Skepticism

Rape Game

The internet is abuzz today with news that in Japan, you can get a game, Rapelay, for your PC in which the main character carries out rapes. That seems to be pretty much the entire game, and the accompanying moral outrage is interesting.

This boingboing article has alleged footage of the game, which I’ve watched, and it doesn’t show any rape, just some kissing-and-running away. There are no screenshots of any rape, and the only evidence that the game contains rape is in descriptions online. I haven’t seen any testimony from anyone who has played the game, and indeed the story broke in the Belfast Telegraph with reference to MP Keith Vaz, who has a vested interest in finding evidence that British kids are playing rape sims because he claimed such in parliment, and was roundly shouted down. Apparently the game was available briefly on amazon, there is an archived page (although it could be fake I suppose) linked in the Belfast Telegraph coverage.

Japan has one of the lowest rape statistics in the world, some twenty times lower than the USA. Is this because there is less rape, or because it’s not reported? Japan has low crime rates generally, so I would hazard it’s a bit of both. If it is indeed a country that has produced a rape simulation game, where is the evidence that such a game is harmful? It’s certainly tasteless, but I don’t find rape any worse a crime than the violent assaults and murders the average GTA game asks players to commit. In fact, I will stick my neck out and say on balance, I’d rather be raped than murdered (I’d much rather neither but you know what I mean), although that is a ridiculously simplistic way of looking at it. But this is the gaming world, not the real world, so if we’re saying it’s OK to maim and kill in a game, why is it not OK to rape in a game? Is raping worse than deliberately driving your car into a pedestrian? Remember, we’re not talking real life here, we’re talking simulation.

I don’t believe there is any evidence linking in-game crime to any increase in real-life crime. Given the Japan rape statistics and what must be a relatively small demand for a rape sim, I can’t see how this is worse than the sort of thing you can buy in any USA or UK game store. The difference is, you can’t buy this game here, and if it’s true that amazon’s quality control slipped for a moment and has since been rectified, that certainly isn’t a reflection on any potential demand, and despite several generations’ penchant for shooting game characters in the head or beating them with a baseball bat, I seriously doubt many of those gamers are going to want Rapelay. Perhaps what we really should be worried about is the arbitrary line we’ve drawn between acceptable in-game crime and ‘oh that’s just wrong’. Moral outrage is not consistent, but if simulated rape is not OK then neither is simulated whatever-onscreen-crime-you’ll-commit-this-weekend. Myself, I’m shooting soldiers in the head with my sniper in Valkyria Chronicles.

Tags

Related Articles

107 Comments

  1. Maybe it’s because the subject of rape (and even more so, the undelying subjects of sex, violence and domination) are such “hot button” topics?
    If nothing else, I think that it just goes to show that there’s no accounting for taste.

  2. Yuk! I guess if sex is good and violence is good than together…they are great?
    Agreeing with Question….no taste…soooo does this mean I can create a game of “rape victim revenge sim”. You know…I get to stalk guys who’ve raped moms on subways and virgin school girls? Freedom of speech!

  3. QA, that may be it. How did rape get to be a hot button topic but murder not?

    I agree there’s no accounting for taste, for example I can’t for the life of me understand why anyone would want to play GTAIV. My housemate has it and I find it disturbing.

    I like my games with as little ‘reality’ as possible (JRPG mostly). Valkyria Chronicles is a war sim that looks about as much like war as an orgy in a hot tub. Plus it has magic and stuff. I like games to escape from reality, not simulate it. But, other people enjoy the murders and beatings or pretending they’re in the trenches of WWI, and I don’t think any of those people are going to go out and commit any real crimes any time soon. Not sure why a rape sim is worse than those. I wouldn’t want to play it but I don’t want to shoot a pornstar in the leg either, as GTAIV requires.

  4. And some women would rather be murdered than rape. It all depends on the person. (I, myself, would rather get raped, but there are women who have been raped and have wished they were not kept alive after the attack.)

    And this is offensive. How does a game about rape harm people? Oh, I don’t know, by making rape seem funny and blasé and not a big deal? By continuing the rape culture in which we live?

    I mean, I’m not going to say it should be illegal (in the US), but that doesn’t mean it’s not offensive and wrong.

  5. @tkingdoll: Rape is more prevalent than murder, for one. It’s used as a way to exert power over women and to keep women down as a whole. It’s not about sex (usually) but about power.

    (And of course, men can be raped, too, but it’s not as common.)

  6. @marilove: In real life, yes, but in a game, there is no difference. There are as many murders or assaults in a war or gangster game than there are rapes in Rapelay, I’d wager (if indeed the game exists as reported). Given there’s no evidence that game crime leads to real crime, why is game rape more offensive than game murder?

  7. My guess as to why it *feels* worse to have a rape game than say, a murder game? Because people who are raped are still around to have a game like this impact them. Murder victims, not so much. Nobody can come back and say “I was murdered, it was a terrible thing and this game brings back horrific memories and allows people to pretend they can commit the horrific act that I’m a victim of.” Rape victims are still around and it’s a slap in their faces.

    But is one better or worse than the other, in a moral vaccuum? I’m not sure.

  8. I’ve long said that video games are an outlet for pretending to do things that are socially unacceptable (killing, street racing, breeding piñatas, rolling everything you see into a giant ball), I guess rape is no different.

    But rape is not about having sex, it’s about having control and inflicting pain and fear. I don’t see how a game can simulate that.

    In any case I do find it distasteful and I’m glad to hear that Amazon is not willing to support such a game, if it in fact exists.

    Personally I suspect that this MP from “Ire land” probably got caught up in the furor over Mass Effect and it being described as a sex simulator that is in effect used to simulate rape.

  9. @Masala Skeptic: That is a good point, although there are the families of murder victims (myself being one of them) who feel the impact of games like GTA. But as marilove says, there’s a lot more rape than murder so perhaps it is just that. It’s very likely that we all know someone who has been touched by rape.

    Had I been raped, I’d undoubtedly feel sick at the idea of this game, as I feel sick at the killings in GTA, but I don’t suggest that GTA shouldn’t be available. I don’t think many people would want to play Rapelay, but I don’t classify it any differently in my head to any other crime game.

  10. Generally speaking, I agree with you when it comes to drawing a line between fiction and reality in games (or films, or music, or whatever). If it came down to a free speech argument, I would definitely argue that this game has a right to exist. But I would also hold the personal opinion that I wouldn’t want anything to do with it. For the record, I don’t really like GTA type games, either.

    There’s a couple of things here, the first being that rape is a much more gender-based crime than murder. Of course men are raped, and it’s just as horrible, but the understanding in our culture is that female rapes number far more than male. I think that’s why a depiction of rape is charged with much more baggage than another crime might be, and why it’s more troubling to women.

