Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Winners can’t be victims?

Massive trigger warning for rape and assault, domestic violence, and victim blaming.
Please note that I repeatedly use the term Victim in this piece. This is a term a lot of people choose to leave behind in their recovery from assault, domestic violence and rape, for the purpose of moving on, and empowerment.
Please understand that the term is used to point out the power imbalance in the scenarios given, and is not meant with disrespect.

Much love to those survivors out there.


There has been a lot of discussion on gaming and feminist sites around the rape joke at Microsoft's E3 Reveal. I have a few points I want to make.

Firstly, those two people were supposed to be showing how FUN gaming is, how great the new console is, and why people should buy it. They were supposed to be the epitome of what is awesome about gaming.
And rape jokes were a part of that.
This rubbish is so ingrained in the culture that not only did it happen, but it happened at a “show” about how fun gaming is. Could you isolate some of your audience any more if you TRIED?

My second point is less about this specific incident, but about the responses to it.

I found something very interesting with regards to the response in support of the “joke”.
In multiple cases, they pointed out that “in the end” the woman gamer won.


Can someone please explain to me what about winning makes an assault/rape/victimisation less real or awful?
Yes, that woman eventually won the bout (don’t even get me started on staging that) but at a point in time, the other gamer made a reference that most people in the room, certainly any rape victim understood.

“Just let it happen. It will be over soon."

There are phrases that I am very, verycareful not to use with patients. One of those phases is “it will be over soon.”There are few things more triggering than hearing the exact phrase an attacker used, coming out of the mouth of someone you thought was safe. I can only imagine that then hearing a ROOM of people laughing at that phrase would be truly sickening.

So I think some people agree with me that that particular phrase was Not OK. So what about the fact that she won, suddenly made it ok?

What about a woman turning around and stabbing her rapist makes what he did less of a rape?
What about winning a court case and sending some pack rapists to jail makes a teenage girl less of a victim, and more of someone who “stole someone’s future’?
What about a successful life makes someone an unbelievable victim?

The minimisation of the trauma of assault due to surrounding circumstances is common.

“She was asking for it”
“They were friends for a long time”
“He had a history of promiscuity”

But this whole “winners aren’t victims”thing is more subtle, and just as dangerous.

Bad things happen to successful people. Ask anyone who works with domestic violence cases. Some of the shiniest homes with the biggest incomes have hidden bruises inside.
People who are in the spotlight due to great success are not immune to the cruelties of the world.

And this is REALLY important people. The person who is smart, and eloquent, and able to fight back is NO LESS a victim than those who cannot. Rape is still rape.

It doesn’t matter how many fights, or court cases, or reputations you win back.
The person who perpetrated an assault, did something WRONG.
No matter how many rights happen after that, the wrong doesn’t go away.

Quit making this about the victim's actions, before, after or during the event. Let’s start looking at the perpetrators.

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