The R Word

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Helmholtz Watson:
So I shouldn't say rape because I might offend somebody? That's it?

It's not about offending, it's about hurting someone, on a very real level. What's more important to you - your use of the word, or not making someone relive trauma? What do you value more - saying "I raped you" on Xbox Live, or not giving someone nightmares?

That's what it comes down to, really. This isn't about someone's delicate sensibilities, this is about the fact that a single word can actually cause someone emotional and physical pain.

Doom972:
snip

I laughed my head off when Brad Pitt died in Meet Joe Black (for some odd reason) but I'm damn sure I've never laughed at someone getting raped.

I recommend you watch the most recent episode of Jimquisition. He explains the difference better than I ever could.

Excellent article. Here's hoping the people who most need to read it will take the time to do so.

Doom972:
--snip--

So, you never laughed at the way someone died in a film/game/book even though a soldier in real life might have died that way? You never laughed at a racist joke? You never laughed at a stranger's misfortune?
You are either a liar or a very humorless person. since you are a member of this site, I'll assume the former. With you being a hypocrite, I politely ask that you stay away from me and everyone I know.

I don't know what it is about people misunderstanding how different words are different, so let me make this abundantly clear:

Rape is different from murder.

Rape is different from killing.

Rape is different from racism (which, by the by, is also never funny).

Rape is different from injury and misfortune.

If you still don't understand what I'm saying, Jim Sterling has spelled it out for you.

Generally speaking, most of these are not humorous in most situations.

But rape is never funny.

And hypocrisy does not mean what you think it means; for me to be a hypocrite, I'd have to be yelling at you for telling rape jokes, then telling rape jokes. I'd have to be doing the thing I'm telling you not to do, not doing a different thing. It's like calling a conservative who's against gay marriage a hypocrite because he married a woman; while similar, it's not the same thing (granted, I'd still not associate with him, hypocrite or not).

While I am considered somewhat odd in my humor, I don't think I can be labeled humorless; etymology, for instance, is often hilarious.

Congratulations on a very necessary article. May your courage in writing it bear the fruit of a better world.

But...

itsthesheppy:
This article is simply... stunning, I should say. In that reading it, I had to sit back and just be in awe that someone could survive and cope with something so horrible. It's just a shame that I feel like a lot of people will read it, but feel like "well, when *I* use the word, I'm not being hurtful" and just not get what this brave guy is saying.

My thoughts exactly. Down here in the echo chambers of the internet people are very used to making complex doublethink acrobatics so they never have to go through the trouble of changing their minds. I can only hope at least some of those people allow your earnest article to pierce their armor of bullshit.

Just the other day I saw someone complain that Sarkeesian kept signaling her blog posts as 'trigger warnings'. It wasn't some random internet dipshit, it was on the Rock Paper Shotgun comments where people were not shouting that stupid feminists should make them sandwiches but citing feminist theory and complaining about second wave feminism. And yet, someone thought that trigger warnings were just a random attention grab for feminists, no different from the warnings at the beginning of No Russian saying the level was just TOO INTENSE. It's just difficult to convey the seriousness of such a situation.

Azuaron:

Louis CK talks about words.

The main thing is that the sounds that come out of our mouths are things that, as you yourself said, we associate with certain things. For instance, we associate the word "rape" with "cruelty and suffering and some of the most despicable things humanity as a collective can do."

Words are not just the sounds our flapping meat makes. They are concepts and ideas, and they have emotional consequences.

About your other words, I've never heard anyone use trash talk like, "You're a starving victim of genocide." Maybe I don't play on the same servers you do. But I have heard, "I just raped you" while the speaker repeatedly crouches their avatar over a downed opponent.

And, "I just murdered you," in most games isn't so much trash talk as representative truth.

Besides, those are different words, different concepts, different meanings, with different emotional consequences that belong in a different conversation about what is--and is not--"acceptable" to use in trash talk.

But here we're talking about rape. Trying to obscure the subject isn't going to change that.

According to Captcha, I "have an inkling." So that's good.

Steve Hughes talks about people overreacting to words

I realize that people associate ideas with words, I just disagree that some words are not ok to use in trash talking.

