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.