The R Word

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Imrix:

axlryder:
Actually, the children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors have been shown to elicit symptoms similar to those of the individuals who went through the events, including PTSD. Obviously it's not identical to going through it, but the psychological trauma wrought on the child can be very severe.

Similar, certainly, and I have nothing but sympathy and respect for what the people who grew up at the knee of such stories must have gone through. But of equal intensity? I'm unconvinced.

Entenzahn:
The precise point at which I abandoned this ridiculous debate.

Don't be a drama queen. Mars is smaller than Jupiter, that doesn't mean Mars is small. Something can be important without rendering less important things insignificant.

point is that it's a serious emotional trigger. and you "ranking" the intensity of pain as if you have any kind of authority or credibility in that regard is absolutely ridiculous. That may be your subjective opinion, but it has no real bearing on the pain suffered by others, nor is it rooted in firsthand knowledge (unless, of course, you've been tortured, raped, almost killed several different ways, etc.). That is in response to the comment that Entenzahn was replying to, btw.

axlryder:
point is that it's a serious emotional trigger. and you "ranking" the intensity of pain as if you have any kind of authority or credibility in that regard is absolutely ridiculous. That may be your subjective opinion, but it has no real bearing on the pain suffered by others, nor is it rooted in firsthand knowledge (unless, of course, you've been tortured, raped, almost killed several different ways, etc.). That is in response to the comment that Entenzahn was replying to, btw.

Thing is, on some level I have to rank it. I can't respond to every traumatic event as if it's THE worst thing that could possibly occur. I'm open to the idea that my rankings are wrong, but I have to make them at some point or I'll have no idea how to respond to any particular incident.

Meh. I'll throw in my two cents:

Um... good luck trying to change Xbox live. I can understand where people like the author are coming from, but if you're offended by that sort of stuff you should probably just stay in your party chat and not enter game chat.

I've got to question the sanity of someone who is deeply hurt by the term 'rape' exposing themselves to Xbox live. It's a vile place, but your exposure to it is voluntary, and it is very easy to shut yourself off from what people are saying in-game. (Aside from those who are obnoxious enough to actually send you a message, in which case you can report them.)

I'm not trying to excuse that sort of behavior. What I am saying is that it isn't going to change, and at a certain point it's up to the individual to not put themselves in traumatic situations that they have the power to easily avoid. It shouldn't be that much of an issue if you actually use the tools that M$ gives you. Unlike real life, Xbox live gives you all sorts of options to block other people's speech.

So while there is every reason to criticize people who use such offensive speech, it's hardly the threat that people make it out to be. You're the one who signs in to Xbox live, you're the one who puts in the disk, you're the one who puts on the headset. Do you have a right not to be offended? No. No one has a right not to be offended.

To be perfectly honest, I can say some vile things myself... but I'm always in a party and the only people who can hear my vile jokes are my friends who enjoy them. So in the interest of fairness, if I'm going to suggest to people like the author that they should utilize one of the many resources to block communications on Xbox live, I must also suggest to those who enjoy such offensiveness that they do so within a party where they won't offend anyone. If you're actually out to offend and harass strangers then you're clearly an asshole.

This is a really tough issue to deal with. To be able to talk about it after going through the expierience must be one of the hardest things to do. Life sometimes makes me feel sick.

Very few people ever willingly talk about an expierience like this but to put it out in public like this... every respect to this guy for talking about it.

darji:

disappointed:

darji:
Take Japan for example. ITs almost normal to see pornovideos which feature rape. There are tons of games were you rape little girls in trains or school buildings. There are games and movies about rapeclubs and so on. Stuff you will never ever see in western games. Infact people arguing that these kind of openess prevents rape acts. Just look how Japan has not only one of the lowest criminal records but also less rape victims and attempts world wide.

I would say that "people [are] arguing..." is not a strong enough level of proof for a relaxing of our treatment of rape in popular media. There may be any number of other factors at play. Also, that doesn't address the issues talked about in the article, i.e. the effect of such media on victims. Assuming rape media were proven to cause a significant reduction in offending, that would have to be weighed against any undesirable consequences first. But it is something worth studying.

