Help kickstart the Prostasia Foundation

For: Prostasia Foundation
San Francisco, CA
Organizer: Prostasia Foundation
of $2,000 goal
75% Complete
Raised by 25 donors
This fundraiser is closed. Thank you for your support!

The Story

Introducing a new kind of child protection organization

Protecting children from sexual abuse is a cause that everyone can unite behind. Often, however, the measures we take to combat child sexual abuse (CSA) are less effective than they should be, because they are driven by emotion rather than evidence. In striving to protect children from abuse, we may actually end up harming them and others.

That’s why a group of mental health professionals, child protection workers, human rights activists, sex industry experts, and CSA survivors, have come together to create the Prostasia Foundation. Prostasia is a child protection organization; we prioritize dialogue, outreach, and scholarly research to build evidence of effective ways to prevent CSA, and we partner with a broad range of stakeholders to help put these strategies into action.

In addition to this positive CSA prevention mission, Prostasia speaks out against ill informed policy proposals, in the firm belief that having zero tolerance for CSA should not require us to abandon our society’s core values in the pursuit of its elimination. When we fail to analyse proposed child protection measures critically, they are likely to be ineffective, unconstitutional or both—and that in turn means compromising on child safety.

Our approach is holistic, multidisciplinary, and multistakeholder, and is driven by our commitment to the following three values:

  1. Child protection
    There is never any justification for adults to have sexual contact with children or to use or traffic in child sexual abuse imagery (child pornography).

  2. Human and civil rights
    Our work is grounded in respect for universal human rights such as freedom of expression, privacy, and the due process of law.

  3. Sex positivity
    We proceed on the assumption that private sexual behavior between consenting adults, or by oneself, is not harmful, rather than presuming that it is.

Our mission is to ensure that the elimination of child sexual abuse is achieved consistently with the highest values of the society that we would like our children to grow up in.

We need your support

This fundraiser will cover the initial expenses of forming the Prostasia Foundation at a time when an impartial, evidence-based voice for child protection is sorely needed. Your donation will fund:

  1. Development of our website.
  2. Our application for registration as a s.501(c)(3) nonprofit.
  3. Any excess raised will go towards a small initial operating budget.

If you can't donate but are interested in participating as a volunteer, that would also be a valuable contribution. Please get in touch with us to explain your interest, and we'll send you a copy of our prospectus with more information. Keep following our updates here to learn who else is involved.

So far, we have already met the goal of achieving s.501(c)(3) status, which means that your donations are now tax deductible!

Our work

By upholding the values of child protection, human and civil rights, and sex positivity, Prostasia will represent a unique and nuanced voice for children in policy discussions around child sexual abuse prevention.

  1. To advocate for child protection laws that are constitutional and evidence-based

    Prostasia advocates for a balanced, principled, and evidenced-based approach to policymaking (to the extent that lobbying activities by a s.501(c)(3) nonprofit are permitted). Such an approach is too frequently seen lacking in the populist and reactive approach to child protection favored by many politicians, which results in the hasty passage of laws that may be unconstitutional, cause unforeseen harms to those the laws were intended to protect, or act as a bad precedent for the restriction of rights and freedoms in other areas.

  2. To provide Internet platforms with our expertise

    The front lines of child online protection are not in the houses of parliament or the courtrooms, but in the offices of major Internet platforms. Some such platforms do liaise informally with child protection groups for advice, but only Prostasia is dedicated both to child protection, and also to upholding platform safe harbors and freedom of expression. Although we do not adjudicate individual account violations, we can assist Internet platforms to develop policies that draw the right line between freedom of speech online, and excluding content that is likely to harm children.

  3. To provide law enforcement with our expertise

    Just as we make ourselves available as a source of expertise to Internet platforms, so too we aim to become a trusted resource for law enforcement agencies and for autonomous groups who work with them. Just as laws aimed at protecting children can sometimes miss the mark, so too the decisions of regulators and law enforcement authorities could be made more effective through the balanced and evidence-based perspective that Prostasia offers.

