When you don't get to hit the replay button

I posted this link on twitter earlier this morning with the added comment that turning a woman into a cornered animal was not a huge step in her evolution.


Judging from the comments I got there - telling me I was wrong, because this made her hardcore, or that I had misread the context - I am probably going to regret writing this, but there are times that I can't be silent, even when I know speaking is going to hurt. So.


In case you don't want to click the link, here's the pull quote:


In the new Tomb Raider, Lara Croft will suffer. Her best friend will be kidnapped. She'll get taken prisoner by island scavengers. And then, Rosenberg says, those scavengers will try to rape her.

"She is literally turned into a cornered animal," Rosenberg said. "It's a huge step in her evolution: she's forced to either fight back or die."

Let's just skip the bit where you tell me it's just a video game, and that violence, and violence against women, is part of art. I know that. 

The reason that I have a problem with this, the reason I am writing this post, is that the executive producer of this game seems to be saying that getting raped is losing the game.

I'm going to try to start from a position of generosity here. I'm going to assume that the reason being raped is treated like one of the worst things that can happen to a woman is because the writers and producers of this game understand that it is. Being raped is horrible, and horrible doesn't even begin to be a big enough word to cover being raped.

But I have a huge problem with there being a game where, if your female character doesn't fight back well enough, she gets punished by being raped. And my problem is because this hews too closely to the actual reactions rape survivors get.

Here is what we get asked: What were you wearing? Did you know him? Did you scream? Was your skirt too short? Were you in a bad part of town? Did he spend a lot of money on dinner? Were you wearing a bra with that dress? Did you let him touch you? Did you hit him? Did you fight back? Did you fight back enough?

Let me tell you about a legal standard, the standard of "utmost resistance." This was the requirement that a woman had to meet to prove that she had been raped. She had to fight back to the maximum amount of resistance she could, otherwise it wasn't rape. She must have wanted it.

Game over. She lost.

Excuse me. I need to go throw up.