Why Is Sexual Violence In Games Worse Than Murder?

The question gamers are asking is why is sexual violence in games worse than murder, but the question society needs to be asking is - why is sexual violence better than murder?

I run across this question a lot when I’m reading articles about methods of addressing rape culture in the gaming industry. It’s a perfectly valid question, but one that’s usually hurled out as a silencing gambit – the last ditch attempt to stop these authors putting games under the magnifiying glass and showing the dirt they find to the world. The developers might be expected to clean, and damn it, we like a good coating of dirt.

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Dirt is natural, gritty. Dirt shows that we’re hardcore. Leave our dirt alone.

See, the problem is, there are many kinds of dirt. Some dirt is harmless, we know it won’t do us any harm if we eat some for a laugh. We’ve been doing it since we were kids, but we know not to go shoveling great piles of that dirt into our mouths or the mouths of others, because that’s gross and wrong.

But some dirt becomes mold, that insidiously creeps into the cracks in our tiles and grows underfoot until it’s everywhere, and it’s toxic and poisonous and we’re breathing it in all the time. It creeps up on you, until one day you’re at the doctor’s office hacking up a lung and they tell you that the cordyceps spores are in your system and you’re gonna turn into a clicker in the next twenty-four hours.

Should have called the cleaner sooner, huh?

In my opinion, standard violence in games is like eating standard dirt. It’s messy and gritty, but fun and harmless. People know they can’t just drive down the street hitting old ladies with baseball bats while leaning out their car window. Even if that scenario is okay by your moral code, society takes a rather dim view of murder and maiming. There are consequences, and everyone knows them. 

Sexual violence, though, is the mold. It might look like normal dirt to start with, and again it’s harmless in small amounts, sprinkled lightly through a franchise for the right reasons. But when it spreads and becomes the endemic lurking unseen at the edges of our awareness, poisoning the air we breathe and the games we play, then it becomes a problem. Because, for whatever reason, society doesn’t take the same universally dim view to sexual assault that it does to run of the mill violence. People cover up the mold, justify its existence. The roof is leaky. The neighborhood is bad, the homeowners didn’t coat the walls with the right repellant. Really, they were asking for it.

And it’s everywhere, so what did they expect to happen? It was inevitable.

No one tells the grandma that she was asking to get hit with a baseball bat by some random loon on a joyride, do they? Why is sexual violence different?

The question gamers are asking is why is sexual violence in games worse than murder, but the question society needs to be asking is – why is sexual violence better than murder?  

Because that’s the fundamental misunderstanding that a lot of gamers seem to have. It’s not that sexual violence is inherently worse than other kinds, it’s that it’s everywhere, and people view it as a fact of life and therefore it’s not a big deal. Get over it and move on. 

When someone is murdered, or assaulted, there’s usually a big part of the newspaper or evening report dedicated to it. How often does that happen with sexual assault? Not very, unless it’s especially brutal or there’s a serial rapist on the loose. 

The point is, sexual violence has gotten to the point where it is accepted as a part of society, by virtue of being so widespread. 1 in 3 women are sexually assaulted at some point. 1 in 12 men. And yet, so many people are afraid to report their attackers. Why? This  graphic might help with that. 

And that’s just in the UK. As you can see, there’s a lot more nuance to sexual violence than there is with other varieties. People are a lot less hesitant to report it when they get shanked. Even if their girlfriend did it. 

Sexual assault of all kinds is a serious issue, a global epidemic and one that, as you can plainly see above, isn’t getting the attention it needs and deserves. It’s certainly not something to be made light of or thrown into a game just to add some extra grit.

So maybe we should take a closer look at the industry, run the mop around a little bit. If not for ourselves, then for all the people who might have been personally exposed to the mold in the past, and are sensitive to relapses. We can have some dirt, just let’s try to keep the general standard of hygiene high. 

 

 


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Author
Catrana
Hi, and thanks for stopping by! My name is Cheyenne Palmes. I’m a twenty year old undergraduate at CQUniversity with a passion for gaming, cats, equality and chai lattes. One day, I would love to work for Bioware, while still working on my own, independent gaming projects.