Rape culture in gaming – Feeding a national crisis

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A recent event occurred that tarnished the image of our local gaming scene. Abusive language in the form of rape threats were used as a sort of “joke” but really served to leave a foul taste in the mouth and resulted in a young woman being shoved into the spotlight and another woman being harassed online for trying to stand up for both her and women in general.

Rape threats are nothing new for many women, but it is particularly toxic given the high rate of violence they face in South Africa. A study in 2015 states that South Africa has “the highest rate of women murdered by their partners in the world”. (Source)

A survey published by Stats SA makes for even worse reading: 21% of women over 18 in South Africa have experienced violence by their partner. (Source) That’s one in five women. Femicide, “[the] intentional murder of women because they are women, but broader definitions include any killings of women or girls.” (Source) is a problem this country is struggling to get a lid on.

Whilst femicide may seem like an extreme topic to be discussing in the context of gaming, one needs to understand that everything starts from small actions and rape culture in gaming absolutely feeds into this national crisis.

Rape culture in gaming

I have written many articles about the problematic way in which women are treated in gaming culture, both on screen and off. Sexism is rife in the scene and rape culture is a concept that is not given enough attention despite how often it is perpetuated. Rape culture is defined as follows (Source):

“To understand rape culture better, first we need to understand that it’s not necessarily a society or group of people that outwardly promotes rape (although it could be).

When we talk about rape culture, we’re discussing something more implicit than that. We’re talking about cultural practices (that, yes, we commonly engage in together as a society) that excuse or otherwise tolerate sexual violence.”

Whilst the recent incident in the local scene showed deplorable behaviour it is by no means an isolated incident and this will continue to occur, not just in the gaming scene – due to rape culture not being called out or dealt with by those in the industry.

Whilst the overall reaction to the recent case was widespread condemnation and disgust, it was telling that not everyone agreed. Some described the incident as “weird” and suggested using the word “abusive” was too extreme. When you look at how certain brands associated with the event chose to react, with a light telling off and faux apology, it does not bode well.

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When brands and people in the industry continue to brush off this sort of behaviour, it reinforces the idea that this is acceptable and that it isn’t that bad (let alone criminal!) to imply rape. This was a chance for a gaming brand to take a strong stance on the issue right in the beginning, but instead they opted to go a different, more cowardly route.

As gaming in this country continues to blow up and achieve mainstream appeal, especially with the likes of the VS Gaming football tournament with its star studded event, more of the problems in gaming culture will come to the fore. We shouldn’t be waiting for mainstream media to be writing articles highlighting the flaws and problems in the scene. We should be cleaning up our act and calling out problematic behaviour ourselves.

Growing pains with content creators

This is not the first time a content creator has been involved in a scandal that has brought associated brands and sponsors in disrepute. Earlier this year, PewDiePie was removed from Disney’s Maker Network as well as having the second season of his YouTube show cancelled over a controversial article by mainstream media accusing him of anti-Semitic “jokes”.

More recently, YouTube star Jake Paul had his ties with Disney severed due to obnoxious behaviour and growing complaints from neighbours about his conduct. As popularity of YouTubers has soared amongst brands, especially those in the gaming industry, many have burnt themselves over the volatile nature of having partnerships with human beings whose actions reflect on the brand.

South Africa is starting to experience these same growing pains as YouTube begins to grow massively in this country. The public feud between Sibu Mpanza and Renaldo Gouws, both growing YouTube stars in South Africa, had brands being dragged into the fray. This is something that terrifies brands as they have little to no control over the narrative.

The reality is that there will always be an inherent risk for brands to associate themselves with human beings but it is their responsibility to take a firm stance on any problematic behaviour, no matter how lucrative the partnership or how loose the deal. In this regard, some local brands could have taken a note out of Disney’s playbook.

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Fighting back against a national crisis

At the end of the day, nobody wins in this unfolding drama. YouTube and gaming, both growing and promising industries in this country suffer a knock and brands grow more wary of interacting in either. Everybody, both directly and indirectly, suffers when a few individuals step out of line.

However, all of this is absolutely secondary to the fact that a woman had an awful experience and is not alone in this. Countless women deal with this kind of abuse on a daily basis and very little is being done about it. Particularly in the gaming scene, we have a huge problem in this regard and we need to work towards fixing it.

Understanding the concept of rape culture and how it is perpetuated in everyday life is a big step in the right direction. When people complain about the depiction of women in certain games, understand that that kind of problematic behaviour feeds the status quo that results in events like what happened recently and the lacklustre response of local brands does nothing but add fuel to the flames.

When someone is called out for using common phrases like “I’m going to rape you.”, it’s not people being overly sensitive and it’s not about needing to get a sense of humour. It’s about fighting back against rape culture.

