What Happens When You Accuse Someone Of Attempting Date Rape In Guild Wars 2

Illustration for article titled What Happens When You Accuse Someone Of Attempting Date Rape In Guild Wars 2

Just because it's a video game doesn't mean scenes won't play out like they do in real life.

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In a post over at Keep It Up, a curious role-playing scenario from Guild Wars 2 is detailed: one where a character named Sylvia saw a human male giving a single drink to a female character—only to have the female character pass out.

Outside the game, the person controlling Sylvia knew what had happened: the 'unconscious woman' was really just a player that had to excuse herself from the RP (role-play) because of something in real-life.

In-game, however, the woman chose to use the "sleep" command at a tavern—which makes it look like the player falls in the floor in a heap. Which is to say, in-game, the 'dubious scene' presented a weird but interesting opportunity for role-play.

She wrote:

I saw it as a great opportunity to pursue some roleplay. My character, who was already standing near the exit, questioned him on his way out about the woman over his shoulder. She wasn't even aggressive about it then, it was casual. Mild.

His mutterings were nervous and dubious at best. He spoke about how he had "papers" to allow for such a thing, and he just had to get her back to his place.

Needless to say, things took a turn for the uncomfortable: they were playing out a scene involving a guy attempting date rape!

Things escalated from there. Sylvia tried to get the man to leave the woman alone or to at least get the woman to some healers; the woman needed help. She tried to call the local guards. No dice, nobody cared. The man became more agitated at all the 'libelous' and insulting implications of what he was doing.

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Even worse than having most people not care was that Sylvia then came under fire for being a loudmouthed nuisance that was "making a fuss" about "nothing."

People were more concerned over the reputation of the guy than they were of the well-being of the woman, basically.

I had initiated RP with the other player for the sake of fun, but I had increasingly become more and more unnerved by the turn. It's only a game and it's fantasy and roleplay and silliness, of course. The other players undoubtedly took cues from the out of character nature of things. It's not, after all, as if anyone could force another player to RP out something they don't wish.

However through the time spent playing this scene out, the manner in which it mirrored real life behaviour that I've either seen or read about in such detail was unpleasant, to say the least. Not only in the casual disregard for the unconscious woman's well-being from an IC perspective, but OOC the things that were said were so jarringly similar to the sexist and harmful things you hear in real life.

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You can read the full post here, which has more details in regards to what happened—but still, pretty crazy, right? Nobody forced folks to play along, much less in this specific way that mirrored real-life rape culture—doubting the veracity of the tale, protecting the guy, failing to help the woman in danger and so on. But they did.

J. Keep, the author of the post, recognizes that the way the role-play turned out isn't indicative of real-world sexism of the players. That, in a way, isn't really the point.

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"It's noteworthy because of how unnervingly true to life it was," she explained.

EDIT: To clarify, I don't think acting out a date-rape accusation scene is 'fun' or even tasteful, but the fact that people would do it to me is noteworthy.

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Games Imitating Life: Rape Culture in MMORPGs? [Keep It Up]

DISCUSSION

Dr. M to the J, PhD

Errr... this is an article about a blog post, right? A blog that describes itself thusly:

"Writers, gamers, bloggers, sex-positive feminists and perverts in training.

They spend most of their time writing smutty fiction, moderating the website Darknest Fantasy Erotica and reading blogs, books and online journalist sites. Oh, and playing video games. Lots, and lots of video games."

Let's just say I'm skeptical. In WoW, people used to say: Screenshot or it didn't happen. But of course, saying that would just get me pinned as some sort of rape denier in this article, apparently, so let's put on our realist hats and see if we can hash out something a little more reasonable from this tale.

Leaving aside whether or not the story is true at all, I'm skeptical that all this self-proclaimed "smutty fiction" writer who moderates the website "Darknest Fantasy Erotica" did to push it along was make a vague suggestion that date rape was occurring in an RP setting and then called for "guards", which of course requires a "guard" to be around.

But okay, let's treat this like it's meaningful for a second. I spent time in various RP servers on Warcraft and I've been on the one in GW2. Roleplayers in particular find someone to be a "nuisance" when he or she insists on butting into their private roleplay. It's considered bad manners to break in with your own schtick when you don't know what's going on.

In this example, it sounds like the writer saw something and in her erotica-addled mind conjured up a perverted scenario that she could then use to make a spectacle. Meanwhile, the people she was basically harassing were trying to do their own thing. So when she starts basically being a bitch about it, other people show up and call her a "nuisance" not because her character is really being a nuisance but because she herself is being one. She didn't "interrupt an RP date rape". She stumbled upon someone AFK and made a perverted suggestion that the other person ran with to laugh it off, but instead of laughing it off as absurd, she kept harping on it. I mean, in this story, she's the one who instigated the whole idea of "date rape". Then she turned it on the people she conjured it up for.

I can't help but think, if this is real, what really happened was that she saw something funny like an AFK character sleeping on the floor of a bar, conjured up a perverted way of interpreting it, and realized it was a prime opportunity for her to talk about date rape in videogames on her blog.

As to Patricia's conclusions here:

"Nobody forced folks to play along, much less in this specific way that mirrored real-life rape culture—doubting the veracity of the tale, protecting the guy, failing to help the woman in danger and so on. But they did"

No, that's not how I read it at all, and I expect that's not at all how it went down in-game if it did at all. That's not me playing into rape culture because I'm not doubting a rape occurred or protecting a rapist. I'm doubting that the motives of posting this were more than being sensationalist and drawing in blog hits.

If anything, this article seems almost like an advertisement for this blog, which in turn is an advertisement for a couple of "sex positive feminists" and their erotica website. You make this the crux of why it's posted, but I have to question if it isn't more that you have a (justifiable) feminist gamer axe to grind and perhaps a personal experience with rape that this particular blogger has tapped into for you. Or maybe she's a friend of yours or something. I have no idea.

Anyway, it's incredibly hard to respond to this type of thing because if you even dare to question it, you're immediately put in the "rape denier" category. And here we're just literally talking about a blog post by an erotic fiction writer.

Fiction.