Rape in Video Games: Part Duex

September 19th, 2010 | Tags: , , ,

Why the need for another blog entry, you ask? Well, because it seems that some people didn’t bother to read through the entire length of the last one. Or it has become abundantly clear that factual statistics aren’t enough for this simple request to be heard. So this time, I’m going to try to work with anecdotes, in the best way possible.

While playing WoW, there are a handful of us, yes those of you reading (whether you play WoW or not). We’ve got 9 out of 10 people for a 10man ICC run. We pug the last guy. Last guys yells out in Vent (a vent that 1) doesn’t belong to him and 2) he was invited to just for this event), “We’re so going to rape this place.”

Person 1’s backstory goes like this: Raped by an uncle. When she told family members about what was happening, no one believed her. She never sought therapy or help for what happened to her. She still struggled daily when in the presence of men.

Person 2’s backstory: Raped by a father. Father was arrested. Person 2 got therapy and lives a mostly normal life. Has a husband and children. The bad days are few and far between.

Person 3’s backstory: Family member was raped and remembers the trauma it caused. Person 3 remembers how much EVERYONE suffered at the knowledge that the family member was raped.

Person’s 4-9: Never knew anyone who was raped and have never been raped themselves.

No one knows the experiences of the others, but all of you have been playing WoW for years. You can all tell stories about things you’ve done together. You know when Player 5 got married. You know that players 8 and 9 met in game and have been together now for 4 years and are expecting their first child. You know personal and real details about each person, even if (aside from Players 8 and 9) none of you have met. You bitch about your personal life with these people and you are handsomely rewarded for your teamwork and efforts within a game you all love and enjoy. They are your friends. You depend on them in the virtual world, and in the case of Player 8 and 9, in real life as well. You find camaraderie amongst your guild members.

Now. Given this (albeit ridiculous) scenario, how should each person respond. Person 1 hears “We’re so going to rape this place (like your uncle did to you when you were a little girl).” Is she wrong for feeling this way? She doesn’t say anything because she doesn’t want to piss anyone off, or cause problems. People react exactly the way amber, Daey and countless other people react when it gets brought up anyway. Why say anything? It won’t change. It won’t stop her from hearing those additional words when someone uses the term “rape” within the game. Is it fair, that this person who is otherwise a friend and guildmate, that her experiences are trivialized and treated as pathetic and useless? Is it her own fault this happened to her? Did she do something to ask or this to happen? Is it her fault that she doesn’t have the family support to help point her in the right direction and she has thus since spent her entire life internalizing the experience in an effort to fit in with her peers. Some of her peers are you, keep in mind.

Person 2 hears “We’re so going to rape this place!” and thinks nothing of it. It isn’t until later that night when the trauma of what happened to her comes back. Her husband is left to stare at her in bewilderment not knowing what to do to fix this. It isn’t his to fix. She has done the best that she can and for the most part is a fully functional adult. The experience has helped her become a stronger person and thus has raised her own children to be strong individuals.

Person 3 sends a whisper to the Raid Leader. The Raid Leader addresses the issue. The men all pipe up with “It was funny” or “He was a good rogue, just let it go.” Never knowing that Player 1 and 2 are having a hard time with this. Player 3 says something more. And suffers the ridicule and chastisement of her guild members. Someone she believed were her friends.

Is Person 1 wrong for feeling the way she does? Are we, those outside of the situation, allowed to TELL her how she should be feeling? Would it be so difficult to respect your guild member, your friend, and stop using the term “rape” so nonchalantly? Is it Person 2 allowed to tell Person 1 that she’s being irrational and dumb when what she hears includes “like your uncle did to you when you were a little girl”? Does Person 2 have a right to compare the experiences or their lives because she’s had a similar experience but has had better opportunities to seek help and adjust?

At what point do we stop expecting everyone else around us to do the jobs we should do? Should anyone other than Person 3 said something? Yes. Absolutely. Should it have been returned with ridicule and chastisement? Absolutely not. You should respect the people you play with. You should respect the people you call friends, even virtual ones. Some of my closest friends are people I almost never get to see in real life. My best friend of all time lives thousands of miles away, but our friendship is no less a best friendship than one I could have with someone nearby. Except that we could SEE each other more often.

