Why is rape in gaming largely ignored?

Inglorious891

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As gender topics are all the rage recently, there's one topic in particular I've seen that is almost never brought up: how rape in videogames is largely ignored. Off the top of my head I can think of several games where a character is either directly raped/strongly implied to be raped, and no one batted an eyelash. Hell, most of these games are recongized as some of the best games gaming has to offer.

As for aformentioned examples, I'm going to spoiler them for the sake of avoiding a wall of text and because there are some spoilers for the games themselves, so if you don't want the endings of FEAR 2 and Farcry 3 spoilered I read/watch those parts. There's also some of my analysis in each example.

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The main character, Carl Johnson, is working with a fellow crimminal to earn some money after being betrayed by a former friend. During these missions, the crimminal he's working with makes it clear she's strongly attracted to him, but Carl doesn't return these feelings and just wants to make some money. After running a few missions, she demands that he enters her safehouse, where she ties him up and rapes him, with Carl begging for her to stop. After she orgasams, Carl asks if it's OK for them to continue theirr crime spree.

I know GTA:SA came out several years ago, but people discussing these gender topics have brought up several games made in the past as proof that gaming as issues with gender representation (and no, I'm not referring to just Anita), so I'm surprised GTA:SA hasn't been brought up once.

The male main character is raped and nothing is said about it for the rest of the game. I've never seen anyone bring up this as an issue, with people only commenting that they found it hilarious.

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Unlike GTA:SA, FEAR 2 has a strongly implied rape. Alma, the psychic God-like character becomes pregnant, with the strong implication that she raped the main character in order to get the seed. FEAR 2 is probably the least offensive example here, as it at least implies that what happened to the main character is actually quite awful, and I haven't seen people respond to this scene with jealousy and/or laughter.

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At the end of Farcy 3, you're presented with a choice: to return to civilized society with your friends, or to kill your girlfriend and stay at the island as a warrior. If you make the choice to kill your girlfriend and stay at the island, shortly after that scene you wake up to the female priestess having sex with you. And while I'll admit the main character doesn't seem to mind, the action does start when before the main character even has any idea what's going on. Before you state, because of this, Farcry 3 doesn't really portray rape, if the female main charater of a game woke up with a man over her having sex with her, even if she made it clear she's consenting after waking up people would still have made calls for that development studio to be burnt to the ground; but it happens to a male main character and now it's no longer a problem, because men obviously enjoy all sex, even if he doesn't fully consent, right?

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Now with Alpha Protocol I'll admit I've never actually played the game, but you don't need to play it to understand what's going on. The main character is captured, and a female character comes to his holding area with the intent to free him. Before she does that, she states she has had feelings for him, and wants to do one act before she sets him free. Before she rapes the main character, the player does have the option to either imply he's Ok with this, or to resist. Either way, he gets raped and freed after.

As with the above example, this seems to state that it's not possible for a man to not enjoy sex, even if he's being confined to a table and is making it clear he's not consenting. But of course after it starts, he's going to enjoy himself and not mind. Again, swap the genders and people would have cried foul.

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The scene in question starts at about 12:00.

Another example where the rape is strongly implied. The main character is asked by the school's lunch lady that she wants to go on a date without being harassed. So what does the main character do? Climb up a tree and use a slingshot to fling rocks at any kids who try to interfere with the lady's date, of course. Things are innocent enough until the end of the date, where the lunch lady slips a sedative the drink of the man she's currently on the date with, then picks him up and carries him home saying she's going to have some fun. I don't think anyone here has any doubts what "fun" is in this case.

We hear all the time about cases where a man slips a sedative into the drink of a women he's talking to, and when it happens in real life we all can agree that it's a horrible thing, but if a woman does it to a man then all of a sudden it's ok? It's just a joke? I just don't see how this additude is anything but hypocritical.

Rape in gaming isn't a common thing, but it does happen. Whenever it does happen, but only in certain cases is it noteworthy. Of recent, there are two examples of those cases I can think of. Neither of which involve spoilers, so I'm not going to actually spoiler these.

When the Tomb Raider reboot was in development, an image popped up of the female main character being held up against a tree with a man's hand around her throat. Immediently the internet started crying rape at the mere slight implication that Lara might have been sexually violated, at the outcry reached such a degree where the devs had to stay there isn't any rape or sexual assault in the game whatsoever. The other instance is with Hotline Miami 2. A fat, pig mask wearing man murders a house full of people, then forces the last surviving occupant on the ground and pulls down his pants, with the implication he's about to rape her. I say implication, because as soon as he does so he stops; as it turns out, this whole scene is on a movie set, and the rape is completely fake. Despite this, people were furious that there was a depiction of a woman being raped in a videogame, even though the rape never actually happened.