As for what you and I have heard, when I have played Halo or COD and somebody killed a large number of people without dieing themselves, I have heard people say that they "just committed a genocide".

centermassmatt:
That was an incredibly brave and thoughtful article. I think you are correct in saying that it is a limp, often permanent handicap psychologically for victims of such sexual abuse.

However, I have a very close friend who was also a victim of sexual abuse. She was abused/raped by her father regularly from ages 8-12.

She tends to use the word rape about as casually as anyone, although she's not a gamer, but if someone brings up the concept of "daddy issues" she gets uncomfortable and making light of incest makes her down-right vengeful.

I'm not trying to make a point with this, but just an observation of how differently some people take these things and what "triggers" can be from one person to another.

Certain personality types react differently to certain traumas in very different ways. The problem here is, no one can be expected to walk on eggshells around everybody because they *might* be victims of this or that abuse. Especially if they're unwilling to admit it.

It is a two-sided dilemma but I think both sides need to take responsibility. If someone says something that offends you it is, ostensibly your responsibility to inform them of your offense, then it is their prerogative whether or not they want to be sensitive to you and change their behavior or carry on as they normally would and ignore your offense, choosing freedom of speech over sensitivity.

That said, that does NOT account for the traumatic element of actually admitting to said abuse/trauma. Thus, a certain measure of sensitivity is needed on the part of the person saying those things in the case of such things.

Words are one thing but the emphasis behind those words are where the issue lies. I don't necessarily support anyone being limited to what they should or should not say but I also don't support anyone being put in a position that Mr. Anonymous has been put in over and over again just by proxy of the fact that he was a victim of such a heinous crime.

I'll agree with you up to the point about "walking on eggshells since that person could be a victim of abuse". Look if this "trigger was an everyday occurrence( car alarms, hearing a loud noise, etc...) then i'll by it buy it and agree with you but to be blunt "rape" is exactly that gets commonly used(this is from a guy who is gamer). This isn't say the word shouldn't be used in a context where it makes sense. To be blunt it shouldn't even be used as a insult in the first place (mind you I don't get jokes about rape or how you even could make a joke about rape). Please explain to me how or why this even became a term used by online gamers as a part of trash talking anyway (as you said people should be allowed to say what they want but still though). Honestly it boil down to the idea of well "don't be a jackass" being lost to pretty much a size able(minority) of online players. FInally the idea of having to walk around eggshells when it comes to using the word "rape" is actually kinda of faulty as i said before this can be used in context that made sense(Hey guys " did you see what Joe did to Kate in Adventures?" "What did he rape her?") its just that the word has very little common usage. I'll guess i used the word maybe 3 or 4 times over the past month with the various conversations. To close out on what i'm trying to say "I refuse to believe this word has any place in trash talking, i refuse to believe the idea of walking on eggshells when it comes to gaming in an effort not to offend people is what must be done seriously not offending people isn't that hard general rule of thumb is don't bring in religion,gender, rape, murder, politics, or sexuality into to trash talking and you can be sure you won't offend anyone or bother anyone either(better rule don't bring up anything that provokes an emotional response and your good to go .
Note to the author
I hope you are doing your best to enjoy life and settle down with the right woman. I have no idea whats it must have been like to write this(other than it being hard may be an understatement).

Susan Arendt:

It's not about offending, it's about hurting someone, on a very real level. What's more important to you - your use of the word, or not making someone relive trauma? What do you value more - saying "I raped you" on Xbox Live, or not giving someone nightmares?

That's what it comes down to, really. This isn't about someone's delicate sensibilities, this is about the fact that a single word can actually cause someone emotional and physical pain.

I would say that if hearing "I raped you" on Xbox live is too much for a person, then they shouldn't be on there to begin with because I can't imagine how a person would deal with killing virtual people in a game like COD or Halo.

EDIT:wow, its very nice to "meet" you! I didn't know that you guys actually read the forums.