Each person is going to take a negative situation and adjust however they want and at the pace that they want. I don’t speak for all victims and/or survivors. I don’t speak for anyone but myself. I asked for people to speak up and say something. I asked for people to start saying something when it comes up. I did not say that using other words to describe the same thing wouldn’t work. Use “buttsex” for example. Similar connotation, much funnier in execution. Includes men and women regardless of situation, and does not imply the violent act of taking something from someone against their will.

We’re all entitled to our opinions. I’m not even asking that you guys change your views of what rape or sex is for that matter. I ask that you respect the PEOPLE you play the game with and not use it in the way it’s been used up until now. This was one scenario. This was one person’s story based on the stories of others. This is one possibility of what could happen or the things that could exist. This is just one, out of billions, of possible situations you might find yourself in.

What role do you play in this? Are you willing to lessen the experiences of others because of one tiny detail, a detail that may not be so tiny to someone else? Will you only be sympathetic if you knew Person 1 and/or Person 2’s story? Would they need to disclose it in order for you to behave differently? Is it fair to think that everyone should just “buck up and grow up” because it’s what you’ve been able to do when faced with adverse life situations?

Why can’t we chose to be respectful of the people who play our games with? Why can’t we remember that these people are our friend’s too? That we don’t need to know the details to understand the importance of it.

That way Person 1 may one day feel like asking for help. From her guildies or from a therapist. And Person 2 may be okay with talking about it to someone other than her husband again. And everyone involved can know they did what they could to make the game playing experience the best for everyone involved.

That’s when it matters.

P.S. Osephala, I offer you hugs and an ear if you ever need one.
P.P.S. Internet Trolls to Real-Life Stalkers In case you were curious.
P.P.P.S. How the web became a sexists’ paradise For more information on the differences between how men and women are treated (and if you think for a second this doesn’t apply, you’re fooling yourself)
P.P.P.P.S. Why taking things like rape and stalking seriously are important, even in a video game. It’s easy to find people. I know I found out which Southern state amber lives in, at least where her ISP is.

Click the links. Read all the way through. And understand this is more than just you… a single person. This is about everyone.

I play a game called World of Warcraft…

September 16th, 2010 | Tags: , , , , ,

I play a game called World of Warcraft in which people of all shapes and sizes, colors and ethnicities, and gender also play. In the game, there is an awful lot of killing of virtual monsters and bad guys. I love killing stuff in the game. I kill all sorts of stuff from other people’s characters, to animals, and I’ve been known go to a little crazy with the turkey killing. But at no point have I ever raped someone… in game or otherwise.

So today I want to discuss something that has floated around the internet for quite some time now. The use of the word rape within the gaming community is nothing new. The terminology of the gaming community varies and shifts and wanes. It’s this one term, “rape” that bothers me. It bothers me a lot. Actually, it downright enrages me! What I’m talking about is using the term “rape” to describe killing, attacking, besting, pwning, etc another character, player, NPC or, well, anything in the game for that matter.

It wasn’t that long ago that there was a huge stink over Penny Arcade’s use of the word rape in a comic. In my opinion, I find that I side much more with Shakesville moreso than Tycho and Gabe. Their response to the accusation was so much more disheatening than the original comic was. It’s infuriating. I’ll get to the reasons why, I promise.

Last night I was on my Druid, doing what she does, healing the crap outta some people in Ulduar, while we were there specifically to get Glory to the Ulduar Raider (10) achievements. In the middle of all of this, as we’re attempting to get Crazy Cat Lady, someone jokes about raping another raid member in Vent. There were a handful of chuckles, but it wasn’t until someone said, “There’s no such thing as rape” that I started to be offended. Deeply. I had raided the previous week with many of the same people and looked forward to working on getting my dragon mount. Many of them were in the same guild. There were a handful of raid members who were not part of their guild or my own.

First, a rule has long since been established within my current guild on Eldre’Thalas that you are not allowed to use the term “rape” in reference to anything in the game. Why? Because it trivializes the experience for any and all who are victims and/or survivors. It lessens their trauma to something funny in a virtual game.

Second, I don’t know these people personally. I know a lot of my guild members personally. I could tell you personal details of their lives. I didn’t want to cause a big stink immediately upon it happening, but I did say something, to the raid leader. As the conversation continued in whisper with him, his wife also whispered me about my discomfort about how the term was being tossed about.