Actually you have crime statistics for it but people can still argue that most rape victims dont go to the police or report these crimes because shame plays a very big role in the japanese society.

As for in western games. I am just saying that you should not make it a tabootopic. people need to be aware of such things. And silence about this will not help anyone. Even the victims themself. Even if its hard for these people alking about such events will help these people to to overcome thee traumas at least a bit.

I think we're basically in agreement then. I have no problem with developers taking an intelligent and sensitive approach to the issue. What's got everyone talking about it right now is the rather crass use of rape as a plot device in the new Tomb Raider. When developers tackle subjects they don't properly understand, people are liable to take issue with them. The more sensitive the topic, the more seriously they should take their responsibilities.

Imrix:

axlryder:
point is that it's a serious emotional trigger. and you "ranking" the intensity of pain as if you have any kind of authority or credibility in that regard is absolutely ridiculous. That may be your subjective opinion, but it has no real bearing on the pain suffered by others, nor is it rooted in firsthand knowledge (unless, of course, you've been tortured, raped, almost killed several different ways, etc.). That is in response to the comment that Entenzahn was replying to, btw.

Thing is, on some level I have to rank it. I can't respond to every traumatic event as if it's THE worst thing that could possibly occur. I'm open to the idea that my rankings are wrong, but I have to make them at some point or I'll have no idea how to respond to any particular incident.

Obviously ranking it is your prerogative, but this, to me, is more about being conscientious of the feelings of others. That means that not casually flinging around words like murder and torture similarly to how you wouldn't throw around the word rape. Hell, what if you're playing a non violent game and you say "dude, you murdered that guy" or "that guy murdered you", when the guy you're talking to is a vet who's done things or had things happen to him that he never wants to think about. The kind of things people I knew have killed themselves over. I'm sure saying something like that could really hurt somebody.

Helmholtz Watson:
I understand that it is hard to make everybody happy, but again then how do you choose who you appease or not? Do you appease the majority and ignore the feeling of the minority? Or do you do something else?

There are so many ways to look at that question...

You could go with the strictly personal view: Does it benefit me more to do one thing than the other? If it causes harm to one person, but other people like it when I say that, maybe I should say it anyway because it's more beneficial to me? This is a pretty selfish view, but some people believe it.

You could go with the highly sensitive view: If one person doesn't like it, then I should never say it. This is actually much weirder than it sounds. E.g., I have an asexual friend who feels like she's hounded by people about the subject, and doesn't want to hear people discussing sex. Other people wince at even the mention of rape, even if it's a serious topic of discussion. It's not reasonable to prevent people from communicating at all.

I think of it more as a set of metrics:

Is someone here actually offended by this (which I might know from prior discussion or because they just said so)? Is someone likely to be offended? Is their offense personal or projected? Is it related to me, or to the topic in general? Do we have previous agreements about discussing offensive things? Is this a place/situation where boundaries are specifically lifted? Would not being able to use the term prevent me from communicating something of value? If so, what is the relative value of the potential harm versus the lost communication?

Or from the other side:

How offended am I at that? Did that person intend to offend me? Do they realize it offended me? Are they offending other people? If my offense related to that specific person, or what they're saying? Is there some agreement under which it's not appropriate to object? Will my objection interfere with valuable communication, banter, or just a stupid joke?

You can't always answer some of those things precisely, but if you think about those metrics, the answer is usually pretty obvious.

But then most people--including me--are occasionally assholes anyway. And this is why I disagree strongly with the OP. No matter how hard you try, you will never stamp that out--you'll just make people hate you for trying. If you're going to get along in the real world, you have to allow some things to bounce off. There is plenty of intentional offense to go around (have you *watched* any U.S. politics recently??) without getting in people's faces about things they didn't intend.

I_am_acting:

subtlefuge:

Helmholtz Watson:
Rape is a word just like killed, murdered, starving, beaten, and genocide are words. There is no reason why the word rape should be treated like something special while the words I mentioned get an ok.

The grand majority of the Western World has trivialized starving. Violent video games by their very nature have trivialized murder, kill, and beaten. Why does sexual violence need to be brought into the picture for completely unrelated reasons? It doesn't. You don't need to make the word 'rape' mean nothing, because it fucking means something to the people who have been raped, and have to live with that for the rest of their lives. If you make a joke out of it, who's going to come forward to be laughed at?