South Africa has a national crisis where our women are being raped and killed at a rate that is both terrifying and tragic. Gaming culture is in a prime space whereby young and impressionable men can be shown the danger of rape culture and understand how their actions feed into a far bigger picture. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Gaming is not just about playing games, there are far larger impacts that it has on those of us that are in love with this incredible space. We can, and should, be doing better in the gaming scene. We all have a role to play in fighting back against a national crisis.

Last Updated: August 1, 2017

Glenn Kisela

I've always loved video games as well as writing, so mixing the two together was inevitable. When I'm not doing that, I do photography and design.

  • MonsterCheddar

    I’m actually more worried about the rate at which children, especially little girls are raped and murdered these days. Especially in the WC.

    Very sad. And just makes me hate people more and more.

    • Tensent

      But this has nothing to do with games, and everything to do with social conditions. This article is trying to connect a middle class hobby with poor social conditions in communities where rape is prevalent.

      • MonsterCheddar

        I know. My comment is more about the rape culture issue than the gaming part.

    • Mike De Fleuriot

      Maybe if we stop the use of computer games in the WC, that will reduce the number of rapes to kids. Actually I wonder how many of those rapists in the WC can use a computer?

      • MonsterCheddar

        Dude, what is your point.

        • Mike De Fleuriot

          My point is that gaming has bugger all to do with rape or any such nonsense. And by trying to make this case, you are diverting away from the real problem, poorly educated and ignorant people who should have had better parents than they had.

          • MonsterCheddar

            I never said it did. My comment focused on the rape issue, not the gaming issue. READ my comment and don’t make stupid assumptions. I didn’t say anything about gaming. Hence “I’m actually MORE worried…”, stating that i’m MORE worried about what I stated than rape culture in gaming or whatever the article is about. Savvy?

          • Mike De Fleuriot

            Then why are you commenting on an article that seeks to lay the blame for these crimes on the gaming community. And there is no such thing as a rape culture, there are just rapists. For there to be a culture, there would need to be a way of life, a path that people can belong to that will guide them to the rape life.

          • MonsterCheddar

            1. Because I can comment on whatever I damn well please.
            2. I agree with you that there are just rapists, I’m not sure what “rape culture” entails.

  • Magoo

    Ok, so what do we do?

  • Skittle

    Murderers murder and rapists rape. Telling someone that what they said is inappropriate is not going to change the way they view woman or their actions towards women. If you want to make a difference you need to start teaching kids about sexist/racist issues.

    “Gaming is not just about playing games” – gaming to me (probably many others) is just about playing games, an escape from the stresses of life. I don’t play games to learn about the shitty things happening in the world. Let me have my fucking hobby.

    • A Levitt

      Kids play games. My son started playing games when he was 3. YOU might not think you’re affected by what you see in games (hint: you are), but kids are impressionable. Kids learn from what they see. And there’s no undoing foundational learning.

      • Skittle

        There are age restrictions for games not meant to played by toddlers, that being said, it goes back to the nonsense belief that violent video games and movies make a person violent. It simply doesn’t. The vast majority of people are taught right from wrong and act accordingly. People are violent because they have a predisposition to being violent or have had troubled upbringing.

        It’s not societies job to raise your kid right.

        • Admiral Chief

          “It’s not societies job to raise your kid right.”

          So very true

          • A Levitt

            No. But it IS society’s job to correct the wrongs that are prevalent in our said society. Like how women are portrayed and treated, even at a foundational level.

            And my son, at 10, has more brains, common sense and decency than half these morons in this comment section. And he knows how to treat a woman.

          • Admiral Chief

            Good on you for teaching your son correct values. Not every one out there does that. But I hope you don’t teach him how to generalize and assume someone’s understanding or intellectual capacity while also insulting people online like some pariah. Just a thought. We are responsible for how our children act and perceive the world.

          • A Levitt

            Oh, would you like me to mention the names of “half the morons in this comment section”? Scroll up. Read for yourself and tell me they’re right. If you mistakenly think I meant on the website as a whole that’s not my problem. Assumptions indeed.

            And for the record, I do include you in that “half”.

          • Admiral Chief

            You are unnecessarily inciting conflict here Allan, please refrain from doing so. If you have a view, by all means, air it. But don’t go around insulting people, it only further distances people away from any validity your view might have

          • BakedBagel

            Im sorry but its not anyones job to fix a fucked up child. There are charities and rehab centers for that.

            Parents need to Parent.

            Its very simple fam.

          • anti degeneracy

            “No. But it IS society’s job to correct the wrongs that are prevalent in our said society”

            No it is not. Nobody in a society own you anything.

