BY ALEXA CHERRY
For the UAS Whalesong
We all know what consent means, right? Just in case, I got the Google definition: consent is “permission for something to happen or agreement to do something.” And, as I’m sure we’ve all seen on the various stickers and flyers that have been making their way around campus, consent is two other things: clear and verbal. Both at the same time, not one or the other. If someone is intoxicated or incapacitated in any way, their consent is not clear, even if it’s verbal. If someone gives verbal consent but it’s not very clear if they really meant it, they haven’t actually given consent. And, perhaps most importantly, consent is something that anyone can revoke at any point in time – and neither you or anyone else can tell them they don’t get to do that.
The concept of consent is most commonly discussed in a sexual context. Usually, during new student orientation, there is a presentation given on sexual harassment, consent, and the ins and outs of such. (I only saw it once, but a particular favorite of mine was a video that compared consent to a cup of tea. If someone says that they like tea but they don’t want it at the moment, you wouldn’t force them to drink tea anyway.) That being said, it was recently brought to my attention that there is a video game in existence whose entire purpose is to drive home the importance of consent – specifically, sexual consent.
The game is called Cute Demon Crashers, and it’s an American take on the Japanese genre of otome games – aka dating simulators. The premise is that your character is home alone when 3 incubi (male sex demons) and a succubus (a female sex demon) warp through a portal into your house. You ask them to leave, and they say they will, but the portal won’t re-open for 3 days, meaning they’ll have to live with you for a while. After 3 days of interacting with each character and getting to know them, they give you a chance to choose one of them to sleep with. Now, since the whole point of the game is about consent, you can say no not only right off the bat, but at any point later on, even if it seems like it’s too late to do so. Since otome games are getting pretty popular in America these days, the creators of Cute Demon Crashers wanted to use that popularity to promote consent and the importance thereof in the bedroom (and all other facets of life).
Consent is also important in other, non-sexual areas. For example, if your friends invite you to a party and you don’t really want to go, you don’t have to let them pressure you into going. You can stay at home and take that nap, do that homework, play that video game – and you don’t have to justify why, if you don’t want to. You can just say no, because sometimes that’s okay. And you don’t want to be a nonconsensual partier – that’s no fun at all.
So, that’s the message: don’t let people do anything to you without your consent, and don’t do anything to other people without their consent. Consent is more important than you might think, and if you need to play a video game in order to understand the concept better, Cute Demon Crashers is free for download online. (However, it is an M-rated game, for 18 and older, so beware!) If you are having any issues with consent or feel that you need to talk to anyone about anything, you can get a free counseling appointment at the UAS Health Center. Just call (907)-796-6000 to make an appointment. You can also go to http://www.uas.alaska.edu/juneau/counseling/index.html for more information.