The R Word

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Azuaron:

Cheering "Rape!" during an attempted rape scene? That's messed up.

Anonymous, get new friends, ones who aren't psychopaths1.

Whoa, hold it there. I have great friends who are extremely kind to me and are definitely not psychopaths. My point in using this as an example wasn't to show how my friends were cruel to me, but to show how even people who I care deeply about and choose to be close to can fall into not treating rape seriously because it's just not a real thing for them. To them, it's something they see in movies or hear about, not something that happens to flesh-and-blood people who are in the room with them.

Ask any of my friends what they think of rape and they'll tell you it's a horrible act that should be punished with a high degree of severity. However, when they're at a party, liquored up and being silly, even they can fall into the cultural meme of making it a joke. (Especially watching Game of Thrones, which, let's admit, is kind of a rape-y show.)

That's the point: I don't think anyone who uses the term "rape" inappropriately are bad people, they just don't "get it" because it's never been a reality for them.

FoolKiller:

You yourself have decided to not only remain anonymous within the realm of this article/discussion but also within your circle of friends (as you have mentioned the Game of Thrones incident). When people use the term online during a game, watching a show, or on the courts they are not doing it with any malice more than any other form of trash talk or vulgar humour.

I understand that people's intention can be non-malicious, in fact, I think that's most often the case. However, the arrow shot in sport still wounds. Unfortunately, in this case the word itself dredges up negative feelings and serves to trivialize something which many people already do not take seriously.

DVS BSTrD:
And why are you willing to tell complete strangers about this anonymously when you don't even tell your friends? I know being a rape victim isn't something to advertise, but the only reason they "couldn't have known" is if YOU made a conscious decision NOT to tell them. If these people are important to you then you really should have told them how you felt. Conforming to the societal norm that rape is something the victim should be ashamed of just makes it stronger.

I can understand why you would be confused by this. Actually, it can become very complicated who I do and don't tell. While I don't think it's something to be ashamed of per se, it does heavily change people's perceptions of you and frankly some people just aren't prepared to handle it. I've had friends grow distant after I've told them about my experiences, and others become guilty that they'd made rape and molestation jokes in front of me, or emailed me things that made me uncomfortable.

Unfortunately, a large group of friends making rape jokes is pretty much the worst time to tell them that you don't appreciate them, and that you're hurt because of experiences from your past. This is the worst time because 1) you've killed everyone's mood, and 2) you have to do this as part of a you-against-the-group speech, and that's not the ideal time to tell something personal about yourself. Also, as I mentioned before, you can't always trust everyone to handle it well. It's best to tell your friends individually, after the fact, that you had a problem with this behavior. In my experience, they take that pretty well, though you run the risk of them surmising you're a rape victim simply by stating you have a problem with rape jokes (body language always gives you away).

As for writing the article anonymously: recently several writers who have written on this or similar subjects have been harassed not only in the comments sections but on their blogs, on social media, by email, and even with having their Wikipedia pages defaced. I'd rather that not happen, thanks. Is it a little cowardly? Yeah, I think so, but I think it's also prudent.

Iron Lightning:

itsthesheppy:

All I will say that it is poor form to tell someone else that the way they cope is inferior because it is different from yours. I feel for what's happened to you and I fully recognize that I could never truly understand it, but attacking someone who has just painfully revealed something tragic about themselves in an appeal for a community that is more inclusive is bad form.

Cope? I'm not coping. I'm fine, I'm cured insofar as it possible to be. Coping is what people who can't get over it do. Mr. Anonymous is not over it. If he ever wants to get over it then he simply has to face his fears. That's not just my experience. It's the prevailing psychological theory.

So, it's bad form to tell a person that they need to stop living in fear. It's bad form to tell a person that they need to get over being a victim.

Then it must be good form to reinforce the person through hollow sympathy and leave him so terrified that the mere mention of rape turns the person into a quivering mess. Yep, that's really nice.

Look, I'm happy you are feeling fine and fully healed from the trauma you experienced. that does not give you license to attack someone else because they are not handling it as well as you are. You need to understand that people handle things differently, and confronting them isn't doing them any favors. They need to heal at their own pace. You may think that you are giving them 'tough love' but all you're really doing is making their lives tougher.

