I’m not discrediting amateur writers; we’re all amateur writers. I’m advising that, as somebody who has written, spoken with writers, worked with writers, etc. for more or less my entire life, it is very easy to overestimate how capable you are at addressing such a heavy topic in a way that’s tasteful. When the topic is something that has a lot of very real and very severe trauma behind it for a lot of people, that necessarily demands treading lightly.
My own experience, back when I was a high school teen, involved me having that moment where I felt like I was really starting to get writing, and then working to incorporate darker themes into my writing with my newfound “expertise,” and that included stuff like sexual violence. I wasn’t the only person I knew at my age doing that; a lot of my writing peers wanted to explore these topics as we became older and were starting to form more complicated thoughts on these topics. Exploring them, even tastelessly, was a valuable learning experience in not writing that kind of content unless I have a very good reason to. It wasn’t that we would have had to go through it to be able to write it well, but that it’s difficult to really appreciate the severity of these kinds of events when it’s your first time really exploring them. In essence, learning how to correctly handle the topic was to learn that 95% of the time, it’s better off not being handled at all, unless you have a point to make about it; this applies to a lot of these various heavy topics, like racism and the like; thoughtless inclusion is disproportionately harmful when dealing with topics that have affected, and currently still are affecting, people’s real lives in serious, traumatic ways. The vast, vast, vast majority of people working on romhacks don’t have the expertise to execute on such things. I don’t have the expertise for a lot of it, and I’ve been writing for most of my life.
Of course, this song and dance has been performed like a hundred some-odd times on FEU alone, where a project will have some very explicit sexual themes, it will be wildly inappropriate and off-putting to the vast majority of users, and the ensuing discussion overshadows everything else about the project. It isn’t that you can’t explore these topics, but that FE romhacking is a wildly mismatched venue with which to tackle them. Furthermore, if you can’t even personally grasp the extent to which this kind of content can affect others, to the point that you need to ask if it constitutes “13+” or not, then you definitely aren’t in a position where the inclusion will be productive. At best, it will be inconsequential and go unnoticed; we’ve had plenty of examples in the past of the “at worst” scenario with many a hack of yesteryear.
The issue is that these are publicly released projects, where that learning experience isn’t just “a thing you write until you grow old enough to want to bury it,” but is instead a project that dozens, hundreds, or even thousands (if you really pop off) of people will come and read. You are well within your rights to write whatever you want, no matter how heinous, but when working on a publicly available piece of work, you’re also going to open yourself up to criticism, and I’ve watched this exact story play out several times in the past. Hence, my advice; don’t touch this kind of content in this kind of space unless you have an extremely good reason to. Nobody is stopping anybody, except the forum mods if you land on the wrong side of the content policy