Questions were raised a few weeks ago over whether internet retailer Amazon has the right to ‘dictate’ what we can and cannot buy. The company decided to withdraw sale of Japanese ‘virtual rape’ game Rapelay after complaints from customers led the retailer to fear that the sale of such a thing was “inappropriate”. Damn right it’s inappropriate. Why was it even made, never mind distributed and sold?
It seems to have divided opinion. There are those (such as myself) that think that rape is absolutely one of the most harrowing, distressing things that anyone can go through, and to make a game out of it, and out of women’s suffering in such situations is disgusting. But then there are those who think that its just some wacky Japanese thing, and besides, games like Grand Theft Auto allow you to kill people, and though there have been oppositions to this, its still freely available. Rape obviously isn’t as bad as being murdered, is it? Well, no, its not. Nothings as bad as being murdered, I would have thought.
The game involves trapping and raping a woman and then forcing her to have an abortion. If you do these things correctly, you “win”. If you don’t, she throws you under a train and its game over. Lets imagine that there’s a 15 year old rape victim out there, who has been sexually assaulted and is very sensitive about that. She finds it hard being with the opposite sex, she doesn’t feel comfortable in her own skin anymore, she can’t trust anyone, she gets flashbacks at night making it hard for her to sleep, she’s shutting people out and she feels completely alone. However, she is smart enough to know that it was not her fault, that she did nothing to provoke the attack. What is she meant to think when she sees this game glorifying the rapist, heaping praise upon him for successfully attacking the woman? That he’s somehow won? Will boys think that too? Like it’s one big game, rape her and hurrah! Have a medal! I know that despite the media (mostly The Daily Mail, it has to be said) saying over and over again that video games make people imitate what they see, I don’t believe that playing Grand Theft Auto is going to make you go out and kill someone (and if someone does do that, I believe that he or she probably would have done it anyway, with our without the game) and similarily, I don’t believe that playing any rape simulator is going to make you go out and rape someone (some newspaper will probably unearth a story about someone who has, but then its an isolated case and as I said, the person is probably was messed up enough to do it before anyway). That’s not the problem here, the problem is that the game promotesrape, its message seems to be that its a fun pastime and its ok – it must be if its being passed as entertainment, right?
I understand that there are rape scenes in countless movies and novels. But as a general rule, they are not making light of the situation and actively encouraging it, almost as a sport, like this game does. You can even see tears glistening in the little girl’s eyes (oh yes, one of the girls you have to ‘win over’ is little more than a teenager) as you force her to have sex with you.
How did we get from banning even kissing on screen to this?
(This is an interesting review of the game that details exactly what happens in it, btw)