Effectiveness of a Branching Narrative to Positively Impact Messaging Around Sexual Assault

Abstract: Sexual assault affects one in four women in the United States. Recent studies show that college is the time when sexual assaults are most likely to occur. Prevention involves educating audiences to identify unsafe situations from a variety of perspectives – from potential victims, to bystanders, to perpetrators. In short, this project seeks to use education is a means of decreasing sexual violence through a combination of (1) informing and (2) building empathy.

In an effort to work towards this combination of education and empathy-building, our team has begun work on designing a game-based branching narrative about sexual assault. This game-based learning appeals to younger generations, providing a wide range of learning strategies, creates opportunities for empathy-building, and allows for an interactive approach to skill-building, which can positively impact real-world behavior changes. Our game focuses on prevention through building bystander scenarios, where the player is in a position to advise friends at a party. The grant funds will be used to continue to develop the game and test its efficacy. The work is a collaboration between scholars from Grady College, the School of Social Work, and the Lamar Dodd School of Art.

Shira ChessBroun Fund Micro-Grant Award ($3,000)