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.

5 Responses to “Rape in Video Games: Part Duex”

  1. Osephala on September 19, 2010 4:35 pm

    To be honest, that’s exactly what goes through my head. You hit the nail on the head. It brings back awful memories when people talk like that. I’m not going to stop playing my favourite game just because of some disgusting people who think it’s okay to joke about rape. I usually mute them on vent or put them on ignore in game or I report them. That does not, however make me feel that much better. If more people stopped thinking of themselves and of other people and how they feel, maybe this wouldn’t be such a huge issue, but right now, it is a huge issue. The people that I play this game with are people that are understanding of other people and don’t say such insulting things like that. That’s who I choose to play with, but it does happen in other parts of the game and I can’t help that.

    I think you are amazing for posting on this. A lot of people are afraid to speak of it, but like I said above, it needs to be talked about.

  2. Rape: It’s not funny; or, why I’m never entirely comfortable in Azeroth | Empowered Fire on September 25, 2010 6:02 pm

    […] little over a week ago, she posted on her personal blog, and some comment drama led to her posting a follow-up. (For those curious, I do have permission to link—I hadn’t originally, but she commented and […]

  3. Tweets that mention Rape in Video Games: Part Duex at In a state of thixotropy -- Topsy.com on September 29, 2010 9:41 pm

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Katie, NonConNeko. NonConNeko said: RT @brinstar: Good post about the casual use of the word "rape" in gaming and its potential impact on friends people play with: http://bit.ly/bru6Er […]

  4. Manna on October 7, 2010 9:37 pm

    I just wanted to say thank you for posting this. It brought tears to my eyes. I hope that people read and become more understanding and sympathetic because of this.

  5. Michael on October 10, 2010 9:21 am

    While I personally would not use the word rape to describe how I expected a group to perform in a raid, most likely the player was not intending for his use of the word rape to be taken in a sexual context. Rape can also mean “To rob of goods by force, especially in time of war”. This definition of rape certainly fits the situation that your group was in at the time. It is a time of war, where your group\raid is doing battle with the forces of the Lich King. All so that you can acquire the goods, aka armor and items, that your opponent has in their possession. So while I personally would choose to use another term to describe it, I doubt that the player was intending to convey a sexual crime by his use of the word rape. Now if the example you gave was of someone joking or making fun of an actual sexual crime then there is no excuse for that type of behavior and I would kick the person from the raid on the spot.

    Personally when I have been in raids where another player uses the term rape, I whisper the player and ask them not to use the word anymore. I explain to them how their use of the word could make other players feel uncomfortable. If they are even a half way decent person then chances are they will think twice about using rape to describe their actions in future groupings with other players. If they ignore me and continue to use the term even after I expressed how I feel, then I simply put the person on my ignore list.

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