You need to either let them heal as best they can, or ask how you can help. Simply barging in and shouting at them and calling them named and accusing them of cowardice only makes you out to be an unpleasant person who is best avoided.

CaptainKarma:

Are you being deliberately obtuse? They are different reasons. Yes, both words are tactless to use, but trivialising rape has worse effects than trivialising murder. I am not saying that murder is an okay word to use, I am saying that rape is a worse word to use. And that focusing on the minor reasons (tactlessness) is silly an we should focus on the more severe reasons (like horrifying flashbacks).

The article says something similar, I have no idea what your issue with it is.

My issue is that if you say that words which may cause violent flashbacks are not okay to use then we would lose the use of words such as "murder," "kill," "rape," "stab," "dominate," "fuck," "eviscerate," "lacerate," "hit," "beat," etc. I don't like that idea.

It's a tough one alright.

I mean sure, people online who use the world "rape" when describing how well they beat another player may be uncomfortable for someone who was actually raped but at the same time, those people don't know that anyone they're playing with was raped.

We can't go and get pissed off at people for not being sensitive to an issue that they aren't even aware exists. What's the solution to that? Nobody uses the word "rape" on the off chance that someone, somewhere might be offended?

I felt physically ill while reading this thing. And it's not like I'm unacquainted with suffering or death. But this whole article...
Fuck it. I'll just get me a shot of vodka.
Great work though. Some things kind of have to be said, no matter how many people are going to throw up in righteous disgust. I... fuck it, I'm not one to feel sorry for people I've never even met. But you have my condolences.
... also is it wrong that reading about people doing extremely fucked up (well, let's just say it: evil) things makes me want to, well, kill them for it? Am I a bad person for wanting to find that fucker and put a bullet in his head?

Thank you for doing this.

You're remarkably brave.

Toilet:
I'm confused, was the person writing a man or a woman? I read the word "raped" and I think the person writing this article is a women but then I read "girlfriend" and then I think it's a dude. (Oh wait, I caught on it's a dude).

Rape is bad and I will make sure not to rape people when I meet them; I understand that, it is common decency not to rape people just after shaking their hand. Here is my problem with rape is the major advertisement of "rape culture" (which is a silly pseudo word that can be used to deflate the argument of any opinion ie. "you are just a supporter of rape culture.") kills the meaning and significance of rape and rape accusations.

People are taking rape less seriously because apparently the more something happens the less significant is it, we didn't have all this nonsense about rape culture 10 or 20 years ago. There was no grey area with rape and it was all the more serious of a subject. I picture rape where a the victim is dragged off into an alley or bushes and violently violated and left to rot in a pool of filth.

I don't picture rape where a drunk women has a night full of sex in her bed with a guy and wakes up in the morning not remembering whether she consented.

Also there is people who lie about rape which hurts it much more. I suggest you read into a dude called Brian Banks for more on that subject.

I'm not really sure you quite get what rape culture is. For example, your example of what you consider rape (the alleyway example) represents a tiny minority of rape cases. The vast, vast majority of rapes are committed by people who know the victim, who either pressure, coerce, trick, or otherwise take advantage of the victim. It is almost never a case of a random assault.

Rape culture is one in which victims face accusation. Where women are told not to dress provocatively because it invites sexual assault. Where the default feeling seems to almost always be that the victim is lying to get attention (which happens in 3% of all cases). A culture where using the word "rape" as a jokey synonym for losing or defeating an opponent, where rape jokes are shared between friends in a casual atmosphere. Where the language of belittling and objectifying women is commonplace.

All of these are ingredients in the soup of rape culture. Ironically, the example you listed "not being rape" is far closer to how rapes are committed; intoxicated women (and men, on occasion) who are taken advantage of against their will. This is why the responsibility lies largely with men (as the far-and-away lead perpetrator in rape cases) to be responsible; to not see intoxicated women as potential targets, to accept "no" when it is said the first time, to discourage the use of rape jokes and chauvinistic language.

anthony87:
It's a tough one alright.

I mean sure, people online who use the world "rape" when describing how well they beat another player may be uncomfortable for someone who was actually raped but at the same time, those people don't know that anyone they're playing with was raped.