The icing on the cake was when someone said “It’s not rape until the check bounces.” Alright guy. Now, I’m pissed. I was tolerable, and even consolable before. A mere mention to maybe back off would have been okay. But that… that takes the fuckin’ cake sir. And I will not sit down and take that from anyone.

At the end of the raid, when there was talk about continuing later in the week to get more achievements, the raid leader I whispered brought up the issue in Vent. Calmly, he said “Also, there’s something else I want to bring up. There are ladies in the group and some of them were offended by the use of the word rape.” Some of the younger men piped up about how it was “funny” and it was only a “joke”. Keep in mind, I hadn’t spoken at all on these strangers vent. Never intended to. I keep my gender a secret in the game because WoW is filled with so many misogynists that I’d rather be judged on my ability to keep your ass alive than on the female tone of my voice. Or my apparent lack of a penis between my legs.

I pressed the button. I spoke the first and only time to these strangers. I was hot and pissed, and fists were clenched. I explained that rape is not funny. Will never be funny. That it’s offensive and horrible to hear the term be thrown about as though it were some hilarious aside. I was angry. Shaking with clenched fists angry. I felt my face get hot, my voice get shaky, and tears flowed down my face. My heart raced as I wished death upon the asshole who thought it was funny to joke about bouncing checks constituting rape.

One guy, in response to me said, “I’ve never been raped, so since I’ve never experienced it, it’s just funny to me.”

*blinks* Rly?

By this point I was seeing red. I was flaming pissed off and I yelled into the microphone that it is not funny and will never be funny. Someone said “Alright, let’s bring this down a little bit or I’m going to start kicking people.” At which point I left the vent. I dropped the raid. And I whispered the raid leader that I’d like to not ever be invited to anything they were doing again. And to please forget I existed. He apologized, again. Said I was good heals and I didn’t hear back from him again. The RLs wife was whispering me about how she understood where I was coming from and reassured me that the one’s making the comments were not guild members. Except, one of them was.

He took offense to my stating that he was less likely to be raped because of his penis, and that he doesn’t believe that women’s bodies react involuntarily. When in fact, the only difference between a man’s body reacting to unwanted sexual stimulation and a woman’s body reacting to unwanted sexual stimulation is the fact that a man’s bodily response is much easier to detect.

Many sexual abuse survivors have trouble dealing with the fact that their body was sexually stimulated and felt aroused during the abuse. They may feel guilty and ashamed that they responded to the stimulation, and confused about why they did.
“Sexual Feelings During Sexual Abuse” by Kali Munro, M.Ed., Psychotherapist, 2004

So please, don’t patronize me with your false sense of education. Fury Warrior with no brain, you’re wrong. There is such a thing as rape, and the body will respond whether you like it or not. This is exactly how men are raped… just much less often than women.

Now, Amanda Marcotte over at Pandagon.net talks about the way Tycho and Gabe reacted to the outcry of insensitivity on their part. Amanda talks both about the original comic, Shakesville’s reaction, and in turn the Penny Arcade response.

I found the blog post an annoying rationalization for disliking humor in general, which the blogger admits she does.  I find the “but rape is real!” argument against jokes of this nature to be a disingenuous one.  Slavery is also real, as is murder and general violence.

I will not discount that slavery and murder and general violence aren’t real. They very much are. The biggest difference between rape and those other horrible acts are that none of them specifically target one gender moreso than another. Physiologically, women are at a disadvantage. We’re made softer, smaller, less agile and less strong. Don’t give me the crap about women body builders, because that is not the general rule with women. There are always exceptions to every rule. For the most part most men can overpower, by sheer strength, most women.

Let’s take a look at murder first. According to FBI.gov, there were 13,636 murder victims in 2009. The U.S population is roughly 307,006,550 as of July 2009, according to Google Public Data. That makes it 4.44% of the total population is a victim of murder. Yes, most murder victims are male, but men are more likely to commit violent acts or be involved in violent acts (and an entirely separate issue altogether). That means, generously, 1 in 20 people you see on the street could be a murder victim.