            “Like how women are portrayed and treated, even at a foundational level.”
            Pixels on your screen, in the videogame are not real women. That is a fantasy. If you cant see difference between pixelated women on your screen (majority of people can) then you are retarded. And fantasy is protected by freedom of speech. If i wanted to create a videogame where you slaughter everything that moves then i am free to do so.
            And women in the west are portrayed well and treated well. Unlike in saudi arabia where videogames, porn and western entertainment is banned and women cant even drive a car.
            Nobody watches porn and becomes a rapist. Nobody plays videogames and starts treating women as shit. That is a bullshit. This mumbling is the same shit what christians used to say about GTA and how it makes you workship stan if you play it.

        • A Levitt

          See my reply above. Get off that high horse.

          • Sageville

            So petty.

      • Tensent

        That’s what age restrictions on games are for. If they play age-appropriate games it won’t be a problem.

        • A Levitt

          See my reply above. Disney. It’s not about seeing boobs. It’s about how women are portrayed at every level in society. Get off that high horse.

          • Tensent

            >It’s about how women are portrayed at every level in society

            That’s a sweeping statement that doesn’t mean anything. Nowhere do you or the writer of this piece provide a shred of evidence that games = rape culture.

          • Skittle

            EVERYTHING NEEDS TO CHANGE TO BE IN LINE WITH THE WAY I WANT THE WORLD TO BE!! NO ONE ISN’T ALLOWED AN OPINION, THOUGHT OR POINT OF VIEW UNLESS IT IS MINE!! rawr!!!!!1

      • Mike De Fleuriot

        Well if that is true, then you are a shitty parent for not guiding and teaching your kid how to behave like a decent human.

        • A Levitt

          Yes, because a woman being a helpless princess is so inspiring. Thanks Disney.

          • Cats736

            Maybe you should start acting like a parent and teach your kid some values instead of sticking them in front of a video game to learn them?

          • Mike De Fleuriot

            Well then you are allowing your kid to play the wrong type of game. Maybe you should choose a game with a strong female as the main lead?

      • Magoo

        Nay mate. Online gaming at 3? Nay mate.

        • A Levitt

          Disney makes games. What about Nintendo? Are you saying that the only games that exist are Call of Duty and GTA? And it’s not “mate”.

          • Magoo

            MATE… THERE ARE MORE GAMES?!

          • Original Heretic

            No there aren’t. Shhhh, shhhh, it’s okay.

          • Magoo

            whew..

      • Sageville

        FYI, there is a special disclaimer on online games that states they cannot be held responsible for your online experiences, I think this is where most of the rapey talk happens, the actual game content itself is rated accordingly and this provides a good guide for active parenting.

        • A Levitt

          Who’s talking online games? Rescue that princess in Mario. She’s so helpless. It’s not just people talking online. It’s literally everywhere. Why can’t you see that? The online talking part is the symptom, not the problem.

          • Skittle

            Do go through life with your eyes closed? There are games with very strong female protagonists and it is a growing trend. Society is becoming more inclusive and understand but things don’t change over night.

          • Sageville

            You are suggesting Mario rescuing a princess is part of rape culture??

            I don’t think so, maybe a footnote in a feminism article at best, but this isn’t what we talking about here surely?

          • I think he means that games, sadly, started out very masculine and portrayed woman as weak.
            Now yes, that doesn’t mean men suddenly become rapist. You have to have a pre-disposition to those kinds of things. Whether it’s just the way one is or how one was brought up (Violent homes etc) is a different story all together.

            But games have not helped much in the past and have given people a platform which gave them a false sense of “machoness” or whatever it is that drives them.

            So the whole underlying message of woman as weaker wasn’t helped much by the industry.

            However, the industry is making strides towards fixing that now.

            At the end of the day it is the responsibility of parents to bring kids up right and the responsibility of society to deal with those who transgress the law (By using correct methods of letting law enforcement take over. Taking the law in to your own hands is a no no)

          • BakedBagel

            Gaming started out masculine because before gaming became “mainstream”

            it was for outcasts and nerds and openly ridiculed. The men who played them where “man children”

            Gosh i wonder why it was so masculine

          • That’s a different topic all together. I was part of those outcasts. So well aware of why it was the mainly for men.

            Simply pointing out that it did lend itself to some people who enjoy that kind of power over others. A place to play out fantasy.

            For some the fantasy was just to escape the real world (Such as for myself).
            For others the fantasy was sadly practicing power over others.

            Gaming did not cause rape culture. But certain aspects of itself lent itself to the fantasies of those pre-dispositioned to it. If that makes sense?

          • BakedBagel

            It does, but that can honestly be said about any form of entertainment that has a power play over another…. if i make sense?

            Entertainment is what you make it. Some is escape, Some is power fantasies.
            Some is because its the only place they feel welcomed. There are so many reasons why people play games man. So many different people play games. My Aunt was talking about playing minecraft with her son over the weekend.

            For eg all this abuse people get online. All of it can simply be curated away from your eyes. Mute, block, report there are so many avenues. But may i say something below the belt.