We can't go and get pissed off at people for not being sensitive to an issue that they aren't even aware exists. What's the solution to that? Nobody uses the word "rape" on the off chance that someone, somewhere might be offended?

Yes. That is ABSOLUTELY the solution.

Isn't that what people normally do? Keep one set of jokes for close friends, keep in mind what acquaintances won't find funny, and be completely clean around random people?

I was deeply moved by this, truly.

When I finished reading and reflected, though, I thought of that legendary line from Shakespeare "What's in a name?" Sure, you touched on the point that the definition of words change over time, but the fact of the matter is is that the word "rape" isn't used in malice or cruelty or intentionally used to cause upset. The only reason it causes upset is that those who immediately correlate the word with their own horrific experiences -- like yourself. Indeed, I'd say that although some gamers could use some soap in their mouths, conflating words (abstract concepts, on their own) with experiences may very well lead to difficulty in any element of life.

Trivialising rape is bad, of course. But using the word rape in a completely different context as many gamers do shouldn't attract as much upset. I remember something Charlie Chaplain once said: "Laughter is the tonic, the relief, the surcease for pain." If we let concepts and ideas hurt us so, we truly give in to them. We must laugh at them, ultimately. In a sense, gamers have come to embody this; in the face of every atrocity and tragedy, the general reaction is to laugh at it in some new and creative way in defiance of sadness and shock.

My interpretation, anyway. I know, I'm a psuedo-intellectual fuck.

^^^^^ That may be all well and good, but, like reclaiming racial epithets, that is not your call to make

Iron Lightning:

CaptainKarma:

Are you being deliberately obtuse? They are different reasons. Yes, both words are tactless to use, but trivialising rape has worse effects than trivialising murder. I am not saying that murder is an okay word to use, I am saying that rape is a worse word to use. And that focusing on the minor reasons (tactlessness) is silly an we should focus on the more severe reasons (like horrifying flashbacks).

The article says something similar, I have no idea what your issue with it is.

My issue is that if you say that words which may cause violent flashbacks are not okay to use then we would lose the use of words such as "murder," "kill," "rape," "stab," "dominate," "fuck," "eviscerate," "lacerate," "hit," "beat," etc. I don't like that idea.

I wouldn't threaten to stab someone in jest if they'd been stabbed. I would do it to a friend who hadn't been stabbed, maybe wave a pen around like a knife and make comically exaggerated stabbing gestures. It's about context, knowing your audience, and the severity/liklihood of triggering them.

Edit: For the rape culture guy, check out http://oforganon.tumblr.com/post/11150747104/to-all-those-men-who-dont-think-the-rape-jokes-are-a it's just one example, but its pretty sharp.

upgray3dd:

anthony87:
It's a tough one alright.

I mean sure, people online who use the world "rape" when describing how well they beat another player may be uncomfortable for someone who was actually raped but at the same time, those people don't know that anyone they're playing with was raped.

We can't go and get pissed off at people for not being sensitive to an issue that they aren't even aware exists. What's the solution to that? Nobody uses the word "rape" on the off chance that someone, somewhere might be offended?

Yes. That is ABSOLUTELY the solution.

Isn't that what people normally do? Keep one set of jokes for close friends, keep in mind what acquaintances won't find funny, and be completely clean around random people?

Well I can't speak for "people" but it's not what I do. I'll generally talk about anything unless I know that it's a sensitive issue for who I'm talking to and when I say that I literally mean the people I'm talking to. I'm not going to worry about the random strangers standing around me within earshot, the people who walk by me, the people who are in the queue in front of me or behind me and most certainly not the other people in an online game I'm playing.

itsthesheppy:

Look, I'm happy you are feeling fine and fully healed from the trauma you experienced. that does not give you license to attack someone else because they are not handling it as well as you are. You need to understand that people handle things differently, and confronting them isn't doing them any favors. They need to heal at their own pace. You may think that you are giving them 'tough love' but all you're really doing is making their lives tougher.

You need to either let them heal as best they can, or ask how you can help. Simply barging in and shouting at them and calling them named and accusing them of cowardice only makes you out to be an unpleasant person who is best avoided.

Healing, you say. Mr. Anonymous here doesn't believe he can heal. He thinks he'll always be this way as evidenced by this paragraph:

Anonymous:
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.

