Carnegie Mellon University students developed a part web comic, part game called Decisions that Matter that helps to raise awareness of situations where sexual assault might take place.
The game places you directly into the story with a first person point of view.
You are a member of a group of college friends. (The game prompts you to input a name that the other characters will address you by).
You are then presented with a series of real world scenarios where you are a bystander.
At certain moments, you are presented with choices. You can make different decisions about what to do. These decisions result in different outcomes.
‘Confront’, ‘Intervene’, ‘Go get help’, or ‘Wait and see’
Decisions that Matter shows you how you have the power to take action. You can choose speak up, and that can change someone’s life.
At the end, you are presented with video messages from the characters involved in the scenario. The messages are different depending on what choices you made.
These videos are acted out by the models of the characters, emphasizing just how real a situation like this is.
Jess Klein, coordinator of gender programs and sexual violence prevention at Carnegie Mellon University, explains:
I think it’s easy for someone to say, ’I won’t be sexually assaulted so I don’t have to worry about that.’ It’s easy for someone to say, ’I won’t sexually assault anyone so I don’t have to worry about that.’ We can all say we can all be bystanders.
The future of violence prevention is bystander education, if it’s done the right way.
Andy Norman, one of the instructors for the class in which this project was made adds:
It starts with people’s willingness — sometimes a small, sometimes a greater social risk — in calling people out on their behavior.