            For some( be it over abuse online, rape threats online etc) they magnify it. Because they enjoy the attention they recieve. Again. Very small minority of people will simply fake it to get attention. Man im rambling now, my bad 😛

          • nah, conversation is good. And yes, a lot do it for attention only and would never follow through. But they are just as guilty because someone who does do that kind of despicable stuff reads it and gets brave as they feel others share the same view as them and so the issue is perpetuated.

            So it’s a very complex, very difficult topic to deal with and handle.
            At the end of the day the rule should be:

            Don’t make threats online, don’t make light of rape/murder/racism/etc and definitely don’t actually go out and do any of that stuff.

            If it happens, report it, let the law deal with it and don’t give those few individuals a platform from which to try assert their power.
            If that makes sense?

          • BakedBagel

            Dont make light of. Honestly needs to be expanded. Its really difficult, What if between a group of friends someone makes a murder joke, its overheard and gets slammed on social media. Did this person go out of his way to offend? No.

            Because (starting a sentance lmao) as this goes on, there is more and more people hit in the crossfire, comedians included (which is honestly pathetic, its their job to offend) If you intentionally do these things because you know it will offend then yeah, you an asshole. Something is not right about including the government in what was simply speech. (Hate speech is a crime. But calling someone a cunt because they have shitty opinions is not)

            It should be as simple as. Think before you tweet/post/dm etc

          • Sageville

            I’m just asking, the term “Rape Culture”, is this exactly the same as “Sexism” or “Misogyny”. We do know of the unequal starting point and assorted tropes, I’m asking is the term “Rape Culture” something specific or just another term for misogyny.

            Personally, I think the term is a subset, specifically an exercise of power in a sexual fashion over another. Some social sciences person will have to enlighten us.

          • I do not know the answer to that sadly

          • BakedBagel

            Yo Lara Craft needed saving by a man

            Remember that Levitt!

    • For the Emperor!

      If anything, it should be “Game creation is not just about creating games”

  • Frik van der Hewerskink

    Sometimes I feel like feminists only want to give females the same rights as males. Instead of trying to give equal rights for both.

    • A Levitt

      Giving women the same rights as men is giving equal rights. The problem is the men who don’t think so. The problem is the men who believe they’re doing nothing wrong when they joke about stuff. What about calling women “girls”? That’s a problem. It’s belittling and many men don’t even realise they’re doing it. “Girls” is probably the nicest thing women hear on their average day in gaming.

      • Frik van der Hewerskink

        I don’t ever see any news articles about these feminists supporting the rape culture that’s currently in our prisons. I have not seen any campaigns trying to get woman more exposed to jobs like working in sewerage or hard labour construction etc, its only the nice jobs that pay well. how many woman were forced to go to military and face war ? My point I am trying to make. It sometimes feels like feminists only fight for the awesome stuff that they aren’t getting, instead of fighting for the rights of the human race.

        Not trying to bash woman or men or unicorns or any other thing.

        • A Levitt

          Except you’re missing the point. Women, for the most part, live in hell. Working at a sewage plant, or going to war would be a holiday compared to what they have to endure from every subtle little jab or gesture that is so commonplace that it goes unnoticed. Often even by women.

          And may I ask, who would fight for the unpleasant stuff? Nobody fought for slavery to stay except those who owned them. Nobody fought for jobs without pay or being whipped. And yet, here we are today. Today, slavery is quite rightly universally hated. But 100 years ago it was normal. Most common folk didn’t even realise it was wrong. It was just how things were. Black people are still fighting against the aftermath of slavery.

          It’s women’s turn to fight for their rights. And, in a world where information is rife, you’d think more people would be open to that.

          • Frik van der Hewerskink

            Are you honestly comparing having a job that pays in a country with a suuuuuper bad employment rate to slavery? I am telling you that people need to fight for jobs for woman and men, EQUALLY. as both men and woman sit at their homes without jobs. why should an industry be overly populated by only the one. But you seem to missing the point. fight for the woman that don’t have jobs, fight for them to get jobs where they are currently the few, even if it is “unpleasant stuff”. That was what my point was, feminists only fight for the fat cat jobs, and forget about the other industries, just want the nice and warm cozy jobs. Instead of just trying to get woman OR MEN in jobs equally.

          • A Levitt

            If you think feminism is about jobs then you really need to go back and do some research.

