Since our formation, Prostasia Foundation has been the subject of a number of misleading social media callouts and smear campaigns. In general, we do not respond directly to these campaigns. However popular social media accounts are increasingly misleading people about our mission. This document has been written to counter the specific claims made in recent social media callouts. It supplements our main Frequently Asked Questions page.
Q Do you support pedophilia?
A No, we support stigma-free access to mental health services for people with pedophilia. That’s a very different thing, as we have explained numerous times. Mainstream organizations such as the Association for the Treatment and Prevention of Sexual Abuse (ATSA), Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Talking for Change, and Prevention Project Dunkelfeld, adopt exactly the same stance towards pedophilia and stigma reduction as we do. As heated a topic as it is on social media, supporting people with pedophilia in accessing mental health services simply isn’t a controversial position among public health experts.
Q Do you support child sexual abuse material (CSAM)?A
No. Prostasia has long recognized and spoken about the harms caused by abusive content involving real minors. We’ve also written extensively about effective approaches to preventing people from viewing and sharing such content. Our CSAM Deterrence project has redirected more than 200,000 people away from searches for abusive content. We have recently expanded it to facilitate individuals’ ability to report abusive content when they encounter it online by accident
This is separate from Prostasia’s defense of fictional content, which is protected under freedom of speech and may potentially play a role in providing a safe outlet for individuals who may be at risk of harming children. Prostasia has never and will never support, defend, or promote the viewing or sharing of CSAM.
Q Do you have a chat group that connects children with child sex offenders?
A No, we do not.
- MAP Support Club (MSC) is not a group for child sex offenders. It is a prevention-focused support group for people who identify as being attracted towards minors, and who are committed to never acting on that attraction. Following an earlier round of callouts, two independent journalists investigated MSC and concluded that it was a legitimate support group. Regarding Prostasia’s involvement, they said, “They are genuinely trying to make life better, to reduce the likelihood of children being harmed. And they’re also trying to save the lives of people who have a… shitty lot in life.” Independent academic experts have reached the same conclusion.
- We do not run MSC. It is independently operated and has been long before we became involved. Our involvement with MSC has been to provide legal and logistical support, to suggest improvements to its safeguarding standards such as ensuring that any images uploaded to the group are scanned to ensure that they are not CP/CSAM, and to provide the services of helpline experts from partners such as Stop It Now.
- Teens can only join MSC if they identify as being attracted towards younger children. Their access is limited, and in particular they are unable to exchange private messages with adults. Minor attraction normally develops during the teenage years, and a large proportion of perpetrators of child sexual abuse are themselves teenagers, making this an important age group to have access to support.
Q Are you founded or run by pedophiles or convicted sex offenders?
A No. The circumstances in which we were founded are described here, and in this personal blog post by our founding Executive Director. Nobody on our team has offended against a child, and you can see a list of our staff here.
During part of 2018 and 2019, Guy Hamilton-Smith, who then worked as Legal Fellow for the Sex Offense Litigation Policy and Resource Center at the Mitchell Hamline School of Law, was on our Advisory Council in an unpaid, non-voting role. He was open about the fact that although he was not minor-attracted he had committed an image-based sexual offense. A feature of Guy’s work was his personal testimony about the role that the criminal justice system had played in his rehabilitation, and about how it could be made more effective in preventing abuse and rehabilitating others. Our Advisory Council unanimously accepted him as a member because promoting the rehabilitation of those who have offended is one of our goals. Guy resigned in 2019 and has not remained involved with Prostasia Foundation since then.
Q Are your corporate offices opposite an elementary school?
A No. We do not even have a physical office. The mailbox address we use is shared by multiple other businesses and organizations. A simple Google search of the address would have revealed this.
Q Are users on your forum allowed to promote child sexual abuse?
A No. We have a strict policy that disallows pro-abuse (pro-contact) advocacy on our forum. A volunteer team of moderators acts on reports of such abuse on a daily basis. Any forum user can report a post as abusive, and it will be investigated promptly so that appropriate action can be taken.
The forum posts called out in a recent video are all taken out of context to convey a misleading impression, and in some cases to convey exactly the opposite meaning from the original. For example, only the bolded part was selectively quoted from this post:
I don’t know about everyone else but when someone tells me ‘’[ insert person here ] touched a child!’’, my reaction is ‘‘ok?’’ If touching a child is a crime, then every parent should be in prison. I know when someone says ‘‘they touched a child’’ they mean ‘‘they raped a child’’ but that’s so stupid to me. Call the crime what it actually is instead of censoring it with words that have no relation to the crime.
As the full quote and the post title “Opinion: “Touched” should not be synonymous with rape” illustrate, the poster was arguing against the use of euphemisms when describing child sexual abuse, because this minimizes the horror of the act.
As another example, a post about other countries that forum members would like to move to is selectively quoted to falsely insinuate that this was a discussion about countries with a lower age of consent. It was actually a discussion about countries where art and fiction are not criminalized.
In other cases, posts called out were also criticized by other forum members and in some cases the original posters were also banned from the forum. Prostasia Foundation’s forum is regularly visited by trolls and other maldoers, and sometimes we keep their posts up because of the critical responses they receive.
Q Was a child sex doll created in the likeness of a Florida woman’s daughter?
A No, this was a hoax. In fact, the woman is believed to have downloaded an existing photo of a sex doll, then posed her daughter in a similar position to lend credibility to a campaign to have young-looking sex dolls criminalized.
Prostasia Foundation is the only child protection organization helping to fund research into whether sex dolls fuel real child sexual abuse, or could reduce real child sexual abuse by providing a victimless sexual outlet. No scientific research on this question currently exists, and we believe that it would be premature to ban these dolls until we know whether they could play a role in abuse prevention.
Q Does Prostasia support adding pedophiles to the LGBTQ+ spectrum?
A No, we are opposed to this. We even went so far as to challenge the personal views of one of our own Advisors on this topic. Pedophiles and other minor-attracted people (MAPs) can and do advocate for their own interests, both individually and through organizations such as Virtuous Pedophiles and B4UAct. However there is broad agreement that such advocacy does not and should not fall under the umbrella of the LGBTQ+ community, whose issues and interests are very different.
Q Do you support abolishing the sex offense registry?
A No, we support reforming it to make it more effective. Our position is shared by other major professional organizations and law reform groups such as the Association for the Treatment and Prevention of Sexual Abuse (ATSA) and the American Law Institute (ALI). The failings of the current public registry system are well documented and not controversial in the field.
Q Do you support abolishing the age of consent?
A No, we never have and never will support any proposal to reduce or abolish the general age of consent. We do support Romeo & Juliet provisions in sex offense laws to prevent young people for being criminalized for consensual relationships with similar-age peers. Read more about that here.
Q Did a Prostasia team member joke about “trapping kids” on a forum for pedophiles?
A No. The person who made those statements has no connection at all with Prostasia. The forum on which the statements were made also has no connection at all with Prostasia. Claims to the contrary were concocted by bad actors to discredit us and are simply false.
Did we miss any questions raised by large account social media call-outs against us? Let us know!