Recently, I read an article in The Independent about the new and disturbing Grand Theft Auto V trend, virtual rape.
The popular game series, Grand Theft Auto known for its mission-based storyteling style with numerous virtual crimes including looting and murder; now permits gamers to edit codes to explore a world of sexual violence.
Now I’m all for video games from Sega to PlayStation to Xbox but what kind of example does this set for international youth? This is too far. The Grand Theft Auto V is allowing players to experience virtual pleasures through thrusting animation. There is no way this should be deemed appropriate when there are several rape incidents globally each day.
Rape whether virtual or real is not okay. If there is meant to be any progress with global sexual assault and abuse then there shouldn’t be games with this behavior for entertainment and especially to an online community. Also the fact that only female avatars are being subject to this behavior is even more problematic. Some people don’t realize that the internet is a viral community. Images can easily be manipulated and even turn into videos.
Since it doesn’t stop there because players can then upload and share their virtual actions to YouTube. To me, this is saying hey there let’s create virtual rapists. Is this really the message a video game company should be sending when they know their biggest clients are averaged ages 8 and up. While young, you absorb information and experiences which help to shape you as a person. I don’t think displaying graphic sexual violence as a feature is part of the right path within consumer culture.
What’s more, there have been situations where there are indiviuals who can’t tell the difference between the virtual world and reality. Perhaps psychological issues play more to their behavior but suppose this happens in real life, who is to blame?