And what of the family members of people who were murdered or who starved to death?

Starvation is an epidemic, murder is a statistic, rape is personal. If you really don't see a difference, there's no hope for you.

Also, I think it's ridiculous that we use 'murder' and 'starving' so flippantly, but each of those are entirely different issues from each other, and nowhere near as big of a deal as using 'rape' out of context.

adamselene:

You can't always answer some of those things precisely, but if you think about those metrics, the answer is usually pretty obvious.

What is the "obvious" answer? You seem to have given options but not really expressed what is the best procedure.

subtlefuge:

Starvation is an epidemic, murder is a statistic, rape is personal. If you really don't see a difference, there's no hope for you.

Also, I think it's ridiculous that we use 'murder' and 'starving' so flippantly, but each of those are entirely different issues from each other, and nowhere near as big of a deal as using 'rape' out of context.

Thank you Joseph Stalin, but murder is a personal thing that happens to people.

Helmholtz Watson:

subtlefuge:

Starvation is an epidemic, murder is a statistic, rape is personal. If you really don't see a difference, there's no hope for you.

Also, I think it's ridiculous that we use 'murder' and 'starving' so flippantly, but each of those are entirely different issues from each other, and nowhere near as big of a deal as using 'rape' out of context.

Thank you Joseph Stalin, but murder is a personal thing that happens to people.

Wait, so you can only empathize with dead people's feelings?

Murder is something that happens that tragically cuts a life short of its natural course. By extension, the victim is you know, dead. They generally don't have a long time to be traumatized by their death.

Witnessing a murder on the other hand could leave someone very traumatized, but that's more like torture, which brings us full circle back to rape.

Hard to read and heavy but good.
I behave in the chat online only in the rarest of cases I use any "curse"-like word, but I admit I have used words like "baserape" on occasions but never thought about it. Now I might think about it a bit more.

Rape is something we don't need whether it's virtual or real, both are bad and we don't need to glorify it in any way.

And I also think Escapist were an interesting choice of forum for this article, and a good choice.

subtlefuge:

Helmholtz Watson:

subtlefuge:

Starvation is an epidemic, murder is a statistic, rape is personal. If you really don't see a difference, there's no hope for you.

Also, I think it's ridiculous that we use 'murder' and 'starving' so flippantly, but each of those are entirely different issues from each other, and nowhere near as big of a deal as using 'rape' out of context.

Thank you Joseph Stalin, but murder is a personal thing that happens to people.

Wait, so you can only empathize with dead people's feelings?

Murder is something that happens that tragically cuts a life short of its natural course. By extension, the victim is you know, dead. They generally don't have a long time to be traumatized by their death.

Witnessing a murder on the other hand could leave someone very traumatized, but that's more like torture, which brings us full circle back to rape.

So then you would be against a person using the word "torture" on Xbox Live?

Entenzahn:

My opinion is that an adult would have better things to do than to judge other people's use of "inappropriate vocabulary". If I feel that somebody is trying to offend me on purpose on the internet I walk away, ignore or mock them.

I think we may be mis-communicating on the judging stance but it's close enough, I think it's tactless and often given the context not the best choice of word in the circumstances. If you believe the word is carrying a different connotation when you use it I find it awkward and would rather not hear it but not going to actively object. Except with my usual response which I've said a few times about censorship, adult, etc.

See, that's what I take issue with. I brought up "Murder", "Torture" and "Castration". Is there a threshold that determines what makes a (contextually) inappropriate word or topic? When X people say that something is a no-go it counts? Where is that threshold? Is it "common sense"? That would be convenient, since it would imply that anybody who disagrees is an idiot.

I don't respect the numbers argument. IMO an issue isn't automatically more or less important when more or less people are affected by it. Practically speaking I know that there are hot-button issues that you have to be careful about since you run at a higher risk of causing a ruckus. At the same time people have to acknowledge that some words like "rape" and "faggot" are slowly becoming internet slang and are usually not intended to offend rape victims or homosexuals. Unless you stop this by force (which I would vehemently oppose) you will probably have to learn to deal with it and accept that words constantly change their meanings and usage.

