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:
- 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).
- 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.
- 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:
- Development of our website.
- Our application for registration as a s.501(c)(3) nonprofit.
- 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!
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.