Help kickstart the Prostasia Foundation

For: Prostasia Foundation
San Francisco, CA
Organizer: Prostasia Foundation
of $5,000 goal
19% Complete
Raised by 18 donors

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 June 18, 2018


Posted on June 18, 2018

Following the landslide passage of the anti-sexwork and Internet censorship law FOSTA/SESTA, we knew that going forward there had to be a more balanced voice participating in public debates around putative "child protection" laws. That's one of the main reasons why we formed Prostasia, with the intent of being there the next time such a law came up.

It's a shame that that law had to be the CREEPER Act, because in many ways, we too would rather sex dolls that resemble minors didn't exist. It's not surprising that 167 thousand people have signed a petition in support of CREEPER. It's quite simply a disturbing topic to think about.

But from the outset, Prostasia was about being brave enough to look beyond our gut feelings, to impartially address the scientific evidence, no matter how hard it is to be impartial on such disturbing topics. If we don't do that, we are no better than the politicians who refused to look beyond the buzzword "child sex trafficking" when passing the disastrous FOSTA/SESTA.

And the plain fact of the matter is that there is plausible scientific evidence that by banning dolls that can be used to steer at least some of those who are sexually attracted to minors and who are borderline offenders, into a harmless avenue that keeps their would-be victims safe. As hard as this is to stomach, we could be remiss to ignore the possibility that these dolls could reduce the rate of child sexual abuse, just for the sake of expressing our moral outrage about the existence of these dolls and their users.

The other reason why we should be very careful about allowing the government to ban sex dolls that are used in private is that, despite the posturing that CREEPER is a child protection law, it is another plank in a socially conservative movement to ban pornography, sex work, and sex toys more generally. FOSTA/SESTA was not the first salvo in this war, and CREEPER certainly won't be the last.

I hope you will forgive this long diatribe in what is usually an update on our crowdfunding campaign—however at this point, we are laser-focused on shutting down this repressive and ill-considered law... and we urgently need your help. This week we met with the offices of two Senators, and wrote letters to the other 98, but we make no mistake that this fight is going to be a difficult one.

You could help to turn the tide. If you haven't already done so, please use this easy online tool to write to your Senators explaining why it's important to place the CREEPER Act on hold for now, until we are able to undertake at least one scientific study on whether the dolls might save children from would-be abusers—research that Prostasia Foundation is committed to helping fund.

Another way that you can help is to share this crowdfunding campaign. Until this week, our campaign had been in our longest dry spell yet, and it had been hampering our efforts not only to fight against CREEPER, but to bring our nascent organization fully into being. With thanks to our newest donors, a resurgence in donations late in the week has really helped. But we can't let up. Keep letting people know about Prostasia, and we'll update you again next week.

Posted on June 11, 2018


Posted on June 11, 2018

There's not much more than a month left to go in our crowdfunding campaign, and so now we're pulling out all the stops. As of last Wednesday, our Executive Director, former Electronic Frontier Foundation policy expert Jeremy Malcolm, is volunteering his services to Prostasia full-time until after our official launch, which we plan to schedule next month after the crowdfunding period ends.

This will enable us to make much faster progress on things like developing our website, developing a concept note for charitable foundations and other large donors, reaching out to press and donors, blogging, strategic planning, and all of the day-to-day minutiae involved in managing a nonprofit organization.

One of the other things we're beginning to concentrate on is organizing a public launch event with a high-profile speaker at a well-known San Francisco venue (does anyone recognize it from the photo?). Although this is still in the early planning stages and we don't have an exact date yet, this event will be a celebration of your early support for Prostasia, as well as an announcement to the wider community that we are here to stay.

Apart from our fundraising campaign here on YouCaring, we have also begun a new fundraiser on Facebook, which will be used to raise the money for venue rental and for the expenses of the speaker at our launch event (since these expenses weren't included in our YouCaring fundraiser). Would you please take a few minutes to share our Facebook fundraiser with your friends, and add a few words about why you think it's important?

Prostasia Advisor Maggie McNeill has kindly offered us a featured guest blog post on her own popular blog. The topic is the politics behind child protection laws, and the piece delves into why it is that such laws are able to be passed with much less care and scrutiny than laws on less important topics. We will be reposting the same blog article on our Medium blog, but go read it on Maggie's site first and share her tweet.

Oh, one more bit of exciting news! We have just finalized the designs for our stickers, and will be sending them for printing this week. We will be sending these out to the first 20 donors of $20 or more via YouCaring. These donors will be the first to see our brand new logo, which we are otherwise keeping under wraps until the crowdfunding ends.

If you've already donated and included your contacts details, you'll be getting your stickers soon—if not, we still have a few more to give away. With little over a month left in our crowdfunding, and with our fundraising running so far behind, we could really use your support now, more than ever.

Posted on June 4, 2018


Posted on June 4, 2018

If you can make it to San Francisco and would like to meet our volunteers and Board in person, good news! We are planning a launch event that will be held here in July. We can't yet reveal the location, exact date, or the MC for the event, but as one of our supporters, your attendance will be warmly welcomed. If you can't make it to San Francisco, we are also planning workshops in Vancouver and Paris (subject to funding), so we will be able to meet some more of you from around the world.

Even if we are unable to meet in person, you can still start to get to know us virtually through a podcast interview that was released today between counsellor Candice Christiansen and Prostasia Executive Director Jeremy Malcolm. The Prevention Podcast is published by The Prevention Project, which is a clinic from Utah specializing in the treatment of non-contact problematic sexual behavior. If the podcast isn't visual enough for you, we will also be holding a board meeting soon, and we'll circulate photos.

The big news of this week is that we'll be changing our logo for the launch. Although we liked our original logo, we discovered that it was very similar to the logo of another organization. It turns out that this was a happy coincidence, as we've been able to replace it with a logo that we like even better. If you'd like to see it before the launch, the only way that you can do this is by being one of our first 20 donors (and if you're reading this, perhaps you already are). Those donors will receive a free sticker pack with the new logo, ahead of our launch event.

There's not too much more to report this week, except that work on our next blog post and on our website are continuing. Expect the pace of work to pick up from mid-week onwards—in our next update, we'll explain why. (It's exciting news, and we can't wait to tell you about it.) We appreciate all of your continued retweets, likes, and shares on our Twitter and Facebook pages, as well as of course your very important donations. Don't miss next week's update! We'll catch you back here then.

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