    Also, from what I understand, the lower rates of rape incidence in Japan could due not just a little but quite a bit to non-reporting. I know many women, both native Japanese and from several Western countries, who have lived in Japan, and I’ve been told it is not really a very friendly place for single women. One of my best friends, who has lived there for the past few years, once had a break-in scare, and said it wouldn’t even be worth going to the police for protection or anything, because the prevailing opinion is that single women deserve what they get. Of course this is anecdotal, but I’m much more inclined to think the low rape rate there is due to lack of reporting, not necessarily lack of rapes. How much any of that has to do with this particular game is debatable, but I thought I’d just mention it.

  11. @tkingdoll: Yeah, I’d be uncomfortable making it illegal, but I’d fully support any company (such as Amazon) for not wanting to sell it.

    The violence in GTA is just different. Sexual violence is just different. This is why a lot of police forces have completely seperate departments for sex crimes. A lot of the time, a murder ocurrs because someone has a personal vendetta against that person, not so much because they think women are less than them and therefore they can exert power over women by raping them. Also, that’s why hate crimes exist: Because that added motivation makes it different. Worse, “in a moral vaccuum” as someone mentioned? Maybe not, but certainly different.

  12. @Jen: “because the prevailing opinion is that single women deserve what they get.”

    And there is this. When women are raped, the general consensus is that “they deserved it”. The fact that our own military is JUST NOW taking rapes within our military seriously only solidifies that.

  13. @bug_girl: I’m so sorry to hear that. :-(

    @tkingdoll:
    Just guessing here, not even a hypothesis. Maybe because the topic of murder is so common in the culture, so we accept it more even though it’s terrible? Perhaps it’s because Western society has so many hangups about sex that those emotions cross over to the topic of rape? I think Masala brings out some very good points above. Murder victims generally don’t show up later, except in zombie movies. ;-)

    I’m hoping that this whole topic is over someone’s hoax or sick idea of a joke. Has anyone been able to confirm that the game exists and really is what the accusers say it is?

  14. If this game really goes include rape, then that’s pretty offensive. But no more offensive than plenty of other things in games already. Hell, there may even be an argument that it’s good to allow the people who would wish to play such a game to do so rather than resort to real world violence…though most of the studies in that area have been pretty inclusive. So long as it’s not actually encouraging moving the action to the real world, I have to say “meh”.

  15. @PrimevilKneivel:

    Honestly, if rape “is not about having sex”, then to me that seems like one less reason to treat it differently than any other violent crime. Some would define violence as “the act of modifying and/or inflicting pain upon the human body in order to express or impose power differentials” (Avalos, Fighting Words, p. 19). If we rhetorically minimize the dimension in which rape differs from other violent acts — the fact that, to put it crudely, the sexual organs are at work — then the status of rape becomes closer to that of other forms of violence. By stating that rape is largely about power, we force ourselves to look elsewhere for a justification to feel more outraged over simulated rape than over simulated non-sexual assault and battery.

    @marilove:

    It’s used as a way to exert power over women and to keep women down as a whole. It’s not about sex (usually) but about power.

    Suppose a group of white-supremacist game programmers made a simulation wherein the player controls a policeman avatar who goes around and beats up virtual characters designed to look like members of ethnic minorities. The game would be fulfilling its creators’ fantasies of exerting power over those minorities and keeping them down as a whole. I ask the following as a non-rhetorical question: would this hypothetical game elicit the same degree and kind of outrage as the as-yet-unconfirmed Rapelay?

  16. Marilove touches a bit of it by saying that rape brings women down as a whole…
    The game is real where woo is huge…like the Congo where advancing troops are told that they have magic on them to win the battle …but the only way to make it work is to rape the women in the villages they invade. So….they do. And rape means with every possible weapon or object. Many of those women said in the interviews I watched…that they wished they were dead.But I still don’t know that we will create rapists or murderers from video games….Maybe they already are such.

  17. @Jen: Thanks for that perspective, it does appear to be as you say, anecdotally (at least according to this study http://74.125.77.132/search?q=cache:Vxm1Aa5DHZUJ:www.aic.gov.au/publications/proceedings/27/dussich.pdf+report+rape+japan&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=11&gl=uk ) although that link doesn’t contain figures about how under-reported rape is in Japan, it does give some insight into the cultural norms that might result in a game like this existing.

    Which is the interesting part: if Japanese culture has, unfortunately, found itself in a position where rape is ‘ok’ enough for there to be a game about it, how is that different to the murder-and-assault games of the West? It’s just as damning on us that we accept simulated killing as it is on Japan that there is demand for rape games.

  18. Would a game that only had a particular race/nationality killed be more shocking than one that did indiscriminate killing? Yes, it would. Or a game that focused on murdering only men? Yes, it would be very shocking. Do any of these ‘killing’ games allow the killing of babies/children? (I honestly don’t know as I don’t play video games at all). I would find that shocking.

    If both genders could be raped in the game, it still would be horrid, but just a little less so.

    One aspect why rape is so tough to cope with is because of the way society had traditionally regarded it, as it being the fault of the woman, as in resulting in a ‘sullied’ woman that was more or less an social outcast, as not being taken seriously, being denied safe, affordable abortions, and access to medical care. In other words, women are twice raped. However, murder, for the most part, is taken very seriously. So it seems more fittingly to play at murder than rape, because in our minds we know that we can’t get away with murder while with rape many still can.

  19. @Logicel:

    You said it better than I could!

    One aspect why rape is so tough to cope with is because of the way society had traditionally regarded it, as it being the fault of the woman, as in resulting in a ’sullied’ woman that was more or less an social outcast, as not being taken seriously, being denied safe, affordable abortions, and access to medical care. In other words, women are twice raped. However, murder, for the most part, is taken very seriously. So it seems more fittingly to play at murder than rape, because in our minds we know that we can’t get away with murder while with rape many still can.

    EVERYONE thinks murder is wrong (aside from, say, Dahmer-like psychos), while even “nromal” people don’t always think rape is wrong. Or they justify it and say, “Well, if she hadn’t been wearing that/wasn’t drinking/wasn’t at that party, she wouldn’t have been raped!” But if someone is murdered, they don’t say, “Well, if he/she hadn’t been there, maybe he/she would still be alive!”

    Our society DOES NOT justify murder. Our society CONSTANTLY justifies rape.

  20. @PrimevilKneivel:

    I’ve long said that video games are an outlet for pretending to do things that are socially unacceptable (killing, street racing, breeding piñatas, rolling everything you see into a giant ball), I guess rape is no different.

    Thanks for that… you found a way to make me laugh despite the tone of the rest of the thread!

    COTW NOM for you! :)

  21. @Logicel: That’s certainly the case in war sims. You absolutely do only kill one other nationality. Even ‘cute’ war sims like Valkyria Chronicles has ‘take that Imperialist scum’ in it. Reds kill blues. Most of the gang-related crimes in games like GTA are against men.

    Ever played that game in your car where you see an old lady and yell “ten points!”? The idea being you get more points the worse the hit-and-run is. You don’t actually drive into the old lady.

    I agree with you about the reasons real rape is so hard to cope with, but still I don’t see why that makes simulated rape in a game any worse than any other simulated crime. The point is that this isn’t real life, and most men are not rapists any more than they’re murderers, and the simulation of such acts most likely won’t change that.