With videogames, if a man is outright raped without giving any consent, it's played for laughs and/or people respond saying they wish they could be him. A woman is slightly implied to be raped, and (I fucking hate this phrase, but it fits here) everyone looses their minds. Why is this? Why is it whenever the topic of rape appears in gaming circles/media it's always about how awful X game is for having a female character who gets raped/sexually assaulted/implied to be one of the two, but when a man gets raped now it's not a problem? And why is it that games where female-on-male rape occur get largely ignored?

And I know a common response is going to be, "Well, it's because more women suffer from sexual assualt/rape/etc., so that's a bigger issue". Despite it happening more to women then men, the way gaming (and most media) show female-on-male rape is damaging, and waving it off as something that isn't an issue because more women have to deal with sexual assualt, etc. is hypocritical and unfair to men who have been sexually assaulted/raped.
 

PainInTheAssInternet

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Haven't played any of those games apart from FC3, so I can't give much of an opinion on that.

I thought he had his pants on for one thing. To be honest, I didn't even think about it. I was just way too weirded out by everyone's actions, including Jason's, to really notice what was going on. At this point, everyone there is a drugged up mass murderer, all of them convinced by this woman that they are the rightful descendants of an irrelevant tribe.
 

nomotog_v1legacy

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Well you stumbled on a element of the double standard. In media, rape is portrayed differently based on if it's happening to a man or a woman. TV tropes has a page or a dozen on it. http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DoubleStandardRapeFemaleOnMale It is rather disturbing when you think about it. Not simply that it exist, but the way it is portrayed in these games (and other bits of media). In GTA it's practically a joke. The tide is shifting on this. Far Cry 3 and FEAR 2 are the new games on your list and they also portray it as more sinister then jokey.
 

BathorysGraveland2

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Well, it's the same sort of deal as when you hear of a female teacher having sex with one of her male students. A lot of guys, and I'm guilty of this myself, will often say shit like "Where was she when I was in school!" and such things. So it's no surprise that kind of mentality gets dragged into games as well.

But to be honest, I'm glad rape isn't touched upon. I mean, look at how consented sex is treated in games... I can only fathom how terribly bad sexual assault would be covered in a video game.
 

Mezahmay

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Out of all the ones you listed, I'd consider the Bully and Fear 2 legitimate cases of non-consensual sexual contact that suggest there's any actual negative emotional impact on the male character's part. In GTA:SA it was little more than an inconvenience despite the fact he sounded as if he was beaten. Immediately after they were done he asked if they could go rob people, as if the last few minutes never even happened. Alpha Protocol was pretty much exactly the same thing framed as a spy thriller or something. Far Cry 3's ending pretty clearly shows Jason in control of the situation until Citra kills him out of the blue. The audio suggests he was just tricked instead of coerced.
nomotog said:
Well you stumbled on [an] element of the double standard.
Pretty much this. The implication from these games is that you can't really effectively rape a man. We never really see the consequences of this event affect their lives beyond being held up for a few minutes for sex. I highly doubt this is something the developers were consciously aware of, it's just a reflection of the culture they live in. It's hard for people to get all riled up about this when not even the characters themselves can be bothered to give a damn they were just violated.

P.S. - with a thread title that loaded, I can only hope the rest of the discussion from here on remains calm. Have a good one!
 

MHR

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I only played the San Andreas part. I know some people think it's wrong, but I still think that particular scene is funny. I think rape is as bad as the next guy, but in that scene I can't point out anything about it that I don't find at least a bit funny, especially that CJ is willing to put himself into contact with this crazy woman so that he can make his money. I can live with the double standard.
 

MysticSlayer

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The only one I can comment on is FEAR 2, as I haven't seen the rapes in those games (though I did play Far Cry 3, but I never cared to get very far in the story). And in that case, it probably isn't brought up more because it just isn't a very popular or memorable game, and those who probably do remember it are the last ones who would start having a serious discussion about it so much as whether or not it was a scary ending. The fact that FEAR and FEAR 2 were basically a young girl/woman toying with, hunting down, and replicating her own suffering against men sort of means that most players are viewing it as whether or not it presents that stuff well enough to scare them or not. Heck, at that point, you probably have even covered most of the potential social commentary on whether or not it was presented well.

Sure, that doesn't justify why it isn't using to talk about rape in video games, but it does sort of explain why FEAR 2's rape scene doesn't get brought up more often.
 

Zhukov

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Dec 29, 2009
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Because games, like all media, tend to reflect the attitudes of the society that makes them, and our society has a distinct double standard when it comes to male victims of rape.
 

