Our top 10 posts that shouldn’t be controversial (but are)

A man standing in front of a graffitied wall yells into an old payphone.

We get it. Child protection isn’t simple, and you don’t always have the time to learn the nuances and details. You just want kids to be safe, and you want the quickest route to that safety—the easy, simple answers. By the end of this post, you’ll understand a little more, and it will be a quick read.

So, without further introduction, here are our top ten posts that are controversial but shouldn’t be – or, if you prefer, ten quick articles you can read to learn a little bit more about the prevention of child sexual abuse.

10. An introduction to MAP Support Club

MAP Support Club is a peer support group for minor-attracted people, which is a controversial term all by itself, with plenty of misinformation available online. The group’s core values are simply peer support so that people with a horribly stigmatized identity have a safe space to share good times and bad times – and an environment that doesn’t allow illegal behavior. This is important for a lot of people because, without that safe space, many feel isolated and alone. It shouldn’t be controversial for hated people to have a safe space, but it is, and that controversy can, of course, bring challenges to running such a space.

9. Online ageplay safety tips

You might imagine from the other spots on this list that ageplay is related to minor attraction and pedophilia, but it isn’t (see number 5 below). Ageplay is a form of role-play in which at least one of the participants adopts the role or mindset of someone younger. It’s something for adults, and adult participants would be shocked by the idea of role-playing with someone who’s actually the age they’re role-playing. Because that really isn’t the point of role-playing. Alas, some people fear and hate what they don’t understand, and sexual role-play is no exception. That’s why participants need safety tips!

8. A social worker’s role in child sexual abuse cases

While many people immediately associate child sexual abuse with law and punishment, child sexual abuse is largely about public health and social work. As survivors, it takes work to heal – and to be heard – and social workers can help both things happen. Most people have a narrative in their head about how and why child sexual abuse happens, but social workers are on the front lines and know that these narratives aren’t completely accurate and have to navigate a complex fabric of factors to find the least harmful path forward.

When reality isn’t what we expect, that naturally leads to controversy.

7. “That stigma itself can lead to harm,” an interview with researcher and author Allyn Walker

This blog post form of what was originally a video blog is perhaps one of the most misunderstood topics in society today. A common assumption is that stigma and hatred towards minor-attracted people are productive in protecting children, but the researchers on the subject know otherwise. In this post, Allyn Walker blows the lid on your deepest assumptions about this group of people, and whenever you challenge someone’s preconceived ideas, there’s bound to be outrage and controversy. Are you willing to listen?

6. 4 things you should know about pedophilia

Ew, not pedophilia! This isn’t the article you think it is. While you typically hear the outrage and strong emotion when you hear the term pedophilia, this article seeks only to inform you so that you’re equipped to have rational conversations that improve our overall ability to prevent child sexual abuse (which pedophilia isn’t). Pedophilia is an attraction to children – nothing more, nothing less – and people with it were dealt a raw deck in life, and they have to play their hand as ethically as possible. Are you willing to learn what some of the hype of this article is about?

5. Ageplay is for adults

Just like the blunt title, there are realities in this article that will change how you view ageplay. Even conservative child protection groups get this topic wrong, but just like any form of roleplay, it’s an escape for adults from the harsh realities of the world to a simpler time. As a kink, ageplay isn’t about hurting anyone; it’s about safe and fully consensual interactions with other adults. You can see why this is controversial – but does it have to be once you understand it?

4. Stop using “pedophile” as an insult

This article was written just over two years ago, but the truths in it are very relevant in today’s culture wars where the LGBTQ+ community is accused of “grooming,” and the harshest insult conservative moralists can think of is “pedophile.” The term pedophile has a strict definition, and misusing it to cause pain to others isn’t a marker for a civilized society. Misusing it as an insult harms minorities harms child protection efforts, and has no benefit to society (unless you like hurting other human beings for no good reason). It’s easy to see why this ended up as number 4 on this list.

3. BDSM can help heal from trauma

BDSM, like many topics on this list, is a misunderstood area of sexual recreation, but if you think people involved are playing around, you need to read this article. They take it seriously because, for many, it can be a form of healing. Participants are just as concerned about safety and consent as you are. As my dad would say, “What two consenting adults do is none of my business.” While some try to make it their business and speculate from the outside looking in, do they really have an inside scoop on the benefits of BDSM and the safety measures its participants take?

2. What I learned as a MAP’s partner

Finding accurate inside scoops on this subject is difficult because the heavy stigma drives people to hide their identities – just as this author does. But that heavy stigma also affects partners of minor-attracted people in ways you might not realize. What’s it like to be partnered with one of the most hated people on the planet? You’ll have to read it to find out.

1. Sex education makes people safer

Sex education is a controversial topic by itself, and when you add the idea that it makes society safer, it’s sure to turn heads, and that’s probably why this article earned the top spot. This premise is straightforward: humans make better decisions when they have better information to work from, and sex is no different. If you don’t know that it’s okay to say no to someone, how likely are you to assert that no when you’re uncomfortable? If you don’t know that germs cause infection and disease and washing your hands prevents that, how will you know to wash your hands? Education is always preferable to ignorance, so learn why safety and education go hand in hand.

In conclusion

Controversy can help you become more knowledgeable about areas that are new; just as it can lead to willful ignorance and outrage. Choosing to educate yourself about these topics can help you take first steps to understanding child protection and why our common reactions aren’t enough to keep children safe from pain and trauma. Are you willing to learn?

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