    It does raise the question ‘why would you want to simulate rape’ but as I ask in my post, why would you want to simulate murder or a kneecapping?

  22. Society does justify murder – ever see the headlines when prostitutes are murdered? Many people have a ‘well they asked for it, risk of the game, worthless lives anyway’ attitude.

    And what is invading Iraq if not justified murder?

  23. @tkingdoll: “The point is that this isn’t real life, and most men are not rapists any more than they’re murderers, and the simulation of such acts most likely won’t change that.”

    I think the point is that, in real life, even those who don’t rape still justify rape.

    Note that most victims are raped by people they know, not by strangers. “Date rape” is especially common. Why? Because our culture justifies rape, saying that women “deserve it” or “are asking for it” — and so even otherwise “normal” man who wouldn’t run over an old lady or rob a bank, will think that raping the woman they went out on a date with who is wearing a short skirt and flirting with him all night “because she clearly wanted it! She was sitting on my lap and wasn’t wearing underwear, after all!”

  24. @Expatria: I was a little hesitant about it, I didn’t want to appear as if I don’t take rape seriously.

    On the other hand though I have trouble taking videogames seriously, they are just pure fantasy. I don’t really care about game content but I do care about how people view that content.

    A rape game is just a game, a rape game enthusiast however is creep IMO.

  25. @marilove: It’s the same for homeless people or junkies or other ‘worthless’ members of society though. I’m not sure it’s as simple as being down to sex, I’d say that drug abuse and other factors are as important.

    “I think the point is that, in real life, even those who don’t rape still justify rape.”

    That’s a bit of a generalisation. Perhaps the sort of people who justify the murder of a junkie or a prison inmate might justify rape, but I don’t believe that’s most people. I’d be interested to see statistics on public belief of when rape is justified, versus when murder is justified. I suspect you’d see a lot more of the latter, particularly if you factor in people who believe in the death penalty, people who support wars, etc.

  26. I think Marilove hit it when she said this:

    And this is offensive. How does a game about rape harm people? Oh, I don’t know, by making rape seem funny and blasé and not a big deal? By continuing the rape culture in which we live?

    I suspect that murder is seen as much more obviously wrong than rape, and therefore video games depicting it are less likely to affect kids’ views on the act. Rape, however, gets pushed into a grey area in which otherwise rational people consider it “okay” if the victim is drunk, or promiscuous, or dressed provocatively. So, a game in which rape is treated as a normal, good thing could potentially have an impact on the way boys view women – namely, as property as opposed to humans who can make their own decisions.

  27. Maybe I live in a bubble but I don’t see any evidence that we live in a ‘rape culture’. I think rape is under-reported, yes, and under-prosecuted (but that is also to do with other factors like alcohol or witnesses). Maybe it’s different in the USA.

  28. So, I guess all the initial fuss about this game is a result of it being sold on Amazon? Because crap like this has been available at jlist.com forever.

    In fact, this particular piece of sh*t was “reviewed” on somethingawful.com two years ago. So it’s been available at least that long.

    Sadly, this sort of thing is not new.

  29. @Rebecca:

    If I grant the premise that rape is somehow justified by most people (and call me optimistic, but I’m not sure I do), then I could maybe see why the enlightened minority might have a stronger reaction to a rape game than to GTA. That doesn’t seem to be the case, though. The strong aversion to such a game seems to cover a really wide group of people. Those average folks who would comprise the “culture of rape” seem to be very likely to abhor such a game.

    Or maybe I’m just dramatically oversimplifying human psychology…

  30. @Rebecca: Replace the word ‘rape’ in marilove’s with ‘murder’. I don’t see the difference. The people usually campaigning against violent games are families of murder victims. There are drive-by shootings daily in the USA. There isn’t as much murder as rape, yes, but culture includes both. When a teenage gang member gets killed, you don’t hear about it, let alone offer up much sympathy.

  31. @marilove: “EVERYONE thinks murder is wrong (aside from, say, Dahmer-like psychos), while even “nromal” people don’t always think rape is wrong. Or they justify it and say, “Well, if she hadn’t been wearing that/wasn’t drinking/wasn’t at that party, she wouldn’t have been raped!”

    I guess I’ll play devil’s advocate here and point out that your example is used in many cases of “date rape,” in which the incidents are more likely to be about sex rather than power. I’m not justifying it at all, only pointing out that rape covers a whole range, from a person that breaks into an old lady’s house with the intent to rape her (power thing) and the college co-eds that get drunked up by their male counterparts with the specific intent to reduce resistance to sexual advances (sex thing). On that note, if you CANNOT give consent when you are drunk (legally) how many men have been raped by the same definition?

  32. With the increasing number of studies I’ve seen about the effect on young children of watching violent television I’m also becoming more concerned about the effects of violent video games on those same children. I definitely think this is inappropriate for the younglings, and I think it could be worse than most violent games in the emotional distress implied by rape. Torturing people in a game would disturb me more than the occasional violent sprees I go on in fallout 3, for example because torture is about the suffering of others. I think it’s hard to make a good reason why this is unacceptable and GTA is, though.

  33. @tkingdoll:

    What is war but “justified” murder on the grand scale?

    (The statistician Lewis Fry Richardson once tabulated the magnitudes of all the wars he could find in the historical record. He calculated how long you’d have to wait on average for a war which killed N people. When he extrapolated this waiting-time curve down to N = 1, the value he got roughly matched that for the average time between murders. Creepy, ain’t it?)

    @Rebecca:

    Rape, however, gets pushed into a grey area in which otherwise rational people consider it “okay” if the victim is drunk, or promiscuous, or dressed provocatively.

    These “otherwise rational people” sound like seriously fucked-up human beings.

  34. @tkingdoll: “if Japanese culture has, unfortunately, found itself in a position where rape is ‘ok’ enough for there to be a game about it, how is that different to the murder-and-assault games of the West? ”

    In Japanese culture most of the things are ‘ok’ as long as they are kept in private. They seem to think it’s better to hide the nasty stuff and keep the public picture of the country clean than to bring the filth to the top. It’s all about shame. If this game were to become a big, mainstream thing, there’s a big chance it would be banned.

    I’m not at all surprised that there’s is a rape simulation game. There is so much hentai in Japan about raping underaged kids that this seems mild.

    As long as people realize the difference between a virtual and the real world I’m fine with it.

  35. @tkingdoll:

    We were just talking about this game at work two days ago! It’s SO ridiculous!

    And if you’d like to know how we got onto the subject, it started when we were talking about the various massage applications on the iPhone which essentially turn it into a vibrator. I questioned why no one had ever created a vibrator-shaped controller for a video game system, considering that there were (mostly unofficial) sex games made for almost every system (esp. in Japan). My colleague then checked his Atari emulator where, sure enough, he had a copy of Custer’s Revenge.

    Yeah, I work in a pretty strange place…

  36. @marilove:
    Some in our society try to justify rape. Many, however, do not.