          • Frik van der Hewerskink

            In my first reply I mentioned jobs, war, and rape culture in prisons, you chose to reply to one of the above mentioned and decided I know nothing about feminism ? You are not making a good case for yourself. :/

          • A Levitt

            War and rape culture in prisons have nothing to do with feminism though. Again, you need to do some research… Seriously…

          • Frik van der Hewerskink

            Yes it does, You need to learn what equality means, Do you think all the men that are being forced to go to war want to be there ? Why are their rights taken away and no one fighting for them, Where are all the feminists ? fighting apparently for equal rights, You are trying to state that I think woman should also be forced to be there, and that is not something feminists should fight for, Just shows you how you don’t understand what I am trying to say. I want feminists to also fight for men, and woman, EQUALLY. why are they not out their campaigning for men to not have to go to war, like holy shit you woman have that perk I think some men would love you know. where are the feminists fighting for those kind of equal rights ? Again, you need to do some research… Seriously…

          • Admiral Chief

            The word feminist is sexist. We should all strive to be humanists

          • Nick de Bruyne

            The word sexist is humanists. We strive should all be feminist the word. Language, me good.

          • Admiral Chief

            Lol what an ass! NIIIIIIIIIIIIICK

            😉

          • BakedBagel

            “Except you’re missing the point. Women, for the most part, live in hell. Working at a sewage plant, or going to war would be a holiday compared to what they have to endure from every subtle little jab or gesture that is so commonplace that it goes unnoticed. Often even by women.”

            Did you seriously just say this.

            Going to war is the same as calling a woman a Bitch online?

            God damn you are on a new level of retarded.

          • Danny Romero

            If you mean women in the Shariah dominated countries then yes absolutely. If you mean the US or other countries in the west, then I would simply ask what right do men have in the west that women don’t? Especially when the fact that young unmarried women are paid more than young unmarried men. http://content.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,2015274,00.html

      • Cats736

        Giving women the same rights as men is giving equal rights.

        What right does a man have that a woman doesn’t?

    • For the Emperor!

      I think I get what you are saying. But rather than feminists, I think it is more the feminazis that hijacked the term “feminism” going “that is a nice ‘feature’ of being a man, we want it”, but then also going “it is a mans job to take out the trash” or “you have to hold the door open to me” or “yes I studies gender studies and not science but that has nothing to do with why there are less women in science”

  • Hammersteyn

    What worries me more is how people jumped to said person’s defence when the threats of rape he made was posted online. I’ve read comments that he made a joke and that he would never rape. That it’s only memes and we didn’t get the humour. But therein lies the problem.

    Not everyone knows about memes, or phrases like stay woke or fam or dab or whatever passes as communication nowadays. Not everyone is part of the online culture. But the law is the law. You can’t walk up to woman and make a joke about raping her nor can you do it online.

    But this guy probably never thought you can be held accountable for what you say online, nor does his friends. For them it’s trolling and a way of bullying without consequence. They can’t see anything wrong with it because it’s what most people do. Having sex with another player’s mom is an insult that’s been used as long as COD has been online. It’s become a stereotype.

    The problem is that there’s no policing online players. They can say the vilest, filthiest things online because there’s hardly any repercussions, if any. You might be banned, but so what? Activision or EA has the next yearly shooter in development already. The disease that’s online play needs to be cured. People take their behaviour out to the real world and that’s when they cross the line they don’t even know is there.

    • Original Heretic

      For all those assholes who get by with being vile online, we need two heroes. Two men. Two men with a quest that clean it all up. Two men who can do what nobody else is willing to do.
      We need……

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4e4a289f9a954a6e4f8fbf7bc4a1417679bc1d01da5225a09f649e1562fcfad4.jpg

      • Hammersteyn

        XD

      • Nick de Bruyne

        You realise you are talking about one of the dudes that shouted “hey baby you ever had your asshole licked by a fatman in an overcoat” to a women casually walking by lol? I’m pretty sure that’s like on the other side of that fence

        • Original Heretic

          Crap, you’re right…

          Maybe he’ll beat himself up for being vile?

          • Nick de Bruyne

            They definitely are their own worst enemies, so yeah lol

    • Where is the real hammer?! This made.. SENSE!

      • Hammersteyn

        My account has been hacked?

        • Admiral Chief

          Fine, I’ll give it back to you

          • Hammersteyn

            Thx XD

        • Sageville

          Your hacked account never even posted any porn dood… #FAKEHACKING

          • Hammersteyn

            rofl!

          • Admiral Chief

            Fine fine fine, I’ll make a plan. Rule34 incoming on Hammer’s account

          • Hammersteyn

            O_o

      • Original Heretic

        Behind all the joking and nonsense talk, there lurks a real brain.

        Go Hammerman, GO!

        • No, there really isn’t tehehehe!

    • Mike De Fleuriot

      //People take their behaviour out to the real world and that’s when they cross the line they don’t even know is there.//

      So true, with all the millions of fake people killed daily in computer games, we see a similar amount of murders done in the real world. Is that not correct Jack Thompson?

      • Hammersteyn

        Talking more about how they interact with other people. Through social media. Swearing at/threatening someone online and doing the same over Whatsapp is basically the same thing. They won’t do it in person, because that requires balls, something they lack.

