I’ve begun playing through this interactive novel to test it for accuracy and realism. I’ve only been through two scenarios so far. Even though it may not cover every situation and also might be starting way too late (I think we should have something like this for younger kids as well; it starts early-it did for me, at least), I think a project like this can still foster discussion and solution-building. Sexual assault isn’t always clear cut from the outside looking in. Little things add up over time. At the same time, our society’s general discomfort with the actuality of sex, desire, and communication about such matters is a large reason why these misunderstandings and boundary-crossing behaviors are normalized. Our attitudes about sex are atrocious and it shows in the way we deal with everything to do with it. My characters talk extensively about these things, my stories are full of people communicating clearly (or learning to do it) about who and what they want and when, and I am constantly contrasting consent, grey areas, and nonconsent. My characters are representative of each spectrum of sexuality, desire, arousal, attraction, relationship orientation, and state of mind. There is so little awareness and education surrounding sexual, mental, and emotional health. I hope that projects like this spawn others and keep the momentum going. Because people are suffering for lack of information. People are being lost in the cracks due to ignorance. I for one won’t ever ignore it.
So, if you’re interested, check out the article and the game. There is an option to leave the game if you feel triggered. I haven’t yet encountered anything too triggering but as I said, I haven’t played through every scenario yet. I’ll keep you updated as I play to let you know if all the situations feel realistic to me (I have way too much experience with people who cross boundaries).