Now let’s look at slavery and try to put it into perspective. Between the years 1776 and 1800, “A yearly average of 74,000 slaves were imported for the American colonies, or a total of 1,850,000“. That’s a helluva lot of people. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t agree with slavery, but I can’t pretend it didn’t happen either. Many numbers stop around 1860 regarding the number of slaves, which makes it nearly impossible to put it into modern terms. Roughly 47% of the lower southern states were slaves. 29% of the upper southern states had slaves. Those are pretty high numbers, but nothing within the last hundred or so years. Certainly nothing with the last few years.

Then we have rape. 1 in 6 women are victims of an attempted or completed rape. That’s 16.67% of women. Compared to 1 in 33 for men (3.03%). Comparing slavery from hundreds of years ago, and murder (where the U.S. is #24 worldwide) to rape (where the U.S. is #1 worldwide) is deplorable. The total number of murders is a fraction of the total number of rapes against women.

So when I asked you, random strangers on some other guild’s vent, to please refrain from using the term rape, a simple “Okay” would have been sufficient. I received a whisper from someone else who was there during all of it as well, and he said he was sorry. He apologized and said he’d stop using the term. Informed me his sister had almost been raped. I replied with “I’m really sorry to hear that.” And I genuinely was.

Would it have been any less funny if I told you I was raped? If I were a victim or a survivor? Would it have been less funny if you found out your mother, sister, grandmother, aunt, best friend’s mom, cousin, whatever had been raped? Or is it still HILARIOUS because you yourself have never been raped? Sometimes, it’s not about you. Sometimes it’s about the fact that you are trivializing the experience. Making jokes doesn’t make it less serious. Making jokes doesn’t make it not happen. The truth remains that every 2 minutes, someone in the United States is sexually assaulted.

Some of the problem is that as women and men, we’ve allowed this to be socially acceptable within our favorite games. The anonymity of the internet has allowed more and more people to be bigger and bigger assholes. Women who play video games have been treated as though we are incapable of playing our characters without a man to run along side of us. Many women don’t broadcast their gender within the game where men play female characters. They let people assume whatever they will, rather than deal with the chastisement of “OMG, UR NOT RLY A GURL!!” (if you think people haven’t said or typed this exact thing to me, you’re fooling yourself).

Women, the only thing I can ask of you is to stop tolerating this. Don’t let it go. What I said to the player who told me his sister was almost raped was “If you stop saying it, then I’m happy. I made a difference with one person.” That’s one less person who’s going to use “rape”. Say something. It has to stop.

Men, I have to ask that you not sit on your laurels and let it happen. If you look at your wives, daughters, sisters, and mothers, and find that rape is funny if it involves one of them, then by all means, let your brothers’ in arms go about their raping ways. If the very thought of someone YOU love being raped is not even the least bit funny, stop it from happening. Say something. Women aren’t taken as seriously in WoW as men are, so it’s up to you to help make a difference.

This isn’t about freedom of speech. This is about changing the meaning of a word that in and of itself describes a very violent act. You’re free to talk about killing all the virtual monsters you want to. But you’re not raping them. Rape doesn’t happen in WoW. It happens in real life. It’s not funny. It never will be.

Growing up is hard to do

September 10th, 2010 | Tags: ,

Some days I see myself as a mostly accomplished adult. Other days I still feel like a ninteen year old struggling to find myself in the omgBigWorld. I one of those “blessed” people (if you want to call it that) who look much younger than their driver’s license says. So for a long time I felt as young as people thought I was. I related more with younger people and their care-free attitudes. I made many adult-like choices in my younger years that afforded me with the freedoms of today.

I chose not to get married young.
I chose not to have children young.
I chose not to have “those kinds” of responsibilities.

These weren’t always easy choices. I wanted the security of knowing someone would be there when I got home. Someone to cuddle on bad days. Someone’s leg to sleep on while on the couch watching movies or television. The usual Hollywood-type home life which doesn’t really exist. I know this, though it doesn’t stop me from hoping for that type of companionship someday. I still hold onto that hope even now that I’m in my 30’s.

