Episode 36: “‘I Raped You!’: Rape Culture and The Mis-Education of the Gamer”

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2 Responses

  1. Richard Jones says:

    When I see rape in a game, I think being a man, it doesn’t have quite the same emotional impact on me. For us, it just isn’t the ever present danger that it is for you. For the most part it hasn’t been the tool of social control, with prison being a notable exception. But even there, so many people believe that prison is something that happens to other people.

    Still, I wonder, for you, does it make it better if references to rape are not unexpected. I was thinking of games I’ve played recently that have had at least one reference to rape. Which as it turns out is a lot of them: LA Noire, Red Dead Redemption, Bioshock, Fallout 3 and New Vegas, Arkham City, Saints Row 3, and the entire Silent Hill series. If one wanted to avoid the mention of rape, then its presence in Red Dead Redemption would probably be an ugly surprise. So I could see why that would bother you.

    What about something like Silent Hill though? Going through each game in the series, they all contain references to rape and or severe child abuse. But, they were horror games to begin with. If one knows what they are getting in to, does that make it somewhat better?

    As an addendum, There have been a few games that did get to me. There is scene in Saints Row 3 where you find women packed in shipping containers and have to decide whether to keep them for yourself or sell them to a rival crime lord. That wasn’t funny and was kind of an ugly surprise given the silly tone of the rest of the game. They took things too far there.

  2. dr. b. says:

    Having trigger warnings (or knowing that it was coming) doesn’t make it any better in terms of reaction or reception/perception. It’s not the surprise that is the problem, it’s the fact that it is. I expect it in a lot of games, but it doesn’t stop it from giving me a visceral response when I actually encounter it in an interactive medium.

    It’s all over the fucking place lately. Look at the Tomb Raider trailer. Devs made the claim that Lara is empowered by avoiding rape, but that’s not what REALLY happens to women in that situation! Look for a coming post that follows up and addresses that 😉