I'm going to be honest, I don't think murder, torture or castration are OK things to shout at a stranger you just beat at a video-game. Murder is lowest on that as if you're playing, say, Mortal Kombat it's less a crass insult and more a blunt statement of events. I'm going to avoid saying common sense but the threshold should probably be where you'll cause emotional distress to anybody far surpassing the standard impact of that word. If you threaten to castrate someone it's unpleasent for anyone, if you threaten to castrate someone who once had (hypothetically here as i'm stretching) a bad encounter with a roving serial killer who was intent on severing scrotums with a blowtorch, that is decidely more unpleasent. If you know for a fact it's going to upset someone then don't say it, if it's just an accident then it's not exactly OK but if you just apologise for being unaware it should be fine. Violently claiming it's the offended party's fault is, at least to me, not the appropriate social response.

And... I don't know what to say to not believing the numbers argument. It's kind of just there, admittedly it isn't perfect and I can think of a number of times the Status Quo had to be changed around (Civil Rights, Suffragette's) but it's not exactly a bad benchmark, if it effects a maximum of people negatively we should avoid it. I'm also agreeing that words DO change, Gay and Marriage being two which have suitably evolved and everyone harping on at the old meaning of marriage still piss me off to hell and back since the old meaning of Gay was 'Man who slept with lots of women" so if we're using OLD versions of words no-one has a problem.

The problem is that new meanings have to supplant the old ones first, if a word has both an innocuous and criminal meaning it's first of all confusing and second of all more than a little unfair to tell victims of the criminal offence that the word has changed. If 'Rape' came to mean, dominate at a video-game, first and the crime of grievous sexual assault came to be called, I dunno, GSA then yeah, it'd have a new meaning but as it stands those two examples (Rape and Fag) were being used in the sense of their common definitions but have been worn down by over-use to have alternate meanings. Which is fine, in that context, it's just that it doesn't apply in all contexts. Case in point, Cockney Rhyming Slang, isn't all that popular state-side. Games are a lot more inclusive now so a lot of internet slang is just going to sound like regular abuse rather than an in-joke which, again, is why it needs context in whom you're speaking to.

If the words new meanings supplanted the old ones naturally I'd accept it, but at the moment the common definition is the one a majority of people (this will be tricky without the numbers argument) will be aware of and the ones most likely to be affected.

Helmholtz Watson:

subtlefuge:

Helmholtz Watson:
Thank you Joseph Stalin, but murder is a personal thing that happens to people.

Wait, so you can only empathize with dead people's feelings?

Murder is something that happens that tragically cuts a life short of its natural course. By extension, the victim is you know, dead. They generally don't have a long time to be traumatized by their death.

Witnessing a murder on the other hand could leave someone very traumatized, but that's more like torture, which brings us full circle back to rape.

So then you would be against a person using the word "torture" on Xbox Live?

Torture's not as pervasive, but I'm sure there are people out there who have to live with it, and are haunted by that.

Still, there's another issue of how using 'rape' on Xbox Live could contribute to people not reporting rapes for fear of ridicule, but from this point on I won't use "torture" on Xbox Live.

Thank you so much for writing this. It was obviously very hard and I commend you for it.

subtlefuge:

Still, there's another issue of how using 'rape' on Xbox Live could contribute to people not reporting rapes for fear of ridicule, but from this point on I won't use "torture" on Xbox Live.

Prove that me saying that I "raped a match" in California is going to cause a person in NYC to not report when they have been raped.

As for your torture comment, good to know that you won't use that term anymore.

You want to know what the most depressing part of this whole ordeal will be? That most of the people that use the word and this kind of language liberally, the exact kind of people that the author is trying to reach will most likely never read this article or any of the others that try to explain why this is such a sensitive issue.

Helmholtz Watson:

subtlefuge:

Still, there's another issue of how using 'rape' on Xbox Live could contribute to people not reporting rapes for fear of ridicule, but from this point on I won't use "torture" on Xbox Live.

Prove that me saying that I "raped a match" in California is going to cause a person in NYC to not report when they have been raped.

As for your torture comment, good to know that you won't use that term anymore.