        • Asshat. I wouldn’t call you that in the real world, you might sit on me! *RUNS

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            And then you’d be the one wearing the asshat?

          • Exactly!

          • MonsterCheddar

            XD

        • For the Emperor!

          Balls is sexist! You should be ashamed! 😛

          • Hammersteyn

            XD XD XD

    • Admiral Chief

      Not necessarily “online play” more like being able to type whatever that person’s sick mind comes up to because he/she is anonymous behind his/her keyboard/mic without any serious consequences.
      It is a culture of idiots getting away with saying stupid things to impress/harass/intimidate. It all boils down to parents not spanking/disciplining the kids. These kids grow up to act like this

      • Hammersteyn

        True, but I do mention online play because these… kids I guess, are part of the local esports scene.

        • Admiral Chief

          Unmonitored online activities brings out the worst in kids I’m afraid. Most of these “insults” would NEVER be uttered in real life, because those kids would get a PK

          • Hammersteyn

            EXACTLY!

    • In short: Legal Law needs to extend to what you say online the same as if you do it in an office/on the street / etc

      • Admiral Chief

        ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

      • Admiral Chief

        Odd seeing you summarize things

      • HvR

        Legal law already covers it, anything you say online in a direct message is like saying it in person, anything you say on a public forum is like publishing on a newspaper front page.

        People must lay charges and hold police and legal system to task to act.

        • the problem is that it almost never ends up anywhere. Yes it’s technically not legal, but how often do these complaints get taken seriously?

          Our law system doesn’t know how to properly deal with the digital era. It hasn’t adapted to the changing world.

          • BakedBagel

            I still believe equating speech to physical harm and abuse belittles actual physical abuse.

            Obviously what the guy said is wrong and has no place.

            Also. How can you expect the police to do anything regarding things said online when we have one of the highest rape rates on the planet. There are far bigger social issues that should be focused on. In the UK and US i understand, but here? In Africa. I would wager people feel more safe online than they do at a robot.

          • HvR

            It is against the law to threaten somebody and will result in a lesser sentence than actual harming someone.

            Broken windows theory comes to mind, get away with a lesser crime will often lead to doing a greater one.

          • BakedBagel

            I feel where you coming from HvR

            If i pirate a series will i steal a handbag?

          • I thought the tag line was “You wouldn’t download a car?”

          • BakedBagel

            It was. But in all honesty, if i had a 3D printer the size of a small room, i would “download” a car. 😀 /

          • We all would. Let’s just be blatantly honest lol. I’d love to download a car.

      • MonsterCheddar

        ts;dr. I demand that your comments be at least 7 paragraphs please.

        • Admiral Chief

          I concur

          • MonsterCheddar

            XD

      • Hammersteyn

        Glad you didn’t use TL;DR
        😛

      • anti degeneracy

        “In short: Legal Law needs to extend to what you say online the same as if you do it in an office/on the street / etc”
        In a civilized country like USA if you went up to someone and said fuck you and your mother then will arrest you.

      • anti degeneracy

        Also cyberbulying is not real. It is just a text on your computer screen and if you are so fragile that your little tiny fee fees get hurt then you need special care and get off the internet forever. There is always an ignore function.

        • Talking about threats of violence here. Which in real life is lawbreaking.

    • Skyblue
      • Hammersteyn

        BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! This is awesome!

  • A Levitt

    The amount of people defending this behaviour is pretty telling. Kinda proves Glenn’s point. Good job “guys”. Two thumbs up.

    • Umar

      Allan?

  • Sageville

    The only way to combat this is to expose, name and shame.

    We know these gamer’s testicles would shrivel up if they ever had to speak to the ladies in person, their anonymity gives them huge stones when online.

    So as gamers, firstly we should not be using such language (Obvious stuff really, maybe it was funny or the “in thing” to say back in the day, that day passed long ago) and we should be reporting all the rapey talk, if a gaming platform doesn’t have an abuse reporting tool we should demand one.

    My main point is, if we allow it, it will continue, so don’t allow it.

  • *cracks knuckles*
    Prepare for a Raptor Rant.

    If you make rape jokes, you are a doos.

    /rant

    • MonsterCheddar

      True dat, Llew my boy.

    • Admiral Chief

      ts;dr

    • MonsterCheddar

      Paragraphs must total 7.

      • no!

        • MonsterCheddar

          7 lines? 7 words? 7 characters?

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            And you need to stop using hand sanitiser so your hands can smell like cheese.

          • MonsterCheddar

            What are you on about? Geriatric rambling again?

  • HvR

    Not condoning online behaviour or questionable games etc etc.

    But it has about as much to do with the South African rape culture/epidemic as Ottokie’s unicorn collection.