Chertan:
I don't like where this site is headed. I thought it was about gaming. No offence to the writer of course

As others have stated in this thread, we discuss gaming culture on The Escapist, and a part of that is the way our society interacts while playing games.

centermassmatt:
Certain personality types react differently to certain traumas in very different ways. The problem here is, no one can be expected to walk on eggshells around everybody because they *might* be victims of this or that abuse. Especially if they're unwilling to admit it.

It is a two-sided dilemma but I think both sides need to take responsibility. If someone says something that offends you it is, ostensibly your responsibility to inform them of your offense, then it is their prerogative whether or not they want to be sensitive to you and change their behavior or carry on as they normally would and ignore your offense, choosing freedom of speech over sensitivity.

The problem isn't the person who accidentally step on a few eggshells in ordinary conversation; it's the bulls in the china shop on Xbox Live, where the word has become a casual, everpresent sort of insult.

Not everyone recognizes a distinction between what we're allowed to say and what we ought to say, so freedom of speech is often held up as as justification for any dumbass to say any dumbass thing they want. While there's probably some personal bias here, I not convinced that John Locke and James Madison were advocating for the right of Ballzinya to call you gay because he can beat you at Counter-Strike. I could be wrong.

The exception I take with your quote is the whole "especially if they're unwilling to admit it." In fact, given that offending and injuring you is the whole point of this type of language, I'm not sure, "Please don't say that because I actually am/was ____" is a great starting point for increased tolerance in online gaming. I support the courage of those who do it, but I don't think failure to disclose personal traumas makes it okay for other players on the server to throw their own humanity out of the window.

One of the best articles i've read on the escapist

Some other things to keep in mind are; the use of rape as shock humour, or talking the taboo
conversationally e.g. like making 9/11 jokes.
-and the fetish part of it or phobia, what i mean is there was studys done in the 40s to 60s done by Freud and such, which show how some woman fantasise about being raped(dominated).
Same can be said for some men, or in the dominating position.People can be insecure about this and hate themselves and/or stigmatize rape victims, or have a phobia with them, like with homophobia.

IMO non-consensual(/violent) sex is a terrible thing to do to an adult, as your making them feel helpless, powerless and loathsome.
And with children it can scar them and fuck them up for the rest of their lives.

Helmholtz Watson:
Steve Hughes talks about people overreacting to words

I realize that people associate ideas with words, I just disagree that some words are not ok to use in trash talking.

As for what you and I have heard, when I have played Halo or COD and somebody killed a large number of people without dieing themselves, I have heard people say that they "just committed a genocide".

Steve Hughes is talking about people being "offended". I haven't seen anyone say you can't say "rape" because someone's going to be "offended".

And, once again, we're having a conversation about "rape" and you're talking about "genocide". They are different words, with different meanings and concepts, and different emotional consequences. If you would like to start up a debate on the relative merits and consequences of "genocide" in trash talk, then I will gladly engage you in a space that is dedicated to that purpose.

But it's still a different word, and its appropriateness must be determined independently from the appropriateness of other words.

Helmholtz Watson:

Susan Arendt:

It's not about offending, it's about hurting someone, on a very real level. What's more important to you - your use of the word, or not making someone relive trauma? What do you value more - saying "I raped you" on Xbox Live, or not giving someone nightmares?

That's what it comes down to, really. This isn't about someone's delicate sensibilities, this is about the fact that a single word can actually cause someone emotional and physical pain.

I would say that if hearing "I raped you" on Xbox live is too much for a person, then they shouldn't be on there to begin with because I can't imagine how a person would deal with killing virtual people in a game like COD or Halo.

EDIT:wow, its very nice to "meet" you! I didn't know that you guys actually read the forums.

Way to be inclusive.

That's a very interesting article, thank you for being able to share that, even if anonymously. It takes brave people like you to share your experiences so that the rest of us can truly understand.

That being said, I wish I could understand better. You mentioned that someone using the word was as if they'd reminded you of your father leaving at a young age, and mine did. As far as I can tell, my brother and maybe my sister haven't really coped with it as well as I have, even though I seem to have taken it the hardest when it happened. I don't self-medicate with anything, nor do I have a problem with people mentioning any kind of father abandonment issues. Hell, people are surprised at how much I'm willing to talk about it and the effects it did have on me.

