This Flash game (which I’ve embedded farther down the page–NSF work or those who are offended by penis) recently came to my attention. It concerns Resident Evil‘s Chris Redfield, and as the creator puts it ‘taking advantage of him.’
I did not speak on RapeLay for two reasons: I did not play it and Leigh Alexander covered it extensively. I did, however, ‘play’ this Flash game (the gameplay is incredibly simple, and can be over in seconds).
It has a pretty simple premise, as the site states: “Unfortunately for Chris he’s been captured by the bad men. Fortunately, now’s your chance to take advantage of him!”
The question that immediately came to my mind was, “Is this rape?”
Try for yourself (again, NSFW):
Having tried other Flash animations the site boasted (including Wakka and ‘