It Must Be the Way She Was Dressed: Rape Culture Plays Out in Game-land

Jodi Jacobson

Rape, pregnancy and abortion are "key features" in a Japanese video game pulled from marketing by after public outcry.

It must be the way she was dressed.

Or the fact that she "lets" him touch her on the train.

Or some other way she was at fault.  I am sure this must be the justification.

Because this woman is getting raped in video screens all over the world.  And she is not alone.  Her school-age daughters are also considered prey.

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And if they get pregnant, they must have abortions because otherwise the gamer "dies," according to one reviewer:

Every time you ejaculate inside one of the girls there is a chance she
will become pregnant. If she does become pregnant you’re supposed to
force her to get an abortion, otherwise she gets more and more visibly
pregnant each time you have sex. If you allow the child to be born then
the woman will throw you [the perpetrator] in front of a train!

The reviewer describes this disgusting video in graphic detail but at the same time only gives it a -33 out of a -50 (the worst possible score).  Frankly, I was not clear about the reviewer’s point of view to begin with. On one hand he seems disturbed about the content, and on the other the review itself comes across as salacious.  I can’t tell whether he wants to play the game or critique it.

Pregnancy and abortion are listed as ‘key features’ in the video, whatever that means.  Players are also allowed to enter ‘freeform mode’ where they can rape any woman and get other male game characters to join the attacks.

Apparently, the reviewers at, which was selling this game on line until at least this past weekend either failed to review it, invested with Bernie Madoff and so really had to make back money from creeps, subscribed to the "market knows best" philosophy of economics, or all of the above.

Public outcry apparently did their market-testing for them, as Feminist Philosophers reports yesterday that they have now stopped selling it online.

I’m pleased to report that Amazon are now refusing to sell the
videogame ‘Rapelay’. The aim of the game is to stalk and rape a family
of women. The game is produced by a Japanese
company, and was only intended for sale in Japan. But sellers had been
supplying UK customers via Amazon’s marketplace site.

Was it really that hard to figure out there was a problem with this video before they started selling it?

And yes, I know some of you will argue…."violence on the screen won’t necessarily lead to violence in real life….".  To be clear, I agree with Feminist Philosopher, who states, "Just for the record,"

I don’t think it matters whether or not anyone can
show that there’s a causal link between playing the game and raping
someone. It makes light of something serious and despicable. It could
play some role in making that crime seem normal, and further decrease
the level of empathy society has for real people who have been raped. 

Another piece on this can be found at The Curvature.

Honestly….I don’t even know what to say, except to state what is spectacularly obvious….there is something deeply, deeply wrong in a world where the depraved and the violent sells like hotcakes, but we argue incessantly and counterproductively about women’s access to sexual and reproductive health services, deny people access to comprehensive sexual health education, fail to address gender-based violence, and give federal money to abstinence-only organizations that tell girls its "their fault," (see Joe Sonka’s piece on Amplify) and to "faith-based groups" that use our tax dollars to reinforce harmful gender norms.

Some days it is all just too much to take.


Topics and Tags:

Abortion, coercion, pregnancy, Rape

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