I do not say any of that to detract from the gravity of your story or your point, I only say it to make this point: to varying degrees, most of us won't truly understand what you've been and continue to go through, but I applaud you for trying.

itsthesheppy:
This is not to say that using the word 'genocide' or other synonyms are necessairy a great deal better, but you're a lot less likely to trigger somebody within earshot, and contribute to a culture that supports that type of language and those detrimental opinions about the severity of the crime.

So I shouldn't say rape because I might offend somebody? That's it?

What do you mean, that's it? That's everything.

I don't think you and I can have this conversation. I'm not sure if I have the time or ability to explain empathy to you. I mean if you read the article, in its entirety, and you are still scratching your head on why using the word 'rape' trivially might be bad, then I'm afraid I lack the power you need to get the idea through to you.

I mean it's a three-page article where a man bares his soul, explains in excruciating detail about why it's hurtful, why that word holds a great deal of power, and why people should be careful about it. And you're saying 'what, so I don't offend people'? YES. Yes, so you don't offend people. And if you don't get why that's bad, I'm certainly not going to be able to fill in gaps left unfilled by your parents when you should have been taught why causing strangers unnecessary pain is a bad thing.

If you say something, and someone else gets offended, that's your fault. End of story. If you don't get offended by stuff, good for you. No, really, good. You probably go through life relatively more stress-free than others. Write a book about your triumph. But if you say something and hurt someone, however unintentionally, about anything, for any reason you owe that person an apology. Everyone does.

So to answer your question, yes. Those words are bad. Maybe they shouldn't be said. If I use the word 'genocide' trivially and, by chance, there is a Rwandan Genocide survivor in my midst who gets offended, then I owe them a heartfelt apology and I will be careful in the future, because that's what being a good person is. Being mindful of the thoughts and feelings of others.

A very well-written article about an important subject. But the issue of unintentionally hurting people through words comes up in all kinds of circumstances -- whenever I've lost a relative, suddenly all people seem to be talking about is death; they aren't aware of what they're doing, but inside I'm being torn to pieces remembering the loss. Same with the word "gay" -- I always flinch when people use it to describe something stupid.

Azuaron:
snip

I think you misquoted me :3 I didn't say that, not sure who did though.

Moonlight Butterfly:

Azuaron:
snip

I think you misquoted me :3 I didn't say that, not sure who did though.

I was going to reply to one of your posts, then decided not to, and replied to someone else's, and made a mistake when I cut out your post...

Anyway, sorry, it's fixed now.

The Random One:
Congratulations on a very necessary article. May your courage in writing it bear the fruit of a better world.

But...

itsthesheppy:
This article is simply... stunning, I should say. In that reading it, I had to sit back and just be in awe that someone could survive and cope with something so horrible. It's just a shame that I feel like a lot of people will read it, but feel like "well, when *I* use the word, I'm not being hurtful" and just not get what this brave guy is saying.

My thoughts exactly. Down here in the echo chambers of the internet people are very used to making complex doublethink acrobatics so they never have to go through the trouble of changing their minds. I can only hope at least some of those people allow your earnest article to pierce their armor of bullshit.

Just the other day I saw someone complain that Sarkeesian kept signaling her blog posts as 'trigger warnings'. It wasn't some random internet dipshit, it was on the Rock Paper Shotgun comments where people were not shouting that stupid feminists should make them sandwiches but citing feminist theory and complaining about second wave feminism. And yet, someone thought that trigger warnings were just a random attention grab for feminists, no different from the warnings at the beginning of No Russian saying the level was just TOO INTENSE. It's just difficult to convey the seriousness of such a situation.

I will admit, when I first saw [trigger warnings] show up in articles I raised an eyebrow and thought, really? That lasted all of about two second, which was the amount of time it took me to reflect on what it might be like someone who, living with trauma, suddenly stumbles across something that brings them BACK to that trauma, against their will.

It's like reading a poorly-written movie review that spoils the ending without warning you of such. That feeling of 'oh CRAP why did I read that? Now it's in my brain forever, dammit!'