Joke about rape.->Rape is a joke.-> Someone gets raped.-> They don't want to be ridiculed or blamed.-> They keep quiet.

At this point, I should just come out and say it: we're not debating anything. By that I mean that I make a point, you latch on to a single word (words that you claimed were meaningless less than 10 pages back), you deflect and justify and distract from the issue.

You clearly know that nobody uses "torture" on Xbox Live. It's obvious that people who had an issue with murder would likely steer clear of violent online video games. You pose hypothetical questions about whether we should stop using words that most people are totally in favor of stopping. Nothing that has come from your keyboard has been productive or even on topic. However, you can't get off of these points, because arguing directly in favor of antisocial douchebaggery is even more flimsy than the meaningless drivel that you're coming up with.

I don't know what to say to this. Its certainly opened my eyes more to the situation at hand with trashtalk and internet communication, and it reminded me of a video that I watched the other week on the effects your "minor" insults can actually have, but I didn't expect "rape" to be as much of an issue.

I think it's a delicate situation where the world shouldn't be shunned from the dictionary or linguistics, but it should be treated with due care of the affects. This article shines more light on the issue of online gaming communication and how few precautions are in place in terms of making it a friendly environment. I know for sure that I will be more concious of my use of "raping an enemy".

To the author, you deserve some kind of award.

To me that's all anyone should be saying in here.

Okay I say rape all the time around my friends. Only ever as an inside joke and never in front of other people but I think I should cut it down. I get a feeling I've become "that guy", I really need to cut that shit out.

Wtf. Is this some kind of joke? No, seriously. Is it meant as trolling or something?

Yeah, I do think saying rape isn't a good idea, and don't use the word rape all the time. (I have to say this part, otherwise idiots will assume I'm defending the usage of the word rape.) But why are you also telling everyone just how peachy and fantastic your life is in the article? I don't think you realize just how insulting this is.

What's that? You have friends and family and get to do stuff together like "game of thrones" night? That's nice. Oh, you have a job and your own apartment? Shit, that's not bad ehy. Right, so you got to go out on lots of dates, and you have a girlfriend that you're considering moving in with? Oh, and you play a whole lot of games on xbox live. How wonderful. But why have you tacked on "If others didn't say rape, I wouldn't be reminded of painful memories in my otherwise wonderful life." WTF, why?

subtlefuge:

Joke about rape.->Rape is a joke.-> Someone gets raped.-> They don't want to be ridiculed or blamed.-> They keep quiet.

So isn't racism effected in the same way? People joke about racism all the time and I don't see people being reluctant to go to the media about how they feel they have been racially discriminated against.

subtlefuge:

At this point, I should just come out and say it: we're not debating anything. By that I mean that I make a point, you latch on to a single word (words that you claimed were meaningless less than 10 pages back), you deflect and justify and distract from the issue.

I'm just pointing out that if a person is going to be so apposed to using the word rape, I see no reason why they should not also feel so strongly about the word "torture", "murder", or "kill".

Idk about everyone else but for me the takeaway here (and from nearly everything i read about this issue) is that Xbox live - or even online play in general - is the worst thing that ever happened to videogames. I have without exaggeration never, ever once actually enjoyed playing a videogame with other people. because other people are horrifying. it breaks my heart that online play is "the new normal" because we are clearly unfit to interact as human beings. and not a single story of "but not me! / not my friends! / not my guild! we're nice!" will convince me otherwise.

The experience of being raped has touched every aspect of my life. People like Ron Rosenberg, the PR head for Tomb Raider, tend to talk about rape like it's some character-building challenge to overcome, a wound that heals into scar tissue, making you tougher. That's a fundamental misunderstanding. Rape isn't a scar, it's a limp -- you carry it with you as long as you're alive, and it makes life harder, not easier. Being raped does change you: it's more than non-consensual sex, it's psychic murder. The person you were beforehand ceases to exist and you can never, ever be them again.

I was with him until here. As a person who has gone through this experience, I do not need someone speaking for me or--playing the victim. Yes, it's hard on you. It's hard on anyone who goes through it. Sad to say, it happens. It's not a part of life everyday life, but it can be a part of life. When bad things happen in the past, you move on, get over it and get stronger. Mine is a scar but I've made it a very small one. I don't need someone making it sound we need special treatment or protection.