The thing is, it always seemed to work out that I didn’t have to worry about actually growing up. I always found jobs in which I could wear jeans. There’s the usual “appropriate for work” aspect sure. No tank tops. No open-toed shoes. For the most part I’ve been lucky in that regard. Few places required that I be forced to dress up for the job, which is something I fear and loathe all at the same time. Nevermind that I absolutely abhor wearing those types of clothes no matter “how good it makes someone look” because that’s all arbitrary anyway. I don’t feel comfortable. I actually feel a bit like a doll on display. Nothing ever fits me appropriately. So it’s much more like being a Cabbage Patch Doll wearing Barbie’s clothes. It just doesn’t work. I’m bigger all in different areas that clothes are truly not tailored to fit me correctly. So things are short in the front, too long at the ankles and my underwear shows no matter how daintily I try to pick something up.

The fact remains that being able to wear jeans and t-shirts to a job has helped spoil me of sorts. I haven’t actually had to do any actual growing up. I mean, I have a helluva lot of school loan debt which will need to be paid off soon. I have credit card debt and my cell phone bill every month. Insurance for my car. Car repairs (which seem to happen a whole lot more now that I’m trying to pay for all this stuff myself and not call Daddy every time something seemingly catastrophic (it’s usually minor) happens).  Those things I’m trying to handle on my own, and I haven’t been too horrible at. It means I have to learn how to juggle priorities and make sure that I don’t forget or negate other responsibilities just because I had to fork over all that money for yet another car repair (I’m looking at you $129 diagnostic fee for a check engine light).

In the midst of all of this grown-upy stuff that’s going on there’s the other side. That part of me that would love to live with my dad and not have to worry about stuff. I could have a job and a room full of yarn and it won’t matter to anyone but me. I can sit there and knit all day, get a job where I only have to work 3 days of the week and screw off the rest of the time. Dividing my time between WoW and knitting/crocheting. It would be a fabulous life.

And then I remember I’m 32.

Every now and again it hits me, that number. It reminds me that I’m not a kid anymore. That the option to live with my father is no longer an option. That I can’t opt out of being a grown up. There’s no check box to choose not to be an adult. I’m an adult, like it or not. Some days, it doesn’t seem very fair.

Don’t get me wrong. I can’t go back to being a teenager. All that angst and woe-is-me bullshit is too much. I can’t handle feeling like everything is the end of the world. Intelligent people, even mildly intelligent people, suffer from this. There’s something going on in there and the world can’t touch us, but it can kill the ever living shit out of us and make us cry and I’m going to call every single friend in my phone just to tell them about how the world is out to get me and omfgWHY!!?

See what I mean? That stuff there, I don’t miss. I remember feeling exactly like that though. I remember feeling as though I were this altruistic saint of a human, but really I was selfish and wanted everything my way. I still kind of think this way, I’m just better about actually being altruistic instead of just pretending to be that way.

Every now and again I’m struck with the reality of being an actual living breathing adult. When I look at the terrible state of my teeth and fear that I won’t have any of my own if I put it off much longer, kills me. Makes me cry sometimes. Who has the money to fix that kind of damage?! And why the fuck didn’t I listen to the dentist more when I was younger? Oh wait, I did. I brushed, flossed some, used mouth wash, etc. I did almost all of the things I was supposed to do. Oh right, genetics. Damn. Came to bite me in the ass did it? And so I weep over my teeth because that’s a bill no one but me can fess up to. I can’t blame my dad for my shitty teeth. He didn’t not brush them for me. I didn’t brush them. I didn’t take care of them. I didn’t pay attention all these years as they were rotting in my skull. And now, they have to be pulled and I’m faced with the growing reality that it’s not anyone’s fault but my own. I’d like nothing more than to blame someone else for it, like a teenager. It can be someone else’s fault, right?? I can blame, that guy, or that guy over there… and the people will smile and nod and think that I’m losing my mind.

Then there are those even more odd moments when I hear football games at the local high school (because it is right outside the window, and I wish that were an exaggeration) and I’m transported back to a time when I enjoyed going to those things. It was never about the sports, but about the socializing. I’ve grown so anti-social over the years and it seems to be getting worse as times goes on. As I get older the more and more I want to hide away and not look or talk to another human being. I see the high school kids walking down the street and there’s a pang of jealousy at their youth. A part of me that thinks about my tattoos and reflects on the reasons behind getting them. Did I get them for the attention? Do I want people to look at me and think “Oh, she must be cool” because of some deep-rooted desire to make up for all those years when I was just a face and no name in high school? It’s hard for me to know the answers to these questions. But they are fleeting thoughts that pass through my head. I wonder if people see me in the car and think if I’m a poser, or an idiot, or a retard, or question my age, or think I’m just some “kid”. Then I’m reminded of my adulthood once again while pushing the cart up and down the aisle of the grocery store making better food choices and those passing thoughts don’t matter again.