  4. To disseminate and fund academic research

    Developing better informed child protection measures depends on the availability of sound research into child sexual abuse. However due to the stigma associated with this topic and the difficulty of finding willing research subjects, much work in this area remains to be done. Prostasia will work with professional associations of sex researchers to raise funding for new independent research on neglected topics, and to clearly and concisely communicate the results of that research to policymakers, platforms, and the public.

  5. To participate in international policymaking institutions

    Although we are based in the United States and our focus lies there, our eventual goal is to become an international resource for lawmakers around the world who are grappling with similar issues. We will also represent the values of child protection, human and civil rights, and sex positivity, within international policymaking fora dealing with child protection especially in an online context.

  6. To contribute to public debate on these topics

    One of the problems with current debates around sex offending laws, platform censorship, and juvenile sexual behavior, is that no other dedicated child protection organizations are willing to speak up about often quite serious flaws in policy proposals for fear of appearing weak on their core issue. Prostasia will inject a new rights-focused, evidence-based, and sex positive voice into these public discussions, through our own statements and publications, interviews with media, briefings to stakeholders, and presentations at public events. 

About our branding

The name Prostasia comes from the Greek word for “protection”, signifying that we are a child protection organization. The trunk of the tree also represents a hand reaching out for another. The tree itself represents growth—both the natural growth from childhood into adulthood, and the growth in understanding between diverse stakeholders that we aim to promote. It also represents the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, a sexual metaphor from the creation myths of the three major monotheistic faiths.

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on July 16, 2018


Posted on July 16, 2018

We didn't think we'd make it... but you proved us wrong. We hit our crowdfunding goal! Although the balance on YouCaring still shows as $1501, we also received donations via Facebook, PayPal, and Bitcoin, that bring the grand total up to $2300... 15% above our target. Our supporters are all amazing, and we can't thank you enough for making our campaign a success.Of course, that means that Prostasia Foundation is going ahead! 

This week our new website is under review by our Advisory Council, and we expect to launch it to the public next Monday. Along with the website we will be launching memberships, which start from $5 per month. Everyone who has donated $20 or more during our crowdfunding automatically receives a free annual membership, which is a saving of up to $40.

Since there will be no more crowdfunding updates from now on, you'll want to subscribe to our newsletter, so that you can keep informed from now on. This will also be available via the new website. Eventually, we will also have members-only discussion groups and other features that we weren't able to manage before we had our own space on the web. And it's all thanks to your donations!

To celebrate, we're inviting you to our launch party. The launch party will be held a month from now, on August 15 at 8:00pm, at the Center for Sex and Culture in San Francisco. We'll be opening registrations soon and giving more details about the program for the event, but for now please just pencil that date into your diary. Entry is by donation, but existing donors get in for free!

Finally, you might have noticed a new logo to the site of this post? We liked the old logo, but we love this one even more.  Taking the shape of a torch, the trunk of the tree represents enlightenment and rights. The trunk of rights holds up many branches: child protection (the right to body integrity), sex worker rights, digital rights, due process rights, and so on. The tree itself represents growth—both the natural growth from childhood into adulthood, and the growth in understanding between diverse stakeholders that we aim to promote. It also represents the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, a sexual metaphor from the creation myths of the three major monotheistic faiths. 

So that brings our crowdfunding campaign to a close. We thank you again for the incredible support you have shown for an audaciously different child protection organization—which can now begin to really make a positive difference in the battle to reduce child sexual abuse, while also upholding the democratic values that are important to us all.

If you donated and we have your contact details, you will be receiving your sticker pack within the coming week (apologies for the slight delay). We'll also send you a registration code for our launch event, which will enable you to attend for free provided that you can make your way to San Francisco. Please follow us on our social media accounts if you don't already, and please come visit us at our new home on the web next week!

Thanks again and much love from your friends at Prostasia Foundation.