    Things that needs to change in South Africa before you even bother looking at a fringe social society:
    Proper operating, trained and equipped police force and supporting services
    A functional justice and prison system.
    A functional government.
    A HUGE shift in every single of the various subculture in South Africa

    In the mean time people should pointing finger at general communities that has sweet bugger all to do with the problem even if there those in the community who are perpetrators their minds will not be change and the actions even less if they know they have a better chance of winning the Lotto than being prosecuted and spending any meaningful time behind bars.

    Also can the neo-liberal media please stop preaching to girls and women that they must play the complacent victim and that their only hope is for society to change and rather equip and arm them with the skills and means to defend themselves in this sick society which will not change for at least another generation.

    • More competent law system. With that in place everything can start getting better

      • HvR

        You need all of those I listed

        Between 20% and 30% of women will be raped in their lifetime and only 1 in 4 will report it – societal change (we are focusing on women but interesting fact is about 20% of men in this country will also be raped as indication that is more a general lawlessness than protrial of women problem))

        Of the 1 in 4 reported only 1 in 3 will actually be recorded in SAPS charge books.
        Of those reported 40 000+ (the 1 in 3 that was actually recorded)

        Unfortunately we do not have arrest stats, but estimation it is as low as 7% of reports leads to arrest

        Best part is the law system with 69% conviction rate of sexual offenses, keep in mind some of the acquittals will be of real innocent people.

        • Admiral Chief

          O___O

  • Glenn, glad to see you refactored this article a bit. Was looking forward to reading it.

    I just want to start by saying, I don’t know if I buy into the concept of a “rape culture” as defined by the links you shared. I discussed this with my girlfriend before, and we couldn’t think of a context of polite conversation where making a rape joke was considered, well, polite. Nor could we think of any accepted standards or practices in civilisation that *promoted* rape. Hip hop has underlying sexist practices, that much is true, but sexism is not immediately rape and to make such an argument is, I feel, to downplay the severity of such a disgusting act. Coincidentally, the only context we could find for rape being excused was religion, which purported ownership of another person. We don’t criticise religion for its practices, but we throw up “rape culture” as some big bad and use a handful of examples generally accepted as inexcusable to back it up. Using the same logic, I could argue there is currently a war on penises especially since female genital mutilation is condemned but male genital mutilation is encouraged – I am only kidding here, but I hope that illustrates my point?

    Rape is the most heinous, most ugly, most disgusting thing that one person can inflict on another person (I will also note that it’s almost unanimously taken to be men inflicting on women when it can certainly go both ways) – it is inexcusable, unforgivable, and universally condemned. It doesn’t make sense to use the word “culture” as if its an accepted and promoted practice around the world. To me it’s more like an epidemic, in that it’s a real and serious problem that needs addressing (starting with people brought up religiously whose texts preach entitlement and ownership of other human beings).

    All of this said, I want to quickly quote you and directly address some of your statements:

    “However, all of this is absolutely secondary to the fact that a woman had an awful experience and is not alone in this. Countless women deal with this kind of abuse on a daily basis and very little is being done about it. Particularly in the gaming scene, we have a huge problem in this regard and we need to work towards fixing it.”

    How? Genuinely asking.

    “When someone is called out for using common phrases like “I’m going to rape you.”, it’s not people being overly sensitive and it’s not about needing to get a sense of humour. It’s about fighting back against rape culture.”

    That they were called out for said common phrase, doesn’t it tell you a rape culture doesn’t exist? Thus far I’ve seen one other person on the side of the phrase-speaker. One. I’m certain they aren’t alone, but shouldn’t the 99.9% condemnation highlight to you that such a thing is neither accepted, nor condoned, nor tolerated in our gaming culture?

    Interestingly, I recently read an article (can’t find the link right now) that discussed how the word “rekt” was being used as a metaphor for rape and therefore should not be tolerated. I felt this was a ridiculously sensitive thing to say when the gaming world pretty much begged gamers to stop using words like “rape” and “gay” and try to find other words that weren’t offensive, which, you know, “rekt” seems harmless right? Harmless until someone decides it offends them, and so the cycle perpetuates. Not directly related to this, but just a strange aside.

    “South Africa has a national crisis where our women are being raped and killed at a rate that is both terrifying and tragic. Gaming culture is in a prime space whereby young and impressionable men can be shown the danger of rape culture and understand how their actions feed into a far bigger picture.”