Clearly, he does not think that he can heal. This means that, by his own admission, however he's been trying to heal has not worked at all. Considering that his method of healing is based on avoidance and repression, this is not surprising. People don't always know how to heal themselves perfectly. If they did then there would be no use for psychologists. Someone who doesn't think they can heal shouldn't be left to their own devices to heal because it won't work.

Also, I'm not doing anything that could be described as barging into Anonymous' room. All I'm doing is posting a comment on his thread that he probably won't even read. Also, sometimes you have to use slightly harsh language to get through to people.

Was I being rude? Yes, I certainly was. Sometimes that's the only way that works, though.

I've been reading articles and watching videos on the escapist for a long time. I've never registered because I never felt a desire to comment or anything. But now's a little different. What you wrote is really powerful and what it must have taken to write it... I know it had to be rough.

I went through a trauma that was very similar and very different when I was little. It was a family member. Someone I loved and respected at the time. And when it happened I didn't know what to do. Years and years went by and I never said anything. He passed away even and still I didn't speak up. I didn't want it to be real. I had this image of this person and everyone in my family adored him too, and then that happened and. I don't know. I couldn't break that image.

My fiance is a victim too. I never knew until I went to a family reunion with her and she saw one of her attackers making nice with the rest of the family. He said hi to her and gave her a hug. And then she apologized for not feeling too well and asked me to take her home. She was shaking the whole ride back. And then we shared these secrets we just couldn't tell anyone else.

But beyond the events I'm not sure the ripples really effected our lives. We continued as if nothing ever happened. In fact I saw Jimquisition earlier in the day and I actually couldn't see the big deal. I felt like, as someone who's been there and moved on, I could see something like rape in a game and not have it hurt me. My fiance and I have been talking about it since the tomb raider controversy started and we kind of thought it was silly. But then I read this article.

I think a thing like this, like anything really, can affect people in wildly different ways. My fiance has no problems with intimacy or lingering issues resulting from the attack. I too don't have them. It always felt to me like old wounds. I never felt psychically crippled. But what you said about triggers. That kind of scares me I guess. I haven't come by one, but she has a few times. For her it's people who resemble her attackers and this one kind of car. She's fine all the time, but then she see's something like that and it takes her back to that place for a stomach churning instant. I've never had to "relive" what happened to me. Even now I'm pretty cold and methodical about the whole thing. But the thought of having to revisit those old feelings, the sadness and betrayal, the guilt and the fear, the doubt. That bothers me and makes me uncomfortable even writing this.

I suppose I want to thank you? For opening my eyes at least. Maybe for me or her or a person who's never had to live through that a rape scene doesn't mean much. But if it could throw other people back into that place in their mind, that's terrible. And really I never considered it before reading this.

A terrible article with dangerous ramifications, and I demand an opportunity to provide a counterpoint even though I know I will not be allowed one.

I just want to say that I think the tomb raider issue is a tricky one that has been clarified by this article. I can't imagine how hard it was to write this, and I commend the author.

The way I see it, both arguments have merit. On one hand, They are trying to humanize a character who, before now, has been a sexualized cardboard cut out in terms of depth. This may not be the most elegant way to go about it, but I think they are going somewhat in the right direction, if they are careful about it. one way to humanize a character is to put them into human situations. If the scene shows how terrible the act is, it may re-sensitize people to it, make them understand what they couldn't without using the unique medium of games.

on the other hand, the automatic hardship for women should most certainly not be rape, especially considering that I'll bet that there are not any people making this game that can understand the experience. I'm glad that is the case, of course. I don't want anyone to go through what the author has described. But that also means they have no right to portray it. I read an article earlier that says writers should make a character, flesh them out, and give them personality, then make them female. because rape is not gender neutral, rape is not something that should be a challenge to get over, and it is not something that can be taken lightly.

I think the part of this article that hit me close to home was this "Imagine if someone captured your flag or dominated you in deathmatch, then rubbed in your face how your sister was killed by a drunk driver or your dad abandoned you when you were little. That's how close it cuts."

My cousin was killed in a car crash with an ambulance a few years ago. every time my aunt or uncle hears a siren, they begin shaking. I still get a pit in my stomach and a slight sick feeling every time I'm reminded about it.