Posted on July 9, 2018


Posted on July 9, 2018

This is the second-last update to our crowdfunding campaign. You may have notice that we've reduced our financial goal down to $2000. It's a little disappointing, but not all that surprising, that we haven't been able to raise a larger some from individual donors ahead of our official launch. Most people don't see how badly broken our society's existing approach to child protection is. They don't identify it as a problem that policymakers prefer to latch onto stereotypes about child sexual abuse, rather than to support evidence-based policies that address its true causes. But you have identified this problem, and we thank you for your faith and support.   

One of the popular but probably misguided laws that has been introduced to express disgust at child sexual abuse—but is likely to have no positive impact on the problem—is the CREEPER Act, which if it passes the Senate will prohibit the sale of sex toys that resemble minors. Leaving aside the important fact that the law is likely to be unconstitutional, it could even harm those that it is intended to protect. Leading scientists specializing in sexual paraphilias have put forward a hypothesis that the availability of such sex toys could steer some people away from harming actual children. During the past week, we have written a draft call for proposals to support research into this hypothesis, and approached companies seeking their financial support for this work. We are asking politicians to suspend the passage of the CREEPER Act until we know whether it would actually be helpful or not.   

During the course of our crowdfunding campaign, we realized that we weren't heading towards meeting our initial financial goal, and so we took a harder look at our startup budget and found ways to reduce it. This has been mainly achieved by keeping most of the production of our website in-house, relying on external consultants only for graphic design. Using off the shelf components as the building blocks for our website (such as themes, plugins, and stock images) also helped keep costs down (you can see another screenshot of our website in progress on the left). We have also been able to find lower-cost options for printing our stickers, and we've been able to rely on in kind contributions from our founders.   

However we still do need to raise money for some of our remaining expenses, including printing the brochures that are currently in production. These brochures, along with the website, are important resources for introducing ourselves to the larger donors such as charitable foundations and companies, whose support will be needed to take us to the next level as an effective and sustainable nonprofit. In addition, we will need to raise money to cover the venue rental expenses and the MC's expenses associated with our upcoming launch event in San Francisco (we'll announce more about this next week). So please do keep your support coming, and wish us luck to achieve our new crowdfunding goal by Sunday. We'll update you on the following day, to let you know how we went.  

Posted on July 2, 2018


Posted on July 2, 2018

We're now into our home stretch—our crowdfunding campaign has only two weeks left to run! As soon as it is done, we hope to be able to unveil our new website, which is currently in development. We are also producing a printed brochure, the text for which has just been submitted to our graphic design consultant. And we'll be announcing the date for our official launch event soon too.

One our website is finally up, we will be able to accept donations and membership subscriptions. Even so, we are going to need a more sustainable source of long-term funding for our work. So we are pleased to report that in the past week, we also took the important step of submitting our first application for a grant from a charitable foundation.

We are also almost ready to begin approaching corporate donors to support us. Rather than asking for general organizational support, we'll be asking them to support two specific projects: one of them is to raise funds for research into child sexual abuse prevention, and the other is a two-phase multi-stakeholder workshop on Internet platforms and child protection.

We're extremely excited to announce that Microsoft, the Internet Watch Foundation, the Dot Kids Foundation, and European Digital Rights have each indicated their intention to participate in this workshop, the intended outcome of which will be the production of a document describing best practices that Internet platforms can take in developing terms of service that protect children, while also upholding freedom of expression. 

On the same topic, we'll be releasing a new blog post this week about child protection and Internet censorship, which explains exactly what technological approach we should be taking to eliminate unlawful sexual images of children from the Internet, while also upholding human rights. It's a timely post, because FOSTA/SESTA have taken precisely the wrong approach, that targets Internet platforms and their most vulnerable users. You can look forward to reading this important post on Wednesday.

We're absolutely committed to making Prostasia Foundation into an effective counter-balance to the socially conservative lobby groups that demand an ineffective, punitive approach to child protection, rather than an evidence-based preventative approach. It would be great to know that more people shared that vision. Do you have any friends with whom you can share out campaign on Twitter or Facebook? Thanks as always, and we'll tell you more of our progress next week.

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