Unanswered questions from our MSC webinar

In this thread I will post the questions that we received in our webinar MAP Support Chat: a peer-support network for adolescent MAPs that we weren’t able to get to because we ran out of time. Answers to the questions will be posted by myself and TNF.

Q: Another question that I have is regarding Prostasia’s vast pro-ship audience that claims to be against MAPs. Many complain that people are reporting lolicon “instead of MAPs” despite the fact that many on Twitter stand against sexual abuse. MSC has been heralded as a support group to help them “get better instead of putting proud MAP on their bio.” What are your thoughts on this segment of Prostasia’s support base?

A: I think there are a couple of misconceptions here about both MSC and Prostasia, but I’ll just deal with the question as it pertains to Prostasia. The feelings that some pro-shippers have towards MAPs are just reflective of the broader community’s feelings towards them, however since pro-shippers are often (falsely) called pedophiles or apologists for CSA, there is the added pressure that some of them feel to respond by saying “No, we’re not like them!” and to punch down at MAPs. At the end of the day, this tactic won’t work, because that’s not how sexual stigma works… anti-shippers will continue to call pro-shippers names regardless of how they try to distance themselves from MAPs. An increasing number of pro-shippers are recognizing that, and realizing that they stand a better chance of defending their own community by standing against sexual stigma and anti-shipping tactics generally. Prostasia’s allyship with fans started with that, and I’m very proud of the partnerships we have formed with fan-led projects like Fanexus, Bobachan, and PROBLMEATIQUE.

Q: If Prostasia’s main objective is fighting CSA then shouldn’t you reconsider what abuse actually is and isn’t, instead of assuming the status quo definition is correct and accurate? If you’re against all adult-minor sexual contact you should state it that way because it’s more objective, rather than stigmatizing relationships which may or may not be loving and consensual.

A: No, because that would be considered a pro-contact philosophy and we made a conscious decision not to go down that path and to be very strict about respecting legal age of consent. Clearly, there are cases of statutory rape between loving and consensual partners of similar age that don’t result in harm. It’s also true that there is no magic age at which the sexual freedom of the two partners suddenly outweighs the risk of harm, because everybody is different. However, societies are based on laws so we have to draw a line somewhere. Since drawing that line isn’t a scientific question, but an ethical choice about freedom and harm minimization, it isn’t a line that we are qualified to draw, or that any individual is qualified to override. Our society has decided through a democratic process that that age should be 18 (at least in California where we are based), and it isn’t part of our mission to second-guess that.

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Q: Will there be a published child safeguarding/reporting policy at some point?

Q: I’m not sure if this is off-topic, but I’ve a question regarding policies. Prostasia writes on its website:

“Consulting: Our diverse expert stakeholders offer advice and review of platforms’ content policies to make sure that they accord with the state of the art in child protection.”
https://prostasia.org/services/consulting/

I agree that policies to protect vulnerable groups are important. I was surprised a bit, however, that Prostasia doesn’t seem to have such policies for its forum or webinars itself as far as I can see. I think anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies for places that are likely visited by people with mental health problems is very important. Due to discrimination a lot of MAPs, maybe particularly young MAPs, suffer from depression and suicidal ideations, so I was wondering if it’s possible or makes sense to have such policies (if they don’t already exist and I have missed them) for the Prostasia forum as well as Prostasia events or also MSC.

A: MSC and Prostasia policies are separate, so I’ll answer about Prostasia policies. We have developed a safeguarding policy called No Children Harmed which is available here:

This policy is mainly intended to be adopted by members and partners of Prostasia Foundation who provide products or services that involve children, rather than being a policy for our own internal governance.

Additionally, we have a staff screening policy which may be found here:

Q: Some parole officers restrict use of websites like B4UACT , VIRPED and the MSC. What is the plan if any to get law enforcement to allow those in the system to have peer support available?

A: That’s a great question and the honest answer is that we don’t have a strategy for that yet. But I think we should develop one. Thanks for bringing it up!

Q: What is the policy of MSC in which a group member admits explicitly to committing a crime?

A: I’ll leave TNF to answer this, but you can also find the answer in the article that he wrote for our blog.