I have used the term in online gaming. this has made me understand how that feels. I will never do so again. thank you author for making this clear to me. thank you for putting your vulnerability for the world to see. thank you, and I'm sorry.

Fluoxetine:
A terrible article with dangerous ramifications, and I demand an opportunity to provide a counterpoint even though I know I will not be allowed one.

....provide it here maybe?

thank you for writing this.

Iron Lightning:

So, it's bad form to tell a person that they need to stop living in fear. It's bad form to tell a person that they need to get over being a victim.

It's bad form to assume that another person can do what you did. The nature of the crime perpetrated against you and against Anon are similar to each other in pain and circumstance, but there is a key difference: you are you, and Anon is Anon. Trying to say that another person, with a different mind, personality, and upbringing should be able to 'get over it' because *you* could is bad form. I would never assume that someone else can do what I did in my life, because no two people are exactly alike - even identical twins.

And whether or not you 'recover' is certainly *not* due to strength of character. I mentioned upthread that I've worked with torture victims, and the variety of long-term results and coping mechanisms is eye-opening, since they're not all what you'd expect. I've talked with Marines who cry every night for years because of what they went through, and 'normal', untrained civilians who, after a few months of 'dealing with it', picked themselves up and got on with their lives, like you did. One reaction does not, and should not, invalidate the other. Bootstrappiness shouldn't be applied to recovering from this level of trauma. Some people get over physical and sexual trauma better than others. I certainly recovered much easier from mine than a lot of people I've worked with.

In short: berating a victim for being a victim is kinda just... well, proving that you are so proud that you 'got over it' and were so driven to overcome the trauma (for which I applaud and congratulate you, by the way, with all sincerity - good for you!) that you lost a tiny bit of humanity along the way, for which I am sorry. Everyone is different in their skills, their tastes, their preference for ice cream flavor... so it seems a bit disingenuous to assume that everyone has the same capacity for dealing with these kind of horrible situations.

I'm truly glad you were able to move past what was done to you, but don't assume that compassion for another is an enabler of victimhood. The most abused person I know denies completely that they were ever a victim, accuses others of having the 'victim mentality'... and then blames all their shortcomings on others because it's never their fault. So, it can go both ways.

Iron Lightning:

itsthesheppy:

Look, I'm happy you are feeling fine and fully healed from the trauma you experienced. that does not give you license to attack someone else because they are not handling it as well as you are. You need to understand that people handle things differently, and confronting them isn't doing them any favors. They need to heal at their own pace. You may think that you are giving them 'tough love' but all you're really doing is making their lives tougher.

You need to either let them heal as best they can, or ask how you can help. Simply barging in and shouting at them and calling them named and accusing them of cowardice only makes you out to be an unpleasant person who is best avoided.

Healing, you say. Mr. Anonymous here doesn't believe he can heal. He thinks he'll always be this way as evidenced by this paragraph:

Anonymous:
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.

Clearly, he does not think that he can heal. This means that, by his own admission, however he's been trying to heal has not worked at all. Considering that his method of healing is based on avoidance and repression, this is not surprising. People don't always know how to heal themselves perfectly. If they did then there would be no use for psychologists. Someone who doesn't think they can heal shouldn't be left to their own devices to heal because it won't work.

Also, I'm not doing anything that could be described as barging into Anonymous' room. All I'm doing is posting a comment on his thread that he probably won't even read. Also, sometimes you have to use slightly harsh language to get through to people.

Was I being rude? Yes, I certainly was. Sometimes that's the only way that works, though.

I typed out a reply in which I decided to take your advice and I wrote out about two paragraphs of stuff I later read and deleted, because it made me sound like a total jerk. I will instead only say that whatever brand of therapy you are offering, I can't see anyone wanting. You're welcome to open your own "shout at trauma victims until they feel better, through magic" practice, and best of luck to you.

CaptainKarma:

I wouldn't threaten to stab someone in jest if they'd been stabbed. I would do it to a friend who hadn't been stabbed, maybe wave a pen around like a knife and make comically exaggerated stabbing gestures. It's about context, knowing your audience, and the severity/liklihood of triggering them.

Exactly, my friend. Now, pray tell, in a situation where the audience is unknown (as in, say, a random session of Halo 3) is it alright to say "stab" despite not knowing if you'll trigger a harmful reaction or not?