    I don’t buy the “She was dressed that way (or she got drunk), so she deserved it” logic any more than I buy the “Women must wear the chador or Muslim men will lose control of themselves” logic. Spare me. (To those that espouse that, I say “Try using a little grown up self-control and personal responsibility, guys.”)

    I don’t buy the “worthless person” bit, either. Who are we (as a society or as individuals) to decide who is “worthless” and who is “valuable?” I think there is a minimum human dignity that people inherently have because they are human, whether they are drug addicts, prostitutes, or anything else. They are still people and deserve to be treated as such.

    There is a big difference between thinking that someone’s conduct is perhaps unwise, and thinking that someone is “asking for it.”
    We sail into dangerous waters when we start assigning some kind of semi-arbitrary “worth” to different groups of people. How far is it from there to the ovens, gas chambers or other mass killings?

  37. @QuestionAuthority:

    I don’t buy the “She was dressed that way (or she got drunk), so she deserved it” logic any more than I buy the “Women must wear the chador or Muslim men will lose control of themselves” logic.

    I suspect that statements of the “she was asking for it” genre are ex post facto “justifications” and not wholly indicative of the date-rapist’s mind.

  38. One thing I think may be playing into this is that we take violence in games for granted a lot more than we do rape (or sex, for that matter). We’ve had violence in video games ever since Asteroids, though that was just a fight for survival against nature. After that though, we get into killing stuff. Granted, rape also goes back quite a ways, with Custer’s Revenge being the big example, but it’s not nearly so common. Notably though, Custer’s Revenge did cause a huge uproar at the time, while killing games didn’t…

    Perhaps we have to go back a bit further in gaming history. Tabletop games like Dungeons and Dragons were all about killing. Board games like chess were simulated warfare. Many sports, like boxing, are inherently violent, and essentially just fights. Even beyond our culture, violence in games is all over the place, back to gladiator matches where killing actually happened. It’s simply nothing new.

    Rape in games? That’s a new phenomena. It really just started with video games. It’s still been sparse though, so hasn’t picked up as much attention. It’s also hitting at a time of greater societal awareness, when we can realize it’s wrong in reality – unlike gladiator matches where society didn’t see a problem with them happening in reality. I think that’s a big part of the controversy around this and similar games.

  39. @Blake Stacey: Obviously you haven’t been following the brouhaha over Resident Evil 5. *

    In RE5 both infected and noninfected African men are depicted as brutish and animalistic. Also the “African” character that sidekicks to Chris is so whitewashed as to make her barely recognizable as any particular ethnicity.

    *Not written by white supremacists, no. But still…

  40. @OneHandClapping: “…the college co-eds that get drunked up by their male counterparts with the specific intent to reduce resistance to sexual advances (sex thing). “

    NOT a sex thing. Sex is a consensual act, not doing something to someone who cannot consent by making them unconscious, or refusing to let them go until they put out. It’s still about power, about a victim “giving up” what an aggressor wants, without regard to whether or not the victim wants it.

    You’ll note I used gender neutral terms here. That’s because it happens to and is perpetrated by both genders. If we think male/female rape is under-reported, I suspect the male/male or female/male rape has got that beat hands down so far as under-reporting goes.

  41. @QuestionAuthority: I agree, I just wanted to expand on the mentality that results in the justification of murder alongside rape, as I don’t believe the latter happens less than the former.

    If this game showed male rape, or indiscriminate rape of all genders and species, would it be less offensive to those who find this one so?

  42. @GeekGirlsRule: I appreciate the gender neutral terms, as I tend to think male rape goes under-reported (completely anecdotally).

    I will agree to disagree. I tend to think that a great deal of the time rape is about sex rather than power (i.e. date rape situations) but no more excusable for it. Rape is rape, no matter the reasoning.

  43. @deong: Not sure I follow you. I never suggested that most people justify rape, nor did I say that the people who do justify rape would not have a problem with this game.

    @tkingdoll: But you can’t just substitute murder for rape, because they are two different concepts that are only similar in that they are violent and illegal. The key differences are that, as you say, there are many more instances of rape, plus rape mostly affects women, plus a huge majority of the people who rape others get away with it because of the easy ability to plead the can’t-rape-a-slut defense, among others.

  44. I think I have to side with Teek and question the line that is being drawn here. In GTA, one can solicit the services of a prostitute, then shoot her dead and take the money back…and this makes the cut to be included on the acceptably offensive category while this purely hypothetical game which we don’t even really know the details of doesn’t. Whaaa?

    Death and suffering are joked about in every human culture that has ever existed, and while this is disturbing to contemplate, I don’t know that I really want it to be stopped. In fact, I think it may actually be necessary.

    Dark and violent humor is an important stress-relief valve for dealing with a dark and violent world, and I am not prepared to say that what I personally find too disturbing is some sort of absolute line.

  45. @OneHandClapping: I guess I’ll play devil’s advocate here and point out that your example is used in many cases of “date rape,” in which the incidents are more likely to be about sex rather than power.

    I have to disagree with that. The act is still about power, not sex. The perpetrator is saying ‘I’m in charge, and you’ll do as I say.’ ‘I matter, you don’t.’

  46. @mikespeir: What other sorts of games abhor you, though?

    I agree that a rape game is rather horrible to contemplate. I find that true of the content of many games freely available in UK and USA stores though. So if I am willing to accept those games as acceptable, I also have to accept the rape game, regardless of my personal feelings on the matter.

    Real rape is horrible, as is real (non-sexual) assault, and the latter is more common than the former and yet only one is OK for games. I still haven’t seen a compelling reason why this is so.

  47. My gut reaction to a rape game is that it is worse than a murder game. It distresses me greatly that I can’t figure out a rational distinction. I wonder if I have (and whether a lot of other people have) an unconscious bias toward thinking that rape is actually a worse thing to do to someone than murder is. On reflection, I am ambivalent about which would be worse, neither ever having happened to me.

    On the other hand, I’m pretty familiar with what has been (somewhat simplistically, I think) referred to as the “rape culture” that tends to justify or minimize rape. If that is truly the mainstream thought about rape, then it would contradict my first hypothesis–rape is not really that bad of a thing to do to someone because “she was probably asking for it anyway” but murder is pretty much universally considered to be a pretty mean thing to do.

    I don’t think that there is an easy way to draw a moral line that divides murder games from rape games, but I do think that the ways that people react to those games are very interesting. This article and its comments have certainly given me a lot to chew on on a Friday afternoon.

  48. I believe it is so hard to quantify because the reasons are emotional. A victim of rape goes on to live their life, for better or worse. A murder victim does not. Our emotional response is toward the victim, and in the case of rape, that response lasts a lifetime. Murder victims are somehow less so, as they no longer touch other peoples lives as they did while they lived. Their memory ends with those that knew them.

    I hope that made some kind of sense. It seemed perfectly rational in my head.

  49. @OneHandClapping: Not sure it makes much sense to me, sorry! A rape victim’s memory also ends with those who knew them. And as I said earlier, the families of murder victims would disagree with you, particularly as ‘going on to live your life’ normally when a loved one has been murdered is actually close to impossible.