Essentially, “It depends.” How severe is the crime? How bad does the person feel about it? What are their circumstances? Obviously we are not going to bother anyone about speeding, where as Jeremy already mentions, if we have someone perpetrating child sexual abuse, we will absolutely report it.

From a support standpoint, we would be happy to allow the right people access to our resources, and as you point out, it is difficult to convince corrections and law enforcement of the value of peer support. At the same time, I do believe there would be value in allowing people who do not have a history of internet offending access to more support.

MAP Support Club already has a practice of safeguarding our members through tight moderation, per our rules and terms.

I largely agree with Jeremy - I do not believe that trying to change the definition of sexual abuse has value. I covered this definition years ago in my blog, and the position that MAP Support Club takes is roughly the same, with some minor differences.

I am not 100% clear on the question, but MAP Support Club is here for supporting minor attracted people, and the reality is, there is no “getting better” with minor attraction. We can change how we see the stigma levied at us, and we can work on our personal mental health issues, but I largely disagree with the framing of the question. I am a minor attracted person. So what? I never chose it, so why should I feel bad about it? Why should I feel good about it? Pride is a statement against stigma and discrimination, not some sense of achievement.

An important correction: Using the phrase “adult-minor sexual contact” or similar language is not taking a pro-contact philosophy; many sexological researchers use such language when they study willing sexual experiences that some underage teenagers have had with adults, for the purpose of understanding such experiences and their effects. Other phrases used in the literature are “age-discrepant sexual relationships” and “sexual experiences with adults in adolescence or childhood.” These are credentialed researchers at established universities, and I hardly think they would be considered to take a “pro-contact philosophy.” They choose objective scientific language so their findings are less subject to bias and to facilitate clearer understanding, as is the goal of science. So, it may be more accurate to say that Prostasia has chosen to use legal/moral language rather than more precise, objective scientific language, which they are certainly entitled to do.

It also appears that Prostasia has chosen which political battles to fight, which again is certainly their right as an organization. Yes, the U.S. is a nation of laws, and the democratic process led to certain censorship laws, but Prostasia was qualified and did choose to second-guess those laws and become involved in the democratic process to challenge them. However, the organization is not in the position of doing this for laws that define CSA. Unfortunately, these laws also criminalize youth sexual behavior and place juveniles on public registries as “sex offenders.” I surmise that, at least at the moment, questioning the legal definition of abuse, and learning how that definition can harm people including children or underage teenagers, is not a part of Prostasia’s mission. Some researchers are questioning these definitions, and maybe some day Prostasia or another organization will also follow suit.

What you’re suggesting is that we unpack the circumstances in which “adult-child sex” might be OK… why? Out of idle academic curiosity? Or to drive an agenda? For whose benefit? To be clear, I’m not impugning your personal motives here; yes there is ample research evidence that some minors can have sexual experiences with adults that they seem to tolerate well into adulthood, and there is reason for researchers to study why and how some minors are harmed more than others, because that helps them to understand what harm reduction might look like. But regardless of what you say your motivations are, everyone will assume that talking about “adult-child sex” is an agenda to benefit pro-contact adults. So we are not going to waste any of our advocacy on an agenda that has literally no upside for anyone, and a whole lot of downside for the communities that we serve.

Remember that Prostasia has to be able to defend everything that we do and all the positions that we take to the press, to funders, and to government. It’s hard enough to do that as it is! Remember what happened when Congress got their hands on the Rind report? Already people who are steeped in conspiratorial thinking make false assumptions about our motives. Our aim is to move discourse away from “child sexual abuse is wrong because it’s gross/disgusting/pedophiles do it” to “child sexual abuse is wrong because it’s harmful/is illegal/violates consent.” This is a tough argument to make stick, because most people aren’t used to thinking deeply about this stuff, they are used to letting their disgust reflex do all their thinking for them. Getting people to even listen to us requires our red lines to be extremely clear. The slightest whiff of openness to “but what if “adult-child sex” was OK?” would sink our mission for good.

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Q: Someone had asked, “Which stakeholders would the community like to cooperate with?”