It happened. Move on, get over it.

Therumancer:

The feminist arguements also come down to a dual standard as to what should be allowed. The basic arguement being that it's okay for women to produce, and read books about being ravished by pirates or whatever, but it's not okay for men to create or read the same thing.

I touched on this in a response to The Jimquisition recently about fantasy rape and the differance between it and reality. I generally don't think "rape" in a story where everyone winds up (eventually) having a good time is a big deal. It's adult material because you need to have an adult point of view to seperate that from reality. The problem of course being that a lot of feminist arguements come down to there being seperate standards for men and women when it comes to entertainment. If some lady reads about a female protaganist being tied up and raped (which is more politically changed to "ravished" in such cases) in a book with Fabio on the cover, purchused from the romance section, that's okay... but if some guy reads a book/comic/watches a movie about the same basic thing then it's to be treated differantly.

Feminism sucks because it by and large represents a dual standard, and the arguement that girls should be able to do things that get guys branded freaks or wierdos.

-

As far as rape as a TERM goes, it's use comes from the belief for many people that rape is more about power than sex. In reality that's not the case as much as many people like to believe, the belief being popularized because of the victims being upset over the loss of power and control, rather than that nessicarly being the motivating force for the rapist. I've read some analysises in the past that have pointed towards a trend where if it's about power for the rapist then the victim is unlikely to survive the experience as it usually crosses over into torture and murder as opposed to just being about the sex. The term gets used as a way of talking about dominating and using someone completly, with nothing they can do about it. Rather than saying "I'm going to dominate you and use you up" or "you got dominated" it's simply "your going to get raped". which flows better and conveys the meaning. I don't care for it myself even if I've used the term that way myself to fit in, but I don't think it's worth getting upset about either, slang changes over time, and we're liable to see this go away in a decade or so. Truthfully the more people complain about it, and the more they show their cards about it getting their goats, the longer it will stick around, as such complaints will simply fuel the subversive quality that fuels slang. Indeed I'd argue that articles like this are actually going to encorage people.... want to see the term die? Wait for it to be used non-stop, and only correctly about 20% of the time on some primetime programming that's trying to be hip (as opposed to judgemental). Have a bunch of "hipsters" running around a modern 90120 using the term constantly on some preppy beach or whatever, and that will kill it.

Well said sir, well said. I understand that for victims of rape it can be a touchy subject. I myself was abused when I younger, but I still believe that the only person who could ever give words power are the people that let the words affect them. It's impossible to stop someone from saying something just by saying that it's bad. More often than not it gives the word more weight by implying how much damage it may cause.

subtlefuge:

At this point, I should just come out and say it: we're not debating anything. By that I mean that I make a point, you latch on to a single word (words that you claimed were meaningless less than 10 pages back), you deflect and justify and distract from the issue.

Helmholtz Watson:

subtlefuge:
^^snip^^

I'm just pointing out that if a person is going to be so apposed to using the word rape, I see no reason why they should not also feel so strongly about the word "torture", "murder", or "kill".

Neither of you are really engaging in a debate so much as going around in circles making counter-assertions.

People can have strong reactions to almost any word. Someone whose loved one was murdered could have a very bad reaction to people using the word 'murder'.

However, rape is different in that it's something that is extremely personal. It's the actual victim of rape who is traumatized by it. Not only that, but it is an act of one person violating another in the most intimate way possible. The real problem is that it is pretty much the most traumatic thing that can happen to a person, and thus hearing the term 'rape' tossed around casually is bound to cause more suffering than tossing around the term 'murder'.

I would say that torture is probably even worse, but there just aren't nearly as many people who are tortured so you're less likely to cause someone distress by throwing around the term.

Helmholtz Watson:

subtlefuge:
Joke about rape.->Rape is a joke.-> Someone gets raped.-> They don't want to be ridiculed or blamed.-> They keep quiet.

So isn't racism effected in the same way? People joke about racism all the time and I don't see people being reluctant to go to the media about how they feel they have been racially discriminated against.