  50. @tkingdoll:

    Doh! I suspected as much. Let me try again.

    A victim is raped at 18. For the rest of their life they have the potential to pass on that experience to others they meet, and as they get older they meet more people. More people are potentially touched by this living victim.

    A murder victim is murdered at 18. The only ones that live on are those families that have been affected. Their lives certainly won’t go back to “normal” and I certainly didn’t mean to imply anything to cold. However, the person that was murdered obviously no longer meets new people to pass on their knowledge of the experience.

    I have known many rape victims after the fact. I have never known a murder victim after the fact.

  51. I’ve read what I believe is a legitimate review of the game at Somethingawful.com, so I’m fairly certain that this is a real game.

    I must say I find myself quite offended by this game, or more accurately, I am offended at the game’s existence and the probable certainty that some folks are actually going to have fun playing it.

    However, I cannot for the life of me determine why I find games that involve torture and murder (of mostly men), and so forth to be any less appalling. But I do. I suspect that it is at root both a cultural- and genetics-based issue. And my personality, as defined and created by my culture and my genetics leads me to feel repelled by even the idea of a rape game. But it is an irrational response, as are most (all?) emotion-based responses.

    I think perhaps one thing that is at issue here is the fact that men and women view sex, violence, and power issues differently. And if I understand my Dawkins and my Pinker, then that’s genetics at work, not just culture. And that also goes for that too freely bandied about topic of “rape culture”.

    I think it would be an interesting study to determine root causes and factors behind different views on sex, power, and violence, and the interralation of it all. And one thing we need to keep in mind is that sex is usually a somewhat violent act in the first place: A usually constructive and beneficial form of consensual violence that we take a great deal of wholly irrational pleasure in. A broad, and perhaps too far reaching analogy, might be the pleasure/pain principle of losing a tooth when you’re a wee kid.

    @marilove said:

    Yes, male rape exists, but it’s different and no where near as common.

    I must admit to finding your frequent female chauvinism to be a tad upsetting, so please excuse me if this seems to be an attack: It’s not, but I’m feeling a wee bit edgey. Please explain why male rape is different. Also, am I correct in assuming you view male rape as somehow less nasty than female rape? If I am correct, then please explain that. And if I am not correct I sincerely apologize for my misunderstanding.

    @tkingdoll said:

    Real rape is horrible, as is real (non-sexual) assault, and the latter is more common than the former and yet only one is OK for games. I still haven’t seen a compelling reason why this is so.

    I’m with tkingdoll on this, and almost everything she has said in this post. Why do we respond to different forms of power-based violence with such wildly different reactions? We’ve got a lot of study ahead of us before we can answer this question rationally, meaningfully, and with a sense of how to deal with it all.

  52. @ marilove:
    I’ve never been raped. I’ve never raped anyone. I think the game is wrong.

    That being said, as a non-rapist and non-rapist-apologist, I take offense when people imply that I (as a man) am part of the “culture of rape” or that I “justify rape by thinking ‘she asked for it.’ ” I do not think that.

    Saying that my culture, or that a group of which I am a part (men) has a consensus that rape is acceptable is insulting.

  53. The more I try to think about it rationally, the more it occurs to me that murder deals with death. Death is a topic we all, every single breathing one of us, face. One way or another we ALL die. Maybe that makes it more “palatable” to deal with in game form than rape. Also, rape is sexual (even if the reason for it is not sexual in nature, the act itself is sexual) which adds another layer of complexity to it.

    Not everyone has to deal with rape. I am sorry that anyone has to deal with it, really.

  54. @OneHandClapping: Actually, I think that is one of the more insightful observations in this thread.

    It doesn’t provide a moral justification for our double-standard…and I don’t think there is one…but that has the ring of truth on the psychological reaction I feel.

    Well done.

  55. This topic really bothers me, which is fair given that the concept of rape bothers me. But nature of rape aside, I get upset by the notion that people think as a society we justify rape.

    Sorry, I just don’t see it.

    Now I’m not claiming that rape isn’t accepted by some people, it is certainly. By too many in fact and in some sub cultures even on a group level, but that’s a far cry from our society justifying it.

    When was the last time you heard a person say “she did what!! I’m going to rape her!”? But replace rape with kill and you have a very common exclamation, one that is even socially acceptable in the workplace. In fact the most common time you hear people justify murder (on a personal level) is in retaliation to a rape (don’t know I’d hold it against someone for killing the person that raped their daughter/sister/wife).

    I can’t think of a single part of our culture that points to rape as acceptable. That doesn’t mean there isn’t one but it does speak to its influence and acceptance.

    What I do think is we have a problem with the understanding of what constitutes rape. I agree that there are too many that think things like promiscuity or intoxication changes the game. And they are most certainly wrong but does that mean they think rape is acceptable? I’m not sure.

    I may be wearing my rose coloured glasses on this one and I’ve certainly been pondering it way too much lately. I spent 3 weeks in January on the jury for a rape trial. It was a case of a girl that got way too drunk and protested too late. There was no one on the jury that saw that as an excuse, and the defense didn’t bother trying to claim she might have agreed to it.

    For me personally, the idea that we accept it as a society is an extraordinary claim and as such it’s going to take a lot to convince me otherwise. I hope I’m not wrong because that would be very sad indeed.

  56. Nice hot button topic to pick there.

    I guess I thought the original question was “Why is a rape game *more* offensive than a murder game?” and there were a few people (like AttorneyAdam) that said basically the same thing I’m thinking “Good question, I don’t know. If you think logically they both are wrong maybe equally so but the rape game just *feels* more wrong”.

    Maybe games like Call of Duty are acceptable because the combatants have all implicitly agreed to the situation. Everyone has made the moral choice to be involved. So if I pop your helmet off while camped behind a wood pile, you have “deserved” it because you’ve agreed to be in combat. Where the line gets fuzzier is in games like Grand Theft Auto where you have the drug dealers, car thiefs, cops and prostitutes who have all “chosen” to be there so you are free to do as you please but at the same time you are mixing in with innocent victims but they are largely not involved in the gameplay unless you seek it out and you know you are crossing a line from “a bad person doing bad things to bad people” to ” a bad person doing bad things to good people”. But the context of the game desensitizes you a bit to the whole thing. Juxtapose* those game situations with a rape game in which there is no way to implicitly “agree” to be raped and there’s no way to even tacitly justify that the rape sim you are playing could be acceptable in anyway.

    As for this whole we live in a rape culture crap. If we lived in a rape culture wouldn’t a rape game by definition be more acceptable. If it’s causing such a fuss wouldn’t that be evidence that we actually *don’t* live in a rape culture?

    There are some very broad strokes being painted about men here that I think are derailing the conversation. Maybe my impression of what the original question was?

    I’m rambling, Skep! Out!

    *bonus word score

  57. @PrimevilKneivel

    “It was a case of a girl that got way too drunk and protested too late.”

    Uh Oh!!! Too late?