Except on the magnitude of a million billion times worse, and it lasts forever.

And so few seem able to put themselves there. In the mindset of having to be careful because statistically speaking, they've been in the presence of many, many rape survivors and never known it.

I don't know what it's like to go through something like that, so I don't think my sympathies could be worth a whole lot to you, but I do know that we all have our own traumas and issues, including myself. It could be that there are traumas out there which impair you for life. And not having been a victim of rape myself I don't know if that's one of them. But I choose to believe that anything can be overcome and anything can make you stronger. Otherwise we would just let things chip away at us until they wear us down to death. That would mean that we don't have any power, can't ever achieve anything and that's something that my optimistic attitude won't allow. You just can't let it get to you, which is something I feel compelled to say, even though I know you've probably heard it a thousand times before.
Anyway, I also wanted to say that I like your style, Mister Anonymous, and that it would be a waste of talent if you didn't already do some professional writing (although I sincerely hope you do so without a lot less nausea), at least you appear to have the drinking habits of a true writer. :)

Helmholtz Watson:

Susan Arendt:

It's not about offending, it's about hurting someone, on a very real level. What's more important to you - your use of the word, or not making someone relive trauma? What do you value more - saying "I raped you" on Xbox Live, or not giving someone nightmares?

That's what it comes down to, really. This isn't about someone's delicate sensibilities, this is about the fact that a single word can actually cause someone emotional and physical pain.

I would say that if hearing "I raped you" on Xbox live is too much for a person, then they shouldn't be on there to begin with because I can't imagine how a person would deal with killing virtual people in a game like COD or Halo.

EDIT:wow, its very nice to "meet" you! I didn't know that you guys actually read the forums.

Dude, has anything horrible ever happened to you? Like, so bad you can't sleep for days? If not then... I really have no way to get this across, but if SO, imagine someone kept rubbing this in your face whenever you try and play a videogame. Let's say you load up Halo and suddenly everyone shouts "Hey, remember when that bully beat you up and left you crying in a ditch" or "Your dog got runover, SPLAT, LOL his stupid legs twitching and confused eyes" or whatever horrible thing happened to you. If it never happened to you then there'd be no emotional reaction but if it did, hell, if it happened a few hours earlier, it'd likely really hurt.

Now imagine that the pain never really goes away, NOW imagine some guy you don't know is arguing he should have the right to bring up all that pain whenever he feels like it and it's your fault for being there.

Of course this hinges on there being some equivalent here :-/ if there isn't then I imagine this is going to fall on deaf ears. Unless we can get talking about white people bringing up lynchings to describe them ganging up on your character, that one always makes ME uncomfortable.

Helmholtz Watson:

I would say that if hearing "I raped you" on Xbox live is too much for a person, then they shouldn't be on there

As an aside, this is a good example of the opposite kind of opinion we gamers ought to have. and yes, that is a 100% subjective statement.

There shouldn't be places where rape survivors 'shouldn't' go in our society. If those places exist, it should be up to all of us to eliminate them and turn them into places where they feel included. Trauma survivors have every right the rest of us do to play the games they want and it is not our place to tell them otherwise.

It is our place, however, to foster an environment that isn't threatening or hurtful to people. And when we see people making that environment hurtful, it's our place to shut them down and make it clear it won't be tolerated. It may not seem like much when it's just you versus an entire room of screaming CoD jerkfaces, but little by little we can make this a community that is intolerant of hurtful speech.

Finally. Thank you!
The part that resonated with me is that "Rape is not a scar, it's a limp".
The whole fallacy that it "makes you stronger" is an argument I'm just so tired of hearing.

Its not just about not offending, its also bout not looking like a prick. Some people get offended to easily, but there are true limits.

Yeah, this is a beautifully written piece. Now, on a far less serious note and speaking from the callous uninformed perspective of a snarky internet commenter... let words have power. You know why I don't say certain words? It's because I want them to have meaning.