Dreiko_v1legacy

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Rape is one more crime. Either none of the things will be made a deal out of or all will be. Unless you reasonably expect people who have been robbed to complain about robbery in games, people who have been shot to complain about shooting in games, people who have been beaten up to complain about people getting beat up in games etc. it doesn't make sense to just single out rape out of the many bad things that happen to game characters like that.
 

Soviet Heavy

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Because if games are just barely starting to get away from the idea that killing equals engagement, how the hell can you expect them to tackle such a touchy subject with any level of care? Like take The Last of Us, for example. It thinks that a group of people being cannibals isn't bad enough, so they have to make their leader into a child rapist too. It adds nothing to the character, and its only there because Ellie happens to be a girl, and we need to feel bad for her because of it.
 

Erana

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In regards to the Bully example, in watching a comprehensive Let's Play of the game, I really kind of got the feeling that the developers put it in there for the exact purpose of thoughts like this thread. Rockstar got so much flack before the game was even released, I feel like having a blatant daterape scene with the victim in question being male just points out how ludicrous uninformed media hype is.
Does it make it okay? No. It really pissed me off, personally. But it makes the point quite well, should it have been their intent.

That being said, looking at some of the examples, such as the Alpha Protocol one, (and also not having played the game) I don't think that things would have been the same, should they have reversed the character's positions. Looking at the female character's appearance, voice, demeanor, and the likes, its pretty clear that she is made for the purpose of being sexy. The male character, on the other hand? He seems like an especially handsome, but pretty normal guy, who speaks in a normal tone, is wearing normal clothes and the likes. If he were to be perpetrating the act, it would be as though a much more realistic person were committing such an act and be more creepy.

And this itself is yet another example of how better representation of women in the media would benefit both sexes: If a female rapist weren't some thinly-vieled sex object but a representation of an actual, female human being, people would better understand the real-world implications....

Then again, the Bully example above. No one makes a big deal out of that, for some reason. Again, the creeper lunch lady is a caricature in her own right, but still, not a particularly sexual one.
 

Loop Stricken

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FEAR 2 is probably the least offensive example here, as it at least implies that what happened to the main character is actually quite awful, and I haven't seen people respond to this scene with jealousy and/or laughter.
I dunno man, Alma's pretty hot.
 

AntiChri5

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The scene in Alpha Protocol is not rape. If you say no, there is no sex. She frees you and leaves. The sex only happens with consent.

The scene in Far Cry 3 i am less sure about. I had the strong impression that Brody wanted to fuck her anyway, but i don't recall it ever being outright stated.
 

aliengmr

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Umm... So, yea I actually never really considered that at all.

I played Alpha Protocol and Far Cry 3 and though the situations in question were a bit strange, I had not considered that they could be considered "rape".

I'll admit that it might have to do with the "straight-white-male" lens, through which I view life.

I can honestly say that's pretty enlightening.

I wonder if future narratives, instead of trying to avoid this implication of "Male Rape", maybe try to imply that in a bolder way, if that means anything.

I don't know, but I think it could be an interesting twist, assuming the narrative allows that.

Food for thought I guess. Great post!

EDIT: posts above did refresh my memory of Alpha Protocol and that seen not being "rape", but I maintain that it is kind of an interesting thing to ponder, narratively speaking of course.
 

Colour Scientist

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Jul 15, 2009
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FrozenLaughs said:
Because if it's legitimate rape the game has a way of shutting it all down
LOL

I actually properly laughed at that.

Now the people on the train with me think that I'm weird, I hope you're proud of yourself.
 

AntiChri5

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aliengmr said:
Umm... So, yea I actually never really considered that at all.

I played Alpha Protocol and Far Cry 3 and though the situations in question were a bit strange, I had not considered that they could be considered "rape".

I'll admit that it might have to do with the "straight-white-male" lens, through which I view life.

I can honestly say that's pretty enlightening.

I wonder if future narratives, instead of trying to avoid this implication of "Male Rape", maybe try to imply that in a bolder way, if that means anything.

I don't know, but I think it could be an interesting twist, assuming the narrative allows that.

Food for thought I guess. Great post!
The AP example is outright false. Things do not happen the way the OP says they do.
 

The Lunatic

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Jun 3, 2010
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Society is often just okay with the idea of males having sex they don't consent to.

If you try to speak against it, you're generally branded an "MRA" and this apparently renders your opinion moot.

It's really a very sad situation. Whilst I'm not one for dramatics, to completely dismiss sexual abuse like that is really unacceptable, and yet, it will often happen.

I'm doubtful anything will happen with this situation, whilst it's an uncomfortable double standard, it seems so acceptable, and the idea of fighting against it is dismissed so readily, it occurs merely accepting it as a fact of life is all there is to it.