When I first read about this story on The Curvature and subsequently started linking to these articles and websites about this game, I grew more and more disturbed with pretty much everything about it and thought a little synthesis and analysis was in order. The game needs a bit of an introduction. It’s received some press since amazon.com briefly had the game up for sale in the UK before the post was removed.
RapeLay is a Japanese videogame developed by Illusionsoft in which the player operates the main character to rape a family of women – a mother and two daughters – to beat the game. Features of the game include recruiting fellow gang members to participate, controlling wind to blow up the their skirts, tying them up, forcing the woman and girls to abort pregnancies, and raping more than one character at a time and in different sexual positions.
While my thoughts don’t necessarily reflect those of SACOMSS, I think most would agree that shock, anger, sadness, and disgust are some common and acceptable reactions to have to RapeLay. But what is especially disturbing about this game and others like it is not just their mere existence- that they’re out there for purchase – but what goes into creating, marketing, and participating in them. Behind these games are people who are actively condoning the act of rape (digital though it is, it is sill blatantly and purposefully non-consensual rape; that seems to be part of the fun). There are people who developed and animated these horrific concepts and the minute graphics of “tears glistening in the young girl’s eyes” as she is being attacked; there are people who scheme up marketing tactics to make them appeal to the masses (of young boys?) that are potential buyers of videogames; there are people who are a captive and receptive audience to this concept of the sport of rape.
There’s a whole market out there for fetishized images of rape and sexual violence – this, other anime and cartoons, rape pornography, simulated rape pornography, the infatuation with snuff film…the list goes on.
As people, as members of SACOMSS, as members of humanity, we have to look at the re-creations of rape in film, gaming, pornography, whatever, from the most critical of eyes. These images that fetishize and condone rape and sexual violence serve to perpetuate a society that does the same, a society that doesn’t really believe that no means no, that doesn’t acknowledge the gravity of non-consent, and that continues to put the onus of stopping or preventing sexual assault on survivors instead of on the institutions that allow it to be viewed as insignificant or “a game” in the first place.