Jeremy got a chance to answer this. My take is, we want all stakeholders to cooperate with MAP Support Club. Yes, even law enforcement. Why? First of all, we have a number of people who we cannot help very well because our rules are set up to forbid discussions of unadjudicated illegal activity. That ends up meaning for us that we cannot help people who struggle with particular issues that they likely very much need support with. So, it would be nice from our perspective to have the ability to support those people.

Ideally, we would like to work with people from all walks of life, as our members also consist of people from all walks of life.

We are not open to pro-contact ideas. Pro-contact maps should be surgically castrated and hanged. It has been proven beyond any doubt that adult-child sex is extremely harmful. Prostasia is a rare breed among this type of NGO. I may not agree with them on everything, but their goal defending free speech and evidence based prevention and healing rather than relying on outrage is what makes them stand out. Please do not sink this NGO by promoting adult-child sex.

Indeed we don’t agree on everything and I would suggest that all this talk about perpetrators being subhuman, not having human rights, and being subjected to forced castration and capital punishment is one of those areas of disagreement. The harm from abuse is grave and our response as a society is very is strict, but we mustn’t ever forget that outrage directed at individuals isn’t going to help prevent them from perpetrating abuse as much as education and support will. Remember again that about a third of perpetrators are children themselves and that when our outrage ends up in their criminalisation, this too is a form of sexual harm.

“Most people unquestioningly pursue what society tells them to pursue, a mindless herd. But then, there are those that think for themselves. Only these stubbornly logical minds could join the Elevated Caste.”

^ This is why outrage from a lot of people exists. Outrage versus logic. For the people who are trying to enforce laws that castrate and capitally punish perpetrators, they only do that to protect their herd’s interests. Powerful people in the herd are called “them” on purpose, and the perpetrators that are part of the herd are called “others” on purpose. It’s them versus others. Logic versus outrage and others versus them are why societies deal with issues within their own societies regardless if they have laws that try to make citizens have peace with each other because of the inevitable people who are rebels, freethinkers, amoral, intellectually ahead of a herd’s echo chamber, and indifferent towards a herd’s echo chamber.

Education obtainment is challenging for some individuals considering censorship and financial inequality prevail amidst the societal echo chambers that are lingering.

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This is why outrage from a lot of people exists. Outrage versus logic. For the people who are trying to enforce laws that castrate and capitally punish perpetrators.

I think overly obsession with punishment is indeed unhelpful. But I don’t have a punitive attitude towards all offenders. Offenders who are minors for example. I’ve made it very clear I will only support forced medication aimed at lowering sex drive or compulsiveness of CSAM possession offenders if it’s done humanely and with diligence rather than strict liability. I also hold this view for indecent exposure, statuary rape offenses with a minor 14-17, and other sex offenses roughly on this range of severity. These individuals should be recognized as human, who have rights, who’s lives have value. So forced medicalization of these individuals again must be done humanely.

Regardless, there needs to be a focus on prevention. We need to see studies as to whether sexual fictional depictions of child-like characters like certain types of mangas are a form of deterrent towards perpetrating sex crimes, both non-contact and contact offenses. We need to explore more ways of preventing harm before it happens.

There isn’t much which can be done for someone with unadjudicated illegal activity. If being on the edge can give you psychological issues, I can only imagine what sort of paranoia and psychological issues someone would have having to worry about the police coming for them, day and night. There is nothing anyone can do, they’re on their own, what you can do is prevent someone turning into them, and keeping them away from those mind invasive images. I might go as far as to recommend disabling image uploads, which haven’t been explicitly moderated by a non-pedophile (so that you don’t run the risk of getting addicted to them).

It may be the case someone starts early and ends up in a cycle they can never escape from?

You should be surgically castrated, hanged, quartered, and have your head mounted up on a pike. Your existence serves no utility to society. Not one iota, rather your existence is a drain to society, on every single level. It is because of people like you there is such a big problem to begin with, and this meaningless rhetoric, which I am quite capable of writing myself. Don’t treat others how you wouldn’t want others to treat you.

In any case, that is an opinion, something which a democratic free society protects. An opinion which can shift, which someone can have doubts about in one direction or another strongly or weakly, which does not correspond with an offense status. Fascists make me sick.

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