Since Prostasia Foundation published our interview with Dr Allyn Walker earlier this month, a disturbing wave of attacks began to mount against the prevention researcher. The attacks took a familiar form that many other prevention experts have also experienced: misinformation about their statements and beliefs, slurs and false insinuations, suicide baiting, and death threats. On November 16, Dr Walker was placed on leave from their university for their own safety. They continue to enjoy strong support from colleagues in the prevention field and from Prostasia Foundation.
The attacks against Dr Walker have been particularly ferocious, exacerbated by a strong undercurrent of anti-trans bigotry. But Dr Walker was not their only target. In the same week that Dr Walker was placed on leave and deleted their Twitter account, the Global Prevention Project, also a long-time target of troll attacks, also took down its Twitter account and website. Three members of Prostasia Foundation’s team have also been personally attacked with doxxing and death threats. This is unacceptable, and it does nothing to make children safer.
In the long term, society’s attitudes towards the discussion of pedophilia and child sexual abuse must change so that researchers, clinicians, and prevention allies are not forced into hiding and made to fear for their safety. Until then, we need to take precautions for our own physical and emotional wellbeing. That’s why this week Prostasia has published a new Anti-harassment resource guide for prevention allies under attack. The guide covers:
- Privacy and security basics
- Preparations if you expect to be harassed
- Responses to active harassment
If you are experiencing false accusations or other attacks similar to those that Dr Walker and other prevention experts have suffered, then you have our empathy and support. We hope that you will find this guide useful.