The evidence for jokes causing that sort of thing is extremely flimsy. It might seem to make sense that jokes can have those effect, but there really isn't any proof that they actually do. This is the kind of argument that is used to remove speech that one finds offensive by appealing to the "shouting fire in a crowded theater" clause, i.e. that its effects are so harmful that it shouldn't be protected.

However, no one here seems to be arguing that this speech should be made illegal (and companies can limit your speech in their services however they want, using their services is a privilege, not a right).

If the argument is that people who throw around the word 'rape' casually are d-bags, then I'd say there really isn't even a need for an argument: that conclusion should be obvious to anyone with half a brain.

However, I would add that it is really easy to avoid hearing these sort of things on Xbox live: just go into a party or change your settings. While one is quite right to point out that people who throw around the term 'rape' carelessly are complete assholes, it's also kind of hard to see it as an epidemic that must be stopped through drastic censorship when the people who are offended by this sort of thing already have the ability to avoid it completely.

If you know the nature of Xbox live, and you're offended by what people on Xbox live commonly say, then at that point it's kind of on you to take some simple steps to avoid the things you don't like. If someone goes out of their way to harass you, then by all means, report them. But if you get offended by a overhearing a conversation that doesn't involve you, then you should probably just mute the offenders.

Think of it this way: could someone sue the city for being offended by a KKK march while walking down a city street? No. Corporations can (and do) state in their license agreements that they are not responsible for what the other people who use the service say. When they ban people, they do it for business: they might lose customers if they didn't ban people for certain behaviors. If enough of their customers demanded that certain forms of speech be banned, then they would do it simply because their profits might suffer otherwise. They don't have any moral obligations to censor offensive speech. It's their service, and how they run it is up to them. If you don't like it, don't use it.

On the other hand, if you're going to use disgusting language that many people would find offensive, the least you could do is do it in party chat so others don't have to hear your filthiness. That's just common courtesy.

For some people it's not about the harmful effects of the speech so much as the simple fact that they don't want people using that speech period, regardless of whether it actually offends someone in the particular instances when it is used. These people have a right to complain, but that's about all they can do. If the corporations and their customers decide to ignore their complaints, there's nothing else that can be done.

Thank you for speaking for those who cannot talk about it in public. Or the ones who haven't been able to tell anyone. The ones that are bothered by this being involved with games.

It has pretty much made me unable to play or have the urge to play the new tomb raider, and i was truly looking forward to it.

People don't realize, dealing with things that involve that can really cause flashbacks, and worse.

This article is true for the word retard too. When you got a brother or sister or know someone who is actually mentally disable retard doesn't men something that is stupid, it's a term filled with hate. People should stop dropping that word so casually too.

Anonymous: Thank you for setting out so clearly the difference between "offended" and "hurt". I was moved by your story. I wish I had the courage to share mine.

Therumancer:
The feminist arguements also come down to a dual standard as to what should be allowed. The basic arguement being that it's okay for women to produce, and read books about being ravished by pirates or whatever, but it's not okay for men to create or read the same thing.

...snip...

Feminism sucks because it by and large represents a dual standard, and the arguement that girls should be able to do things that get guys branded freaks or wierdos.

Well, to be perfectly fair you're overgeneralizing feminism. The feminists who fight so that women get paid equal wages for equal work shouldn't be lumped into the same group as those who try to scandalize things in the media by talking about 'objectification'.

Whether you agree with it or not, there's a huge difference between fighting something as concrete as a discrepancy in pay between two people who have the same job and the same hours by trying to get certain pieces of legislation passed, and fighting a vague cultural war in which the ultimate goal is to change people's "perceptions" or "prejudices". Not only are the goals of the latter enterprise vague, but the effects of the things that they are trying to combat are hardly proven.

(In case it isn't obvious, I support the former, but am cynical of the latter. I, for one, wouldn't allow my daughters, if I had any, to spend too much of their time playing dress-up or doing other things that might make them think that their worth lies in their appearance. I also wouldn't enter into a relationship in which I didn't consider my partner an intellectual equal. However, I can't help but feel that the constant complaints about pop-culture are both counter-productive and silly. A woman who was raised properly isn't going to be a slave to the images in the media. The real thing at fault is bad parenting.)

