It’s an interesting debate, especially since we don’t often run across games that let us rape (exceptions that come to mind include Sociolotron and Custer’s Revenge) and since we were just talking about virtual rape (raping another player, as opposed to a character). Still, drawing a link between game rape and real-life rape is like drawing a link between game violence and real-life violence, and we all know how we feel about that. Thumbs down.I do understand where she’s coming from—we brandish swords, guns and fists, strategize war tatics and take down the bad guys in virtual worlds, yet these actions don’t translate to real and everyday life. We’re not going to beat up our boss or take out the President in the name of social justice. And I’m never going to say that the guy down the street playing H-games will someday rape. But there’s something about virtual rape that I don’t think can be shoved aside for the sake of fantasy. Virtual rape games are a symptom of our society, where women are systematically devalued and rape isn’t about sex but about power and privilege.
BetaCandy writes about some of the issues that come from rape in fictional settings in her post Inherent problems in writing rape storylines:
With rape, however, we don't have a cultural consensus that "forced sex" is always wrong. A lot of people don't fully comprehend what constitutes rape or consent. A lot of people still think it can't be rape if the rapist is known to the victim. A lot of people still think women can owe men sex, and men are entitled to take the sex they've earned if it's not forthcoming. And they apply this thinking in their daily lives. To women they know. To victims when they serve on juries (or as judges). To themselves, when they internalize the blame for violations others visited upon them.
To just say that virtual rape in hentai games is sexual fantasy in pixilated form is to ignore a whole heap of troublesome and problematic issues. Rape in H-games is not real rape, but it is representative of our misogynistic culture that hurts real live women everyday.