving] real victims we're seeing aggressive prosecution of that, [but] I did not know that the government interprets these two statutes that broadly." He continued:

If I were a librarian and I heard that argument, I would go and I would pull every copy of 120 Days of Sodom off my library shelves, I would go and i would pull every copy of American Psycho, I would pull every copy of Lolita, I would pull every copy of Tropic of Cancer, I would pull every copy of Absalom Absalom, The Color Purple…"

Prostasia has previously covered the legality of real and fictional pornography under U.S. law, and in particular the case of Ashcroft v Free Speech Coalition, which held that a broad ban on simulated sexual depictions of minors was unconstitutional. As the court hearing Arthur’s appeal observed, this case:

contemplates that there must be some material which falls between actual child pornography (which everyone agrees is constitutionally able to be forbidden in the possession or production of), and obscene material featuring children. There has to be something that they call the virtual child pornography which is outside the realm of what the government can constitutionally regulate.

Arthur himself is not a sympathetic defendant, as he is accused of real-life sex crimes, though those accusations were never brought to trial. The appeal court acknowledged that the accounts of Arthur’s “double hearsay anonymous accusers” may have had a bearing on the sentence he received for his obscenity crime. Another influencing factor may have been the prosecution’s claims that subscribers to his website had criminal convictions of their own, although the appeal court acknowledged that "the vast majority of the people who used it had never had any criminal charges at all."


There is a saying among lawyers that “hard cases make bad law,” and there is no better illustration of that than this case. The appeals court drew a contrast between Arthur’s 40 year sentence and that of a former Dallas Police Officer who sold online videos purporting to depict “real rape” including that of a possible minor, yet received only a 33 month sentence. It’s hard to avoid seeing the injustice here, and are hopeful that the court will take this opportunity to correct it. If not, a terrible precedent will have been set for the criminalization of art and fiction.

Get your donation doubled: last chance!
Get your donation doubled: last chance!
You have only two more months to have your donation to Prostasia doubled. We believe that our unique approach to child protection fills an essential and underserved need. If you agree, please support us with your pledge, and see it doubled.
Click Here
facebook  twitter  linkedin  tumblr  youtube  instagram 
Modify your subscription    |    View online
Prostasia Foundation
18 Bartol Street #995, San Francisco, CA 94133
EIN 82-4969920