Anonymous:
The R Word

The rape discussion isn't part of a "feminist agenda."

Read Full Article

Dear gods thank you. I've written my own blog posts on my own actual rape experiences and I don't think it will hit people as much as this article will. Thank you for having the courage to write about WHY people don't like hearing that "they've been raped" or whatever. I've told a few of my friends that I've been raped once but I can't manage to tell two of my friends that one of their friends they hooked me up with raped me.

Edit:

jemima101:
An amazing article, and explanation of why words matter. I have been very uncomfortable with the terminology of BDSm for quite a while, words like rape play are bandied around with no understanding of what rape is. I wish everyone could read this article and understand more about the emotions survivors live with.

Not everyone who uses the term rape play falls under that umbrella. A lot of us who use that term understand the full meaning of it. I'm comfortable with it if the person understands what rape is.

Steve Butts:

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.

Different people, different places, different things allowed.
Basically you don't use the same kind of language in every social interaction. In my family, for example, my kind of speech is closer to my father's than to my mother's.
I guess what is happening is that the gaming and internet community is discussing and developing their own good manners and costumes.
My own rule in the internet is to behave like I am always meeting a new person. So the harsh jokes and language are saved for a moment where I got to know thm better.
Maybe the online guilds and clans should just post to anyone before entering the kind of language that is acceptable there. Going from the whole spectrum:

"Queen of England"< ---------------------------------------------------------- >"4Chan"

Susan Arendt:

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.

And if murder or killing was something that the person in question had experienced personally, you might have a point. But you're comparing a virtual violent act with an actual trauma that someone went through - a comparison so off point that I'm forced to wonder if you're even trying to understand the core argument, or just brushing it off.

Agreed that they just entered a game where there's killing but not raping. But mind that people getting confused in why virtual killing is alright but virtual raping is not, is because the act of murder is viewed as also being an extreme act of cruelty in the same level of rape so they are weirded out by this.

After all, killing (justified or not) is also an assertion of power over someone. You deny the existence of a person not allowing her to have nothing anymore: love, hate, sex, stress, joy, sadness. You deny them even the right of complaining since the dead don't talk.

Words are words, and they can be - and often are - used intentionally to hurt people. I am, however, a firm believer in the philosophy that words can only wound if you let them. It's the same reason I don't hesitate to use the word "cunt" any more then I do to use the word "dick" or "fuck". I curse, not often (Because my lexicon isn't so diminutive as to require it), but I curse. It is my prerogative to do so.

And yet, using the word "Rape" as gamers often do does strike me as more than a little bit off-center. Am I a rape survivor? No, I haven't had that misfortune. I do know rape survivors, though. A disproportionate amount of women I have dated/pursued/had sex with have told me they are survivors. I was even falsely accused of it. Once. Fortunately, I've never had to convince a court of that, because I was never officially charged. I think it was just leveled at me to harm my reputation. Which is weird, because this was high school, I was a virgin, and had just moved to town, so nobody even knew me. That, and it didn't work. So, I have some experience in the subject. Not a lot, but some.

Regarding the Courts: A person very close to me - that is to say, the woman I am currently dating - was recently devastated after he rapist was found "Not Guilty" on all thirteen counts of rape and molestation leveled against him. The Guilty DO walk, and they do it very, very often.

Why do gamers even use the word "rape" at all in the context that they do? It's not technically accurate. It's not even close to accurate. I understand some level of separation from technical accuracy, "I", instead of "My character", for instance, but the games in question are often fanatically violence-centric. "Murdered" is appropriate in these context, I think (It's the one I tend to use, anyway), "Kicked [your/his/their] ass(es)" also works - why do people drop the rape-bomb? Maybe it's that "game culture" is so blatantly, backwards and sexually immature that it's just the thing? That's... really the only answer I can think of. It's also totally reprehensible. One the same level as "Oh no, there's gay sex in ME3" is reprehensible.
Of course, reprehensible only has one level on my little internal bookshelf of values, so that that as thou wilt.