    “There was no one on the jury that saw that as an excuse, and the defense didn’t bother trying to claim she might have agreed to it.”

    Oh, nice save, you almost got shivved in the parking lot.

  58. What are we calling a “murder game”? Any game where people die? If so, I don’t agree. If you’re goal is to save the world or something, killing the “bad guys” doesn’t seem so bad. On the other hand, if we’re talking about games where you hunt people down and kill them just for the rush, really, I don’t see the need to rate such a game as better or worse than a rape game. Both are reprehensible. I can’t imagine the mentality of someone who would enjoy either one–and I’m glad I can’t.

  59. This discussion has been very good. For the record, I agree with tkingdoll in almost all respects. While I may not have written as well or certainly as diplomatically, many of the posts contain content I would have liked to convey.

    Y_S_G

  60. @Skeptigator: She blacked out and came to mid-coitus. Then she said stop as opposed to refusing before the act began. That’s what I meant by too late.

    After judging the case for three weeks I’m unable to ponder whether things would have been different had she protested earlier. I had to evaluate what was shown to me and not extrapolate from it, that’s a hard ball to stop once you get it rolling. And it’s irrelevant, She was so drunk that she was passing out and she said stop and he didn’t. That makes him guilty.

    And personally after pronouncing him guilty in front of his rather large family (who are privy to things like my full name), your suggestion that I might get shivved wasn’t the first time it’s occurred to me.

    But that too is not relevant.

  61. This is a bit of a cliche but; I think one thing that really makes people so disgusted of rape (more so than assault or murder) is that sex is mostly a beautiful and special thing. It’s two people coming together, it shows trust and love, a special bonding, and when it comes procreation it is literally the act of two people coming together and sharing a piece of themselves to make another person. It can also be an act of two people engaging there basic animal instincts and having a wild, hot, sexy time. So to recap, sex is special.

    What rape does is take that very special thing, an act of positive emotions and turn it into a horrific act of fear, and physical and emotional pain. Maybe it’s the contrast of what sex is suppose to be and what it gets turned into that makes rape so disgusting.

    Logically I think your right in that maybe we shouldn’t see them differently. But we’re not all running off of logic all the time. And sex (and the abuse of it) is largely emotional.

  62. @skepticalhippie: I suspect that breathing (and the abuse of it) has an emotional appeal as well.

    (I started out with something like the following only because it was the most convenient post- similar mappings can be made from many of the previous posts and no disrepect intended:)

    This is a bit of a cliche; I think one thing that really makes people so disgusted of murder is that living is mostly a beautiful and special thing…

    From my vantage point, the arguments distinguishing the various serious social crimes are not convincing. But there have been some very good points made along the way.

    Y_S_G

  63. Violence is at times justifiable and warranted. There are times when good people have to do horrible things. to protect their family, their country, themselves, what have you. Violence in games is often about that concept. We’re used to that concept. Stretch it a bit further and let people make the choice to “murder” or not seems like a somewhat disturbing, but not wholly unimaginable extension of the other kind of violence.

    Rape, however, is never justified. There is no situation that has existed or ever will exist in which the raping of one person by another could in anyway have justification. We all – even those accused of “justifying” rape – understand this. Rape takes premeditation in all instances, is always avoidable, always evil. This distinction is key. Simulating rape for pleasure… I can’t finish that sentence.

    As a side note, the insinuation that my particular set of genitals makes me in any way, shape, fashion or form an even cursory member of a “society of rape” is flat wrong.

    Oh and in reference to somebody’s earlier comment, the game Bioshock actually did give the option to strangle little girls. It was infamous on some level for this.

  64. The psychology of violence is a pretty under-explored field, but what we do know suggests a cause for why rape makes us more uncomfortable than the ten virtual terrorists I capped this morning. At least in combat, the amount of trauma people experience when assaulted is directly connected to the perception of hate and persecution they receive, and the trauma experienced by attackers is related to that same perception by those on the receiving end of their violence. Civilians wounded by aerial bombardment, for instance, rarely experience PTSD, nor do pilots responsible for dropping them, but those same wounds sustained in a knife fight generally produce psychological scars on both sides.

    I think rape is probably more upsetting for the same reasons-and I don’t think that’s necessarily an irrational impulse. Shooting someone with a gun-to remove an obstacle, to defend oneself, whatever- simply necessitates that, for the duration of a trigger pull, you don’t want a person to be around, to put it somewhat coldly. The class of person you can imagine doing that, and having it done to, is far different than a rape- with it’s protracted action, long-term production of suffering on one end and wholly selfish production of sexual pleasure on the other, indicates malice of another order to a victim on one hand and a person capable of it on the other. Just ponder for a sec-it’s not hard, probably, to conceive of a situation where you would have cause to discharge a firearm and end a life, defensively, or in pursuit of an ideal, or whatever, and still be regarded as a good person. Rape doesn’t exist in that same headspace.

  65. Hello, everyone at Skepchick!! I’m Fuzzy, and I’ve been a long time reader but this is my first time commenting. I’m a very shy person so there have been many times before that I thought about commenting but didn’t… but when I saw this post I REALLY had to comment.

    First, I’m a woman in my mid 20’s, been living in the US for the last 14 years, but spent all the years before that in Japan. I still have family back in Japan, and I am fluent in both Japanese and English. So when I saw the information on this game I had to go and check it out myself to make sure it’s not a hoax or something. This is what I found.

    The game Rapelay came out for the PC on April 2006. The publisher is a game company called “ILLUSION” (homepage at http://www.illusion.jp) that makes many other “adult” games. The game’s story is about rape and revenge. You play a man who was caught doing indecent acts on a train by a girl, and sent to jail. Your father is someone with some authority and able to get you out of jail. Now, your plan is to go and rape that girl that sent you to jail, but first you will go after her younger sister and her mother. There are MANY choices on how you can carry out your plans, including enlisting your male friends to help rape the women. You can also get them pregnant, and “force” them to have a child. You can also humiliate them to the point that they will become you “sex slaves”. There are 2 possible endings to the game, the Black Ending and the Red Ending. To get to the Black Ending you need to get one of the women pregnant, have her carry the child to term, and the past of your main character will be revealed. To get the Red Ending you need to either: 1) have the sister or mother pregnant and the girl you are targeting not be your “sex slave” or 2) get the target girl pregnant. In this ending she will kill you out of revenge, but she will be seen murdering you and she will get caught. All this information is available in Japanese on the game’s official website.

    A search on the internet will show that there are plenty of “adult” games available in Japanese. Some of them are in the “romantic” genre, which I have played before but didn’t like it because it had a view of relationships and sex that I just couldn’t follow. Then there are the “rape” genre games, like this one. I’ve never played those before because the packaging and the stuff I find about them on the game’s websites just turn me off.

    I don’t know if I like the idea of games like this. I don’t believe that game violence leads to real violence unless the player was disturbed in the first place. But I don’t play GTA because I don’t get any pleasure from playing those games. And these rape games just creep me out.

  66. @YourSkepticalGuy: “I suspect that breathing (and the abuse of it) has an emotional appeal as well.”

