Warning: this story contains content that may distress some readers
A new video game that allows gamers to virtually abuse women has been pulled from the web and will no longer be distributed worldwide after a barrage of complaints about its demeaning content.
The Rape Day game, which was due to be released in April, is described by its creator as a “visual novel” where the main character can “verbally harass, kill people and rape women as you choose to progress through the story”.
An Australian petition signed by more than 3000 people pushed for the game to be banned on the grounds it would encourage sexual violence towards women.
.@steam_games is hosting a game called Rape Day, which lets you 'play' a rapist attacking women.
Last year, Change,org successfully pushed Steam to have a school-shooting game removed from the platform and petition starter Sheryl is hoping to do the same: https://t.co/9Qb5sDeb9m
— Sally Rugg (@sallyrugg) March 6, 2019
American software company Valve initially avoided condemning the game, weathering the backlash. On Thursday, however, it finally bowed to public pressure and issued a statement declaring the game posed “unknown costs and risks”.
The game – which was set in a zombie apocalypse – would no longer be uploaded to the digital distribution system, Steam.
“We respect developers’ desire to express themselves, and the purpose of Steam is to help developers find an audience, but this developer has chosen content matter and a way of representing it that makes it very difficult for us to help them do that,” Valve said..
Valve reached its decision despite announcing nine months ago it would “allow everything” on its storefront.
Prior to Rape Day being pulled from release, creator Desk Plant defended its graphic and sexually violent content in a blog post, arguing “most people can separate fiction from reality pretty well, and those that shouldn’t, shouldn’t be playing video games”.
“I did not set out to upset anyone,” the blog post read.
“I have to make games that I find fun and entertaining … In some way, every good fantasy is a power-fantasy. Porn is even more so about power.
“You can’t reasonably (sic) consider banning rape in fiction without banning murder and torture.”
So this game, Rape Day, is currently being reviewed by @steam_games. Needless to say, this is the kind of game that should NOT be on Steam, in any capacity, and I think we all need to collectively let the steam reviewers know that a game wholly centered on rape is *unacceptable* pic.twitter.com/7sCm6QNmI7
— J.L.Rose (@JaxonLeeRose) March 5, 2019
CQUniversity domestic violence expert Dr Marika Guggisberg said some scientific evidence suggested showing violence against women in video games could affect players’ attitudes in real life.
“Young males in particular are attracted to these games, perhaps because they feel their masculine identity is being sort of threatened by feminist action,” Dr Guggisberg said, pointing to the global #MeToo movement against sexual harassment of women.
“It’s really about the sexual objectification of women.
“Dominating them in an environment feels safe because (the players) can hide and because there is this sense of anonymity.”
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