Letting the arrow strike you - to steal from Anon's metaphor from the top of page 5 - is partially your fault, yes. I say this even with my personal experiance with the subject readily at hand. I walk on eggshells and poke and prod to try and not trip any of my SO's triggers, but she (In fact, they) have always played it cool when I did - accidentally. They didn't freeze up, traumatized. They let me know what I did, they let me know that I was pouring lemon juice on a wound and not suturing it, as was probably my intent.

Articles like this are an unfortunate necessity for the gaming culture - but, Anon, it's your civil obligation to tell people that such casual indifference isn't right. The world is a cruel, hard place, populated with cruel, but soft people. Why lament the arrow wound? Why not remove the bow? Why not invest in some armour? "Not cool, guys" isn't hard to say when your friends scream "rape" at the Television, hell, I do that. People chill right the hell out as soon as their callousness has been dragged into the light.

Excellent article. Excellent First Step.
Now how about everyone here helps our Anonymous friend fight? How about we say "not cool, man" every once in a while, eh?

I commend this article and its writer for doing such fine work and being brave enough to step forward. At times, there are ways in which I can understand when things happen around you they bring back memories or feelings we'd rather leave. While mine may have not been real I still get a feeling in my head like it's happening to me.

Mine started with a simple nightmare when I was young of being tortured. i won't go into details but what has stuck with me for the longest time was the feeling of my torturer putting a knife to my forehead. Ever since then, every time I see such an event I am reminded of it and it really disturbs me to the point where I can't think of anything else. But what bothers me the most about it I feel as though I can feel what happened in my dream. I can't accurately describe what happens but I do find it strange.
While it might have been insensitive to equate that to what this writer has gone through, to me it feels as if I can understand a little of what the writer has felt when such a sensitive issue comes up.

And I want to point out to all people who don't feel as if issues such as what happened to this author can happen to both genders is radically insensitive to the victims and need to have their eyes opened to what is going on around them.

It heartens me so much to see so many people posting support for this article. It's easy to feel glum over the one or two naysayers, and miss the scores coming out in support.

anthony87:

Fluoxetine:
A terrible article with dangerous ramifications, and I demand an opportunity to provide a counterpoint even though I know I will not be allowed one.

....provide it here maybe?

I'm on probation already and every time I provide an opinion contrary to the popular one I get reported.

Not really much to say about this article other than thank you, author, for writing it.

Why should we have rape in video games anyway. It's like peanut butter if peanut butter tasted like Styrofoam. Just... no.

Fluoxetine:

anthony87:

Fluoxetine:
A terrible article with dangerous ramifications, and I demand an opportunity to provide a counterpoint even though I know I will not be allowed one.

....provide it here maybe?

I'm on probation already and every time I provide an opinion contrary to the popular one I get reported.

You might want to work on your delivery? Or perhaps you should consider the opinions you have on things, and why the things you say might negatively affect people?

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.

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.

Hi Iron Lightning. A few things:

I think you're being misled by my being a self-described "rape victim." I understand how you could take this to mean I'm living my life with an attitude of victimization, but nothing could be further from the truth. I tend to use the words "rape victim" to describe myself because it helps me to remember that I was the victim of a crime. I realize that others prefer the term "rape survivor" because it has more empowering connotations, but that's never really sat right with me -- people "survive" natural events like hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes, things brought on by fate, whereas rape isn't a natural part of life: it's a conscious choice someone made to hurt you. When I realized that my experience was the fault of a specific person who did something society specifically set out a punishment for, it helped me come to terms with it better.

Believe me, I'm not "living in fear." If I was, would I be telling my story on the Internet? (I decided to be Anonymous mostly because of the social media/comments backlash some people have experienced when talking about this subject.)

I doubt anyone who knew me would say I have a "victim's" outlook on the world. I'm very successful, I'm highly extroverted, and I don't shy away from difficult subjects or topics. I'm adventurous and travel a lot. I'm social and have many friends, and after understanding better what was causing me problems in the arena of dating, I actually figured out that I was really good at it. In fact, even at my worst I was always doing excellent work and having a pretty good time -- despite that, I had things bubbling under the surface.

The fact that there are still things that bother me about my abuse doesn't contradict anything in the paragraph above. There's nothing wrong with the fact that I still have some things to work out, or find certain words hurtful. And hearing "rape" doesn't make me dissolve into a puddle of tears, it just makes it less fun to play games -- sometimes a little less fun, often a lot less fun, depending on my mood. Like everyone, I have good days and bad days. Sure, facing your fears is great, but I want to face them on my terms, not be forced into it on Xbox Live when I'm trying to relax.