It's like when I get into a historical discussion from time to time with a close friend or family member and war atrocities come up. "Oh have you heard of the 'Rape of Nanking?'" And I always have to explain, "No, they didn't just really mess up Nanking. The Japanese literally raped tens of thousands of people." It's a horrifying bit of history that gets swept under the rug. Like the Holocaust, it's a difficult concept to wrap your head around when you first read about it. Then the nausea comes.

My point is that even adults who are not gamers throw "rape" around in general conversation like it's nothing. Hell, my mom says it. And it's not okay, not because it could hurt someone's feelings, but because it loses it's weight and gravity.

I am exceedingly grateful and happy that I cannot grasp what it's like to have that happen to me and yes, I can see that it still hurts. But if you're trying to appeal to the sensibilities of the people who still talk that way, you're not going to do it with a well reasoned thought provoking subject like this one. Basically, people who throw epithets and "rape" around like it's nothing sound like 13 year old idiots... and most of the time they are.

Like everyone else, I find myself wanting to support the OP. Props for finding the courage to talk about what clearly is an issue that's very raw for you, Anonymous.

On the R-word's subject, I'd mention that there's a ton of less offensive synonyms gamers can use while trash-talking. Whatever happened to Unreal Tournament's "Dominated", which TF2 took to using? More to the point, do you honestly have to rub your victory in Person X's face by going "Oshit, I totally wrecked your thing, man!"

Why not "Damn, I'm on a roll tonight!" or, even better, why not nothing at all? Why not acknowledge the failing player for at least making an effort?

Oh, right. That's too highbrow and noble to expect of the CoD crowd, isn't it?

Yes, I'm being sarcastic, but there's still something about the Xbox Live population that makes it insufferably potty-mouthed, with the PS3 goons not falling that much farther behind. More often than not, the most level-headed team talk I've had the pleasure of hearing and enjoying was on PC releases.

CaptainMarvelous:

Dude, has anything horrible ever happened to you? Like, so bad you can't sleep for days? If not then... I really have no way to get this across, but if SO, imagine someone kept rubbing this in your face whenever you try and play a videogame.

Dude, don't play video games if you don't want to hear it, or don't listen to what people have to say on Xbox live.

CaptainMarvelous:
Let's say you load up Halo and suddenly everyone shouts "Hey, remember when that bully beat you up and left you crying in a ditch" or "Your dog got runover, SPLAT, LOL his stupid legs twitching and confused eyes" or whatever horrible thing happened to you. If it never happened to you then there'd be no emotional reaction but if it did, hell, if it happened a few hours earlier, it'd likely really hurt.

Your not addressing why saying you "murdered" someone when you race and beat somebody Midnight Club/Project Gotham racing is ok, but saying that you "raped" someone when playing COD is wrong.

CaptainMarvelous:
Now imagine that the pain never really goes away, NOW imagine some guy you don't know is arguing he should have the right to bring up all that pain whenever he feels like it and it's your fault for being there.

What I'm trying to imagine is you answer why it is ok to use the word murder or starving.

Absoloutely astonishing article right there. Kudos for speaking on behalf of all rape victims worldwide.

itsthesheppy:

As an aside, this is a good example of the opposite kind of opinion we gamers ought to have. and yes, that is a 100% subjective statement.

Glad you admitted that it was a subjective statement.

itsthesheppy:
There shouldn't be places where rape survivors 'shouldn't' go in our society. If those places exist, it should be up to all of us to eliminate them and turn them into places where they feel included. Trauma survivors have every right the rest of us do to play the games they want and it is not our place to tell them otherwise.

So what should victims of gang violence/terrorism/genocide/famine do about the kinds of words that people use online and in real life?

Well, I know it's been said often so far in this thread, and I'm not normally given to replying in such a way that repeats already expressed sentiments, but screw it, this is an author I have to support; This took a load of courage to write for you, and was extremely eye-opening.

Helmholtz Watson:

CaptainMarvelous:

Dude, has anything horrible ever happened to you? Like, so bad you can't sleep for days? If not then... I really have no way to get this across, but if SO, imagine someone kept rubbing this in your face whenever you try and play a videogame.

Dude, don't play video games if you don't want to hear it, or don't listen to what people have to say on Xbox live.