Until the next time.

I see my anime collection and I never get the urge to watch a single bit of it. I look at the files on my computer or at the VHS tapes and even some DVDs in my collection and there was a point when that stuff was very important to me. I know nothing about Naruto, and could care less about Dragonball Z. I didn’t pick up a love for Pokemon until well into my adulthood. I wonder if I’m clinging to some tiny portion of my youth. I don’t find the new animes worth my attention or time. I have no energy to be bothered by the anime and cartoons I once enjoyed. Is this me growing up? I kind of miss being young.

I’m reminded, constantly and unintentionally, of my age. I see people around me have baby after baby, or plan for weddings. Things that I didn’t want 13 years ago, but do sorta want now. I’m the oddball of the bunch. Friend’s have to plan days and nights around their children. Finding a babysitter is important. Making events that might not necessarily be kid-friendly, be kid-friendly because it’s that or don’t socialize at all. The priorities have shifted and I missed the train. I’m still 20-years old with no real responsibilities stuck in this 32-year old body wishing for someone else who’s like me. Some exist, just no where near where I live. Friends who love and play video games as much as me. Who, even if they don’t like or play WoW, don’t fault me for the quantity of time spend playing it. Or the importance of it to me.

I have those friends, who are close-ish in age. Just not a single one of them live near me.

So I’m reminded of my age, time and time again. It’s a hard reality to swallow, when the thing you want most is just to find someone with whom you share an interest in. I don’t mean a soul mate, but a friend. I have many, online, but few within driving distance of me. It makes me sad some days. Other days I have the strength to shrug it off as me being emotional and “girlie”, but the truth remains.

This isn’t what I expected out of adulthood. Too bad there’s no turning back.

My WotLK Bucket List

September 7th, 2010 | Tags: , , ,

So DruidMain posted about a Bucket List. Y’know, those things you want to get accomplished before Cataclysm comes out. So it got me to thinking, what sort of things have I been working on the last little while for before Cataclysm changes all of Azeroth? The list may seem somewhat ridiculous, for the most part. I figure why not shoot for the moon, and settle on the stars.

Achievements

For Hestiah I’d like to get [The Coin Master] Included in that is: [A Penny For Your Thoughts][Silver in the City][There’s Gold In That There Fountain]
It’s a whole lot of standing around in Dalaran, at the fountain, fishing. But it’ll be one of those things I’ll be happy I did.

For Mailynn I’d still like to get [The Loremaster], but I’m pretty sure I’m not even remotely close to willing to do all the work involved. Have you seen the number of quests there are for [Loremaster of Eastern Kingdoms] and [Loremaster of Kalimdor]?? Mai’s 494/685 for Kalimdor and I want to tear my hair out. I’m not sure I’ll get this for her.

Mailynn is only two world events away from getting [What A Long, Strange Trip It’s Been], so I’m planning on finishing that off with her. She will be the only one, I believe, who has the damn purple drake. Srsly.

Hestiah has been working on [Reins of the Winterspring Frostsaber] and it’s killing me. So tedious. So boring.

I desperately need to get Hestiah [World Explorer] including all of the Flight Points around everywhere too. I have half a mind to wait until I can fly around most of the old world, but who knows. Maybe I’ll get bored enough to do it.

I’d like to get the [Classic Dunegonmaster] as well as [Outland Dungeon Hero] on Hestiah and Mailynn at some point, though this is a little far fetched I think.

Hestiah still needs to get [Reins of the Raven Lord]. It’s kind of pathetic that she’s a druid and she doesn’t have this yet.

Everything Else

I’d like to level my Resto Shaman at some point beyond whatever her level is right now (I’m pretty sure it’s only 17).

Like DruidMain, a set of Plate Heirloom items would be really nice. I hadn’t even thought about it up until now, but I’m pretty sure it would sure make leveling easier for my Worgen Warrior come Cataclysm if I have these ready.

I think that’s it. Maybe. Possibly. No big deal, right?? /headdesk