As far as the double standard goes, I can hardly speak for these people, but I imagine quite a few of them would argue that romance novels are as just as bad as their male equivalents. Others might argue that it isn't the same for men as it is for women because of the entrenched patriarchy. I won't defend or even suppose that I am presenting these arguments successfully. But I do think you're overgeneralizing a bit.

I believe that the point of the article is that words carry weight. I've only read the first 40 comments, but a few seem to be getting caught up with the word 'rape' itself. We have to realize that words that we say casually could actually hold more meaning than we know.

A while back someone called me a Nazi because I was being strict with my sister. While I understood that he wasn't accusing me of following Hitler, I was still taken aback by the comment because of how strong the word still is, even 70+ years later.

There are many words that we as a society use too frivolously. There are some words that should carry weight behind their meaning. Rape, in my opinion, should be one of them. I don't think that it is being said that you should never say these words. Just put some thought into what you are saying before saying them.

Iron Lightning:
I'm sorry if this sounds insensitive but, Mr. Anonymous, you need to stop having the mentality of a fucking victim. You need to stop being a coward, trying as you do to block out anything to do with rape. It only represses your emotions and thus gives them more control over you. You need to stop living in fear.

You can do it. You know how I know that you can do it? Because when I was a wee lad of 4 I was raped multiple times. I repressed it. It haunted my dreams for 14 years until I re-experienced it in its totality when I was 18. It was the fucking worse thing ever but it still wasn't enough. After that I had 5 imaginary death experiences that were at least as painful as my initial re-experience. Even after that I had to quit my university for a few semesters because I found myself to be now so incapable of dealing with any stress that I would go into a state of paralytic shock for hours on ends at the simplest demands. Hell, it's only now that I've finally got over my subconscious fear of intimacy that has prevented me from forming any kind of sexual relationship.

But you know what? I got the fuck over it. Sure, my rape is still an uncomfortable subject but I didn't have to spend two damn weeks of suffering to write this post. As for the subject of rape in general I'm fine with it. I don't get offended at the use of rape in media or in the news or by punk-ass kids on Xbox. That's because I've learned to accept it and integrate it. I am no longer afraid because instead of repressing and running away from my fears I have the courage to confront them.

Mr. Anonymous you, sir, are a damn coward right now. You're letting your fears govern your life and the more you continue to run away from your fears the more they will own you. You don't have to be a coward, Mr. Anonymous, you can find the courage to confront your fears if you just get out of the mentality of being permanently damaged. No matter what anyone tells you, you don't have to be a damaged man.

Dude...the fuck?

I was never raped, and hopefully I never will be. You were. You know how painful, how traumatizing it is. Why in the FUCK would you rip on this guy, or call him a coward? he made it clear that rape isn't something to "overcome" or a challenge you can grow from. its something you carry with you for the rest of you're life. clearly the two of you disagree, because you seem to think it's just another part of life, or something you can "roll with"

Im really happy that you no longer suffer from trauma or fears, but for christ's sake, have some sympathy for the guy. as someone who suffered as you did, try and understand, like I, and everyone else is.

OT: I can't say anything that hasn't already been said, other then thank's for pouring you're soul into this article, and I hope you can live the best life you can. you deserve it.

Edit: Okay, so, I should have probably read the ENTIRE 16 pages of comments before commenting myself. sorry about that.

Entenzahn:

Imrix:

macfluffers:
Child abuse, assault, and torture victims do not "nearly" suffer. You just trivialized parental neglect, battery, and torture.

No, I just rank them as less traumatising than rape

The precise point at which I abandoned this ridiculous debate.

You and me both.

I mean, really? Imrix literally said that victims of child abuse, battery, and torture only nearly suffered a bad fate.

The only way to know if rape really is worse than other horrors is to conduct a study of people who've undergone various traumas including rape, and have them rank them. Otherwise it's purely subjective and not even worth suggesting. (And even that would be shaky.)

So, for the love of God, do not try to tell me that attempted murder and other traumas are not as bad as rape. I'd rather be raped than stabbed repeatedly in non-vital areas, and perhaps you feel differently, but either way, there's no way to objectively scale the horror, so we shouldn't try to say one is worse than another.

We either treat them the same or we do not expect others to have our sensibilities.

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