CaptainMarvelous:
Let's say you load up Halo and suddenly everyone shouts "Hey, remember when that bully beat you up and left you crying in a ditch" or "Your dog got runover, SPLAT, LOL his stupid legs twitching and confused eyes" or whatever horrible thing happened to you. If it never happened to you then there'd be no emotional reaction but if it did, hell, if it happened a few hours earlier, it'd likely really hurt.

Your not addressing why saying you "murdered" someone when you race and beat somebody Midnight Club/Project Gotham racing is ok, but saying that you "raped" someone when playing COD is wrong.

CaptainMarvelous:
Now imagine that the pain never really goes away, NOW imagine some guy you don't know is arguing he should have the right to bring up all that pain whenever he feels like it and it's your fault for being there.

What I'm trying to imagine is you answer why it is ok to use the word murder or starving.

Are you honestly comparing those two things? They're horrible words and while I wouldn't say use them, your argument lacks for two things

1)I've never heard someone describe beating someone at a race as murdering them.

2)I don't know many murder victims who play X-Box live. If someone on there WAS a murder victim I'd either call an exorcist or ask how they survived and probably not refer to my victory as killing them.

Your ignoring the very point of the reply, imagine something PERSONAL being thrown in your face every time not because you bring it up but because some guy or girl you're never going to meet just wants to use the word and doesn't give two shits. If you want to compare it to something, Rape doesn't compare to saying you murdered someone or you starvationed them, it would compare to saying to a random woman 'Hey, it's raining like a miscarriage out here. Oh, you had one? Well f*ck you, I want to use the word'. Though even that pales in comparison to the emotions Rape brings up.

Generally, we all think it's not OK to say horrible things to people. We think it's ESPECIALLY not OK to say horrible things to people that belittle their personal trauma and then say we have a right to say it more than they have a right to not be tormented by it.

Azuaron:
Rape is different from murder.

Rape is different from killing.

Rape is different from racism (which, by the by, is also never funny).

Rape is different from injury and misfortune.

If you still don't understand what I'm saying, Jim Sterling has spelled it out for you.

Generally speaking, most of these are not humorous in most situations.

But rape is never funny.

Whoa, whoa, whoa, I agree that rape is not funny, but I don't see it being worse than murder or racism. Explain to me why those can be funny but not rape.

P.S. Using Jim Sterling as a supporter of your argument can swing both ways. Yes, it can help strengthen your point with his fans, but personally my bowls recoil in anguish at the mention of a man who is doing such damage to the image of the video game industry.

Helmholtz Watson:
I would say that if hearing "I raped you" on Xbox live is too much for a person, then they shouldn't be on there to begin with because I can't imagine how a person would deal with killing virtual people in a game like COD or Halo.

You can't imagine it, huh? Well, maybe you should consider yourself lucky.

Yureina:

P.S Whoever made it so my captcha for this post be "get over it" needs to be thrown into a portable toilet and set on fire. :o

Ok, now that's just fucked up!

My captcha is much better: "have an inkling" ("considers others", in other words).

I... wow. Just wow.

First of all I just wanted to say thank you, a thousand times thank you. I can only vaguely imagine how hard that must have been for you to write, but I'm really glad that you did, because it's so rare that, in this debate, we can actually get the perspective that is the most relevant.

Second, you really have helped me gain a deeper understanding. I admit, I before have fallen into the camp of believing that rape can be used in media as a device that strengthens character. A trauma that can be overcome. Of course I was aware, like you said, in an abstract sense, that rape is a horrible, even the most horrible, experience. But I don't think I was ever truly aware of just how irrevocable the damage is. I guess it never occurred to me how even the smallest references to it could bring everything that you went through back into focus. To be honest, I should have known better. Even if I don't have your experiences, I'm from a military family and have been around people that suffer from PTSD because of things that happened to them in combat. I know it's not exactly the same, but I should have at least been able to relate on some level. I've never defended rape, or rapists. I've always found the concept and the perpetrators nothing less than vile. However, now I see that just knowing that it's a bad thing is nowhere near the same as truly understanding what it's like, and how because of this we still really aren't doing enough to address the issue.