I'm really sorry about what happened to you, and I'm glad you feel you're entirely recovered, (I always hesitate to use that word myself, since I've thought I was "recovered" before, only to have my symptoms get worse) and frankly some of the stuff you went through makes my episodes of depression sound like small beer. Hope all continues to go well, I appreciate how aggressively you've gone after life.

This is a fantastic and courageous article, and it sickens me that people in this thread are trying to derail the discussion by getting back to the 'feminist agenda' and calling people hypocrites because they have no problem with words pertaining to ordinary violence.

I would argue that traditionally gaming culture has evolved a language of its own that highlights how it has disconnected from the language of violence. Words like 'frag', 'gib', 'own/pwn' have different connotations outside of the online FPS community, and don't generally cause offence to anyone. When used in game, it is understood semantically that they only pertain to violence in the game itself, and the mental script they activate is roughly analogous to trash talking in sports. That's the cognitive process that allows people to engage in competitive behaviour without actually expressing violent intentions.

However, to take a word that already has extremely violent connotations and try to supplant it with some new meaning that fits this mental script, where it is understood as violence that doesn't actually hurt anyone, is an expressly dangerous precedent. What we now know through cognitive science is that certain words trigger a part of the brain called the amygdala that is associated with survival mechanics, controlling things like the release of adrenaline, and that over-use of these words dampens the effect of the effect of the amygdala. In other words, it is physiologically possible to water-down the effect of language in the brain.

Rape is a word that should not be diluted with additional levels of meaning in particular contexts. Rape is a serious, psychologically damaging crime, and one major issue that persists in regards to rape is the issue of victims not being taken seriously. If we allow the word 'rape' a pass in online gaming because we know people only mean it analogously, we are contributing to a process that strips away a physiological reaction to the term 'rape', one that helps people take it seriously as a crime.

It's... Possibly one of the most profound and thought-provoking articles I've ever read. It's fantastic, and that insight is very much needed at this point. It was brave of you to pull through and write it, such bravery isn't exactly commonplace. You have said something that really needed to be said. Thank you.

It does put certain things in perspective, of course. People do throw around very strong and meaningful words very carelessly these days, and even more in a semi-anonymous enviroment. Many probably don't mean any harm whatsoever, but just haven't stopped to think what the words mean, or what they could mean to someone else. And articles like this is a great aid towards making sure those people are enlightened about it, and ultimately stop using words like rape so haphazardly, to the benefit of everyone. Most people are good people, and in the end, they want to do the right thing.

Some people, though... Honestly, the day I'd live to see someone put their right to shout "rape" as a random slur on the internet over other people's well being... Their right to remain juvenile and to keep their mislabled feeling of "independence" does not trump not making people miserable. It's just a few words to avoid saying in a needless context. It's simple, but not even that tiny contribution for their fellow human beings can they manage...

They are few, but there are real monsters out there. They disgust me.

Again, thank you. I needed to read this. I think the internet as a whole should read this.

I want to thank the author for having the courage to invite us into his world and help us understand what people who go through things like that endure.

Also, thank you for making the argument I had with my friend regarding this subject much easier. Now I can link him to this and go "That's why".

CaptainKarma:
^^^^^ That may be all well and good, but, like reclaiming racial epithets, that is not your call to make

[/quote]

I'll just assume this was directed towards me, I being the guy directly above.

So the way language is used isn't the call of the speakers? I use the word "nigger" when talking to my white friends in a white setting with levity and joy; why? Because it's naturally evolved to be a word we use in discussions. Language and the way it's utilised isn't "called", it develops independently and freely based upon those who use it.

I'm not calling for people to change their definition of rape; but it seems a lot of people are expanding it's definition and using it in more and more circumstance. That's the natural development of language, right there; it changes based on the users.

That supplements my argument very nicely. So yes, we must remain filled with levity lest we live in fear and start speaking with edicts and consensus.

Very well done. I can't say I empathize or understand how it feels but you made quite the impact on me. Thank you for the article, Anonymous.

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