    I want to say that yes, gaming is in a prime space for this, but more than that, South Africa’s biggest problem is actually its biggest strength, and that’s our diversity. Bringing these problems to the fore might invite criticism because you would have to criticise religious and cultural practices of the communities in SA, and that’s a political nightmare to navigate. Worse still, the demographics of rapists. South Africa, like every third world country has massive inequality. This results in crime. Basic economics, there. But when you add on religious practices, cultural upbringing, and a generally disenfranchised populace, things escalate quickly. It becomes about power over others, and some people become predatory in nature. The end-result is an entitlement to disgusting behaviour. Further reading here: http://www.genderjustice.org.za/news-item/wits-sonke-study-reveals-alarming-levels-mens-violence-women-diepsloot/

    Elsewhere, some people are just bad people and no amount of teaching, curating, or condemnation will affect their thinking. They simply exist to destroy.

    At the end of the day, it’s soul-crushing to see the rape stats in SA. But it also makes me want to double-down on what we label as rape, rape culture, and predatory practice. The recent local drama could be construed in any number of ways, even without any further context to the messages. Ultimately, it WAS condemned, and we should also take a moment to appreciate that much. Nobody looked at this and went, “This is fine…” (At least from what I could see) That should also say something.

    • Skittle

      I enjoy reading your comments, always well structure, thought out and to the point.

  • anti degeneracy

    What sexy women in video games and “stereotypes” have to do with rape culture?
    D you really think people will see some poorly animated pixels on their screen and go out and rape women? Are you really that retarded?
    And by the way porn falls into the same category. Does that mean that everyone who watches porn (basically everyone) with slutty women in them will go out and start raping them?
    And how did this article go from rape problems in south africa to rape culture in videogames. You do realise that there are not that many videogames in south africa, right?
    And you do know that saudi arabia, a country with a actual rape culture has banned video games, right? Maybe, if you turned on your brain for a second (i know this could be hard for a feminist) and realise that normal people know difference between entertainment and reality? People play games to relax. They dont get educated and absorb ideas from games. That is retarded. People rape and murder each other because they are fucked up to begin with. Thats a human nature. 400 years ago we did not have videogames or porn. But we raped even more. And i would go so far to say that violent videogames and porn keep people in check because these things are widely accesable in the west. Yet we have lowest rape rates in the world.
    Also game have age ratings for a reason. Adult people can’t become insane if they see fake violence. They are grown up and are not naive or impressionable.

  • konfab

    Banning people you don’t want to be heard is not going to prevent them from having those views.

    I would love to know the incidents of sexual assault from online gamers vs the population at large. My guess is that it would be lower because people can let off steam in a relatively safe environment that doesn’t really hurt anything besides feelings. (this is why Steam is called Steam Lol)

    Lets be objective and look at the data. If you can prove there is a good correlation between using foul language online and actual incidents of sexual assault then your arguments have merit. Otherwise you are talking about policing people’s speech for an arbitrary reason.

    I doubt whether South Africa’s rape crisis is even influenced by computer games (again show me data that can prove it). What I would say it is caused by is the destruction of the family, and subsequent replacement of healthy father figures by the state. Boys growing up in fatherless homes is causally connected to them not learning how to treat woman properly as kids learn how to behave from others. If no such figure is there, they will form a gang and figure out by themselves how to do it.

    There is measurable data that proves this hypothesis:
    “As Figure 27 illustrates, children aged 4–17 living in nuclear families (3%) were less likely to have definite or severe emotional or behavioral difficulties than children in single-parent (7.4%), unmarried biological or adoptive (5.7%), blended (8.4%), cohabiting (7.6%), extended (5.1%), or other (9.6%) families.”
    https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_10/sr10_246.pdf

    What this article right now is doing is trying to shove a political point of view into gaming by taking advantage of the rape crisis by misattributing it to something that most likely has nothing to do with the crisis in the first place.

  • L. Wolf

    How drunk WERE you when you wrote this?

    PewDiePie made a few immature jokes that The Wall Street Journal blew way out of proportion and Jake Paul is an immature child actor with to much money. Not uncommon for Disney, Lindsay Lohan has been in Rehab how many times? Shia LaBeouf is just gone off the deep end, Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus. But it’s not just Disney it’s any child star. They are lucky if they grow up normal and not addicted to something.

    Still, trying to connect video games to rape culture in Africa and PewDiePie? I again ask, how drunk WERE you when you wrote this? This one those, if a butterfly flaps it wings does a it cause a hurricane half-away across the world things or are you like the crazy Christians from the and 90’s who blames videos games on for violence and stuff? Are you Jack Thompson?

  • J.j. Barrington

    Late to the party, and not at all from SA, but I’d think there would need to be some proven level of causation and correlation before words used in anger/frustration/stupidity online were connected to real-world actions.

    Specifically- and as someone else already pointed out- there needs to be proof that the ones most likely to engage in the harmful dialogue were those also carrying out the acts, and at a rate higher than those who are not involved in gaming. If no such link exists, then no such assertion should be supported.

  • John Sorger

    Rape culture is shitskin culture. Get rid of shitskins and you’ll get rid of rapists. Blaming any of that on videogames is retarded.

  • John Sorger

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