I'm still for artistic freedom above all else, so I wouldn't actively object to rape even being featured in video-games (I mean, if we're ever going to address it right, we do need to allow it to be addressed). However, I understand now that hurtful, immature depictions of rape are not something that can just be waved away and excused. As you said, like the 'n' word, it will never be free of the emotional charge it carries.

Thank you again. I'm not easily moved, but pieces like this don't come around very often, and it's never a bad thing to gain more insight into other people's experiences, even the unpleasant ones.

Azuaron:

Doom972:
--snip--

So, you never laughed at the way someone died in a film/game/book even though a soldier in real life might have died that way? You never laughed at a racist joke? You never laughed at a stranger's misfortune?
You are either a liar or a very humorless person. since you are a member of this site, I'll assume the former. With you being a hypocrite, I politely ask that you stay away from me and everyone I know.

I don't know what it is about people misunderstanding how different words are different, so let me make this abundantly clear:

Rape is different from murder.

Rape is different from killing.

Rape is different from racism (which, by the by, is also never funny).

Rape is different from injury and misfortune.

If you still don't understand what I'm saying, Jim Sterling has spelled it out for you.

Generally speaking, most of these are not humorous in most situations.

But rape is never funny.

And hypocrisy does not mean what you think it means; for me to be a hypocrite, I'd have to be yelling at you for telling rape jokes, then telling rape jokes. I'd have to be doing the thing I'm telling you not to do, not doing a different thing. It's like calling a conservative who's against gay marriage a hypocrite because he married a woman; while similar, it's not the same thing (granted, I'd still not associate with him, hypocrite or not).

While I am considered somewhat odd in my humor, I don't think I can be labeled humorless; etymology, for instance, is often hilarious.

So a sensitive issue is funny when you say it is, and not funny when you say it is? That's perfect logic. I guess my whole bit about point of view was just nonsense!
There are plenty of sensitive subjects that can be funny in certain context to those who haven't been directly affected by them. Laughing about a joke that involves rape, isn't worse than laughing about a joke involving any other serious matter.

To clarify what I meant as hypocrisy: You probably laughed at a few jokes involving sensitive subjects which you care less about, and find some subjects inappropriate to make fun of, for a completely arbitrary reason. Simply saying that something isn't funny ever doesn't make it so.
FYI, Jim Sterling (thank god for him), isn't an actual authority in this matter.

Great article. The fact, that it was written by a man drives the point home that rape is NOT just something that happens to women. It can happen to everybody at every point of their lives.

Honestly, "rape" is definitely not on the same level as "murdered" or "killed". Rape implies that someone in a position of power asserted his dominance over someone else and emotionally and physically exploited him or her. It pretty much is one of the most horrible and scarring things somebody can do a fellow human being. It carries so much hateful and disgusting meaning that it doesn't matter if its "just" a word. It stands for something truly ugly that has to be expunged.

Helmholtz Watson:

I would say that if hearing "I raped you" on Xbox live is too much for a person, then they shouldn't be on there to begin with because I can't imagine how a person would deal with killing virtual people in a game like COD or Halo.

You can't compare killing and rape like that. They are on two completely different levels. Killing is justified in video-games with competition, self defence or with a bad guy that just needs killing. Context is provided to legitimise shooting someone in the back. As far as as media is concerned, killing is a pretty abstract thing that can mean a multitude of things to a lot of people. Its not even close to being on the same level as rape. How can one justify rape? Killing at least has a certain finality to it. Rape just stays with someone forever. I can understand children using the word to some extent because they want to be on top of the food-chain in the curse/insult arms race that is the internet. But why would a grown human even want to use it to describe the domination of a competitor. As a matter of fact, why not just use "dominate" instead? There are so many perfectly fitting words out there that can be insulting or taunting without sounding like a insensitive and ignorant asshole. (and that are also a lot funnier)

Rape is just so much more personal than murder, as strange as it sounds.

Helmholtz Watson:
What I'm trying to imagine is you answer why it is ok to use the word murder or starving.

Starving is an insult on XBox live? Like..."I totally made you...starved for kills?"

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