Made an account to comment on this topic, as I have some experience with it.
Its very long, sorry in advance. Hope everything is easy to understand.
Naturally, most MAPs and many other sorts of paraphiles, by default, will look for anti-censorship communities. And since art is a very good outlet for sexual desires you can’t fulfill in real life, it makes sense that there will be a significant amount of MAPs that will go to anti-censorship art spaces. After all, they usually can’t stay in spaces (openly) that aren’t anti-censorship. If they’re open, they’re banned. And then, they move to the next space, and the next.
For our experience (we’re a system), one of our headmates used a mastodon instance. Because it’s anti-censorship, he was able to talk about paraphillia and MAP topics for awhile. But very quickly into joining, he saw that the community was turning away from MAPs and other paraphiles on the whole, because there is a stigma of fear centered around our intentions, by default.
Not only pro-c users were banned, but anyone who was also in a space that also houses pro-c users. People are in those spaces to begin with because others drive them out - Its not usually because they want to be next to pro-c individuals (most are very against that ideology). Still, users were banned only for sharing a space, because that means they “aren’t anti-contact enough” - Never mind that they aren’t advocating for abuse and actively are anti-c, or simply silent on the topic. Just sharing proximity means they aren’t to be trusted.
This conveys the internalized fear towards MAPs (and other paraphiles). The idea that there is an abuser hiding with malicious intent, trying to convert people to their cult, etc. This is not how all pro-cs actually are, and it also isn’t how abusers actually are. No, I’m not defending abuse or contact. Will talk more about this at the bottom.
By playing into this fear, we’re playing into the stigma we all face. By other people succumbing to this fear and banning MAPs for simply existing, they are playing a role in the stigma and pushing others out of communities and into smaller ones, which will become echochambers the smaller they get.
We never implied we were pro-c, but we also tried to avoid the discourse entirely. Im sure people had the suspicion that we were “secretly one of them” - But why we got banned was simply, voicing disagreement with the decisions made on that site, as paraphiles. It was fueled by stigma and an unwillingness to take criticism, but I wouldn’t be surprised if “what if they’re pro-c” was a factor in this. Ultimately I can’t say.
One person we heard (from someone involved longer in the community) was just banned for saying they were scared - Must be pro-c then, definitely not just a paraphile with paranoia and anxiety.
I know this is just an example from one site, and more about that specific site than the entire topic, but I think it illustrates the obvious problem well. The underlying fear of pro-cs in society overrides peoples better nature, and they start to group all of us together, and then cast all of us out “just in case.”
In the end, this fear hurts the entire pro-para movement.
Now onto pro-c people:
To not fear something, to make something better, you have to understand it.
Ultimately its a very complex debate about consent, but I think people have the misconception that people arrive at being pro-c purely because they want to have sex with children. And yes, Im sure there are some like that. And yes, that bothers me too. Because I care about kids.
But thats not why most people end up being pro-c. Its usually where they arrive after reflecting on their own childhood experiences, many of them having had sexual relations as a minor (as in, “I felt I consented then, and I don’t think its fair for others to tell me I didn’t”). So, many pro-cs are abuse survivors, even if they don’t want to be called that all the time.
Many pro-cs are also AAM or MMAP - If we isolate pro-c adults, we also isolate pro-c youth. And where do you think they end up? Together. Alone together.
When you think of the minors who fit that demographic, suddenly you begin to see how isolating all pro-cs for their beliefs is not necessarily a way to protect children. It can be the opposite. I don’t have a perfect answer for this, other than as a community, and as a society, we need to know the signs of abuse and strive to help both the abused and the abusers - to prevent further abuse/harm.
We also need to realize beliefs =/= abuse inherently. If we cast out a group for their beliefs, however, we cut them off from the outside world and let them fester together. That envoirnment cultivates abuse.
Most people try to be good people. Most offendors don’t intend to harm. Most offenders fall in love, and pursue a relationship that they shouldn’t. They’re usually mentally ill, and very isolated, because they are paraphiles, and also potentially pro-c (abusers can still hide behind any label, hence there being so many fandom anti abusers). They will either live in hiding or have a very small community. When you’re miserable, you chase after love. Its very human. Thats not to say its the right choice. I don’t think it is. Its dangerous and can go very badly, especially for someone still developing.
But we have to understand others and not be led by fear. The way forward will always be compassion and understanding. Abusers need help, and while I don’t think art spaces with peers are the ideal spaces to help, I think its better than isolating them away into echochambers with people who will actually encourage them.
I don’t think dehumanizing and ocstrasizing abusers will ever help potential victims or survivors.
I think it will drive them together.
It will create more victims.
Tldr; The bottom line of all this, is that to improve things for everyone and make humanity better, we have to try to understand everyone. And thats not easy. And it also means sharing spaces with people you dont like. It means discomfort. Its easier just to cast people out and consider it someone elses problem. But its not, its all of our problem.
Im not saying pro-c discussion should happen in those spaces, but I think those who lead these spaces need to not be overcome by the fear of the pro-c abuser boogeyman. Because that image is not real (or at least is an incredible minority of an already very small group), and feeding into it in the end only cultivates more isolation and then more abuse. It only keeps the stigma going.
You can’t help someone whos been cast away into an echochamber, because they can’t hear you anymore.
You especially can’t help any of the kids who end up there, either.