    Really? I see breathing as more of a practical matter then something that’s as beautiful and poetic as sex, I wish I could diffuse oxygen trough my skin, that would be awesome. Here I am day in and day out, contracting and relaxing my diaphragm like a sucker.

    I admitted that it doesn’t make sense for people to be o.k with killing games and be repulsed by a game of rape, if you break it down and look at things logically. But my point was more of an explanation of the gut reaction, that’s all.

    Also I like it when people tear down my ideas so no offense taken. If I couldn’t defend my point then I should have it.

  67. I left my thoughts about the topic higher up, so I won’t repeat them, but I wanted to say that this discussion is one of the most interesting things I’ve read lately and has caused me to see some things from new angles. Good job skeptics!

  68. Why are “rape games” more offensive than “murder games”?
    Well… we don´t masturbate to murder fantasies, do we? (unless we have HUGE problems…)
    But c’mon, guys… (it’s not like I suggest you will ever act it out live, though)!

  69. It just crossed my mind how some “murder games” are seen differently than others. Take any mainstream shooter game and there’s not much of a outcry against it. But after one of the school shootings in US some guys made a small independent game, which take place in the same school. Player’s job was to plan and commit the school shooting.

    Many people got angry about this, much more than any other “murder game”. It could be just that it was too early, but maybe there was some other reason behind the outrage. The killing targets in the game represented innocent people who really didn’t choose to be there during the shooting. This can’t be said about soldiers and even prostitus might in a grayish area, I don’t know.

    Many people also praised the game despite it’s offensive, tasteless and creepy concept. They thought it was a horrible game, but still an important one. It was testing the boundaries of games and so on.

    On a different note, I think completely random beatings for no apparent reason are worse than rape. I don’t really know why. There’s just something more disturbing for me about the idea that someone would be merely walking on a street and deciding that he/she will assault and completely and brutally beat the next random person who walks towards him/her senseless to a condition where the victim can’t physically live a normal life at all anymore. Especially since these acts are many times explained by “it’s just fun!” or “they are only turists!” or similar. And then a smug smile and zero regrets.

    It’s very close to rape, but.. I don’t know. And I don’t wish to think this anymore right now. It’s 4:30am now and someone just stole my girlfriend’s wallet. She’s travelling abroad alone. Damn it.

  70. @Fuzzy Kitty: What’s your impression about the rate of under reporting rape in Japan mentioned in earlier comments?

    Concerning the U.S. culture of rape, I remember a survey done about 20 years ago of junior high school students that said 70% of the boys thought it was ok to force a girl to have sex if you bought her dinner, 80% thought if a “sports hero” raped a girl he should have to go to prison because he is a “sports hero”, and 58% said forcing a girl to have sex was not the same as rape!

  71. Well I’ve been reading skepchick for a year and a half and I guess I’ll try walking into this…..

    First off were do i come from on this. I’m a guy in his early twenties and a couple weeks ago some people on the pregnancy fetish site I moderate brought up this game. Since some people were interested I pirated the game.

    I’ve only played it a bit but I can confirm that there is sexual assault and the basic plot mentioned above is indeed true. I have very little reason to think that the rest of the game doesn’t live up to the hype. I did find it poorly designed, offensive, poorly written and a rather hideous example of a game on all counts.

    On the ethics of such a game I personally fall into the group who are don’t see a huge difference between this and the murder and mayham committed in other games. I’ll just straigh up admit it I’ve had some rape fantasies both of being raped and of raping. At the same time I think that rape is a horrible crime and would not want to take on either of those roles in real life just like I wouldn’t want to engage in any of the acts of murder committed in other video games. Despite my feeling on the subject I do for the most part agree with much of the criticism of the medias portrayal of rape. My whole feelings on the subject are very convoluted.

    The game is probably quite offensive to rape victims as well as myself (I am happy that in the end the ass hat main character dies) but at the same time I’m not horribly upset with the existance of this game. I think that game developers should be able to take the same liberties to create games on any subject and as offensive as they want.

    Well my train of though has derailed and my first comment has probably made a poor impression on everyone here. I guess I just wanted to come forward…. and I guess confirm all the negative opinions you probably have of people who have played this game… guess I’ll go back to lurking.

  72. @mikespeir: mikespeir, there are plenty of men and indeed women who masturbate to rape fantasies. There are also plenty of men and women who act out rape fantasies in the safety of their relationships, even going as far as ‘breaking in’ to their own homes. Some people indulge in bondage, safe words, S&M.

    Masturbation is the tip of the ‘rape fantasy’ iceberg. But that’s not the same as ACTUAL rape, where there is no consent, and suggesting that any of those people would carry out actual rape probably seems daft, right? Tis the same with games, they are playing out fantasies of being a soldier, a mafia member, a Sith Lord, or indeed a rapist. I don’t believe it’s a reflection on actual desires or actions, and it’s the real-life counterparts I dislike. Fantasy is just that.

    Fuzzykitty, thanks for your post and the research!

  73. @Chew: I think I can second the previous post about under reporting of rape in Japan. I think it comes from the question of “is it really a crime?” That really discourages women from stepping forward. Although there have been steps made to change this, these steps come very slowly. The Kanto area (the region around Tokyo) that I grew up at require the police to have special sex crime units with female officers to make it easier for the victims to talk to, but they tend to be underfunded. From personal experience I can say that there is too much unwanted “petting” (sexual touches) in public, especially in trains. I was a pre-teen then, looked a little older for my age, and would get touched a lot. :( It was hard to fight back for a kid, especially when people would think you are making a big deal out of nothing and just “wanting attention” when I complain.

    @GideonBanner: Thanks for sharing your viewpoint. :) When I wrote my comment I was just going off of the official website’s info, but I’ve never played the game so I wasn’t too sure I got the points right. So thanks for backing me up. :) It’s one thing to explore fetishes and fantasies (that can be fun!) but it’s a totally different thing to involve violence or an unconsenting person.

  74. I am a guy who has never raped anyone, has never been raped, and can’t imagine being able to participate in a rape fantasy no matter how much my partner wanted me to. I simply can’t turn off my empathy for how my partner feels to even play-act it, and being able to is not something I ever want to learn how to do.

    I think that rape feels worse than murder because of the things women had to do to deal with it over evolutionary time. If a raped woman got pregnant, she was left with two choices, either killing her infant, or raising that child of rape.

    It isn’t hard for me to imagine that forcing someone to make that choice is worse than killing them. It is the worst kind of torture. Kill your child, or care for and love the child of the man who raped you (instead of a child from someone who you love and who loves you).

    Women have more options now, but the reality of those options may not register cognitively enough to affect how people feel viscerally. Treating rape victims brutally, and blaming them may be a “feature”, that by inducing self-loathing allows a woman to more easily choose to kill her infant of rape or to raise that infant. Treating her brutally may mitigate her injury when she makes the choice she may be forced to make if she becomes pregnant (or may cause her to miscarry and so avoid that pain and misery). Honor killings may be a “feature” too, that by killing women because they were raped, have made “rape” as bad as murder as far as the rapist is concerned.

    To me, this emphasizes how important it is that women have control of their bodies. What makes rape feel worse than murder is the possible consequence of pregnancy. Eliminate that possibility via morning after pill and/or abortion, and rape is “only” a bad assault, not something that forces a woman to choose between two unacceptable alternatives. I think the lack of the possibility of pregnancy does make rape of guys different.

  75. I think the momentum here is gone but I guess I’ll wade in again…

    @tkingdoll
    To each their own :).

    @mikespeir
    While technically the characters in the game have no age but I would ball park the depicted ages at late teens, early 20s and mid 30s.

    But what you and really the whole post are trying to discuss is what fantasies do people have the right to access. It is my personal opinion that people should be allowed to view fictitious material that explores their fantasies what ever they might be provided that no one was hurt in the making or consuming of the product. I realise that there is the potential link between consuming the material and future action. I’m personally not very convinced of such links when it comes to violent material and violent behavior on the average member of the population (though I may have my personal biases). From this I’m honestly not sure how one can make an argument that some fantasy oriented material should be illegal based on its negative influence but other negative fantasy material is alright to distribute.

    I am willing to be swayed from this position if someone can clearly show how allowing one set of socially unacceptable fantasies (ie violent fantasies) to be freely distributed while other equally unacceptable ones are not (ie rape).

    So far I haven’t seen it here. There seems to be an equal if not greater societal culture of violence then rape. With violence being used as a solution to problems (in a positive light) in many works of fantasy. So I find the moral outrage at a few rape games on the side lines but not the hundreds of brutal and violent games in the mainstream market.

  76. Fascinating topic, good comments. To me this issue comes down to freedom of speech, the game (if it’s real, and frankly it smacks of a “sex panic” legend to me) has a right to be produced, and others have a right to ignore it. Note that the subject of rape has been used as fodder for entertainment before, including in films like “Irreversible” and Jodie Foster’s “The Accused.”

    And, of course, murder (even nonfiction murder) is constantly used as entertainment. All kinds of crimes, from murder to theft to rape, are depicted in our entertainment, and while I find the idea of a first-person action game involving rape distasteful, I don’t see a huge moral difference in fictionally depicting someone raping someone else (a man or a woman) and fictionally depicting someone killing someone else. Both are illegal and immoral acts in the real world, but if someone wants to think or fantasize or fictionally depict those acts, I don’t have a problem with it.

  77. Rape is a subject that is next to impossible to discuss as much of the time, your viewpoint (any viewpoint) will offend someone. The whole issue is strange. Rape is a common occurance in some animal species and a fairly natural thing (as is murder) but that doesn’t make it good. I suspect Marilove will accuse me of excusing it here, but I would think some of the power aspect is due to sex and societies attitudes to it as well. As a man you are told by the world around you that you should be out sleeping around and if you can’t find a willing partner you may find yourself feeling pathetic, alone and powerless. The nature of the subject means I have to insert the standard disclaimer stating that that’s no excuse. I also have a female friend who has a rape fantasy. Should she feel bad about this? If its alright for her then is it wrong for a man to have this fantasy? If a loving couple wish to act out a rape are they both bad, is one of them bad or is neither? Even asking these questions means I run the risk of being attacked, when in fact I haven’t expressed my view on any of them. Does attempting to find the motivation of a rapist count as rationalising? What if there is a rational explanation as we might expect to find in another species? What if understanding this could reduce the number of rapes? The whole thing is a minefield.
    @Marilove
    I’d like to add that I find some of your comments on various threads to be a tad un-nerving. You often refer to how badly things demean all women, or are offensive to all women. If a women doesn’t find something offensive is she now betraying her gender? Is she to be outcast from womenkind? Any statement that instructs what an entire gender must do/are is, in my opinion, a sexist statement unless it is a discussion of fact (e.g. women have XX sex chromosomes).
    Full disclosure:
    I’m male. Friends (female) have been raped and I was deeply upset by this.
    Any friend who had raped someone would be at least disowned by me, unless they were being rehabilitated etc. and my support would prevent further rape.
    I would rather be raped than murdered.

  78. More on topic, I see this as a simple numbers game. If this game causes an increase in rapes it should be banned. If it causes no change I don’t matter. If it reduces rapes (very unlikely, but conceivably possible) it should be heavily promoted. Anything that stops people having to go through rape should be done, however distasteful.
    On Louis Theroux’s trip to the cat-house (brothel) for his tv series he interviewed an adult prostitute who looked very young. She stated that if a man picked her from the line-up he was probably secretly peadophilic and she was happy about him coming to her, rather than doing something bad in the rest of the world. My opinions on this are tortured, as with the rape issue.

  79. The violence in video games usually doesn’t have that much of an impact because while you are trying to shoot the enemy, they are generally trying to kill you too. It’s balanced. It’s a game.

    The problem with this rape game is that the people you hurt are not your enemy. It’s all about brutalising a defensless victim. Psychologically that’s a lot more disturbing than two enemies duking it out.

    This is the same reason why I find GTA disturbing in parts – you can go around and beat up, shoot or run over defenseless pedestrian bystanders. It’s not as bad though because although this is something you can do, it’s not the main aim of the game as it seems to be with rapelay.

  80. Neverclear 5 wrote: “As a man you are told by the world around you that you should be out sleeping around and if you can’t find a willing partner you may find yourself feeling pathetic, alone and powerless.”

    Really? As a man, I’ve never, ever had anyone tell me this. No one has ever told me I should be sleeping around, and that if I’m not, I may find myself pathetic, alone, and powerless.

    Who’s talking to you?

  81. The voices in my head. One has a lisp. I call him midge.

    More clearly, as a young man in Britain there is an expectation. If you’re never with anyone then people wonder what’s wrong with you. Some people might find it hard to interact or whatever. People who snap often seem normal except for an inability to connect or a perceived isolation from society. If this is a general feeling then an extreme misanthropy is only to be expected. If the rejection seems to be coming from a single sex then an anger towards that specific sex may result. What I mean to say is, anger can manifest in many ways but rape seems like it would be due to anger against a specific sex. I can envision many different ways this could build up. Someone with a sexist world view might find it traumatic to be surpassed by the women He sees as inferior. Childhood trauma might result in hatred of a specific group/gender. Maybe the perpetrator is just an arsehole. My point is that attempting to find the motivation of an attacker might be one way of preventing rape and any action that could acheive this, as unseemly as it may be, should be considered. Too often rape is a subject that no-one wants to talk about and would prefer to pretend doesn’t exist or is in some way “justified ” in the ways that others such as marilove have correctly described (she was drunk, short skirt, etc.). I think this mode of thought can be particularly bad because some of the disgust of the very subject, may be translated into a perceived or real disgust towards the victim. I’m given to beleive that many rapes are not reported because the victim fears the reaction of their supossed support structure. The whole topic is painful and disturbing to talk about but I think that, in some form at least, it must be.

Leave a Reply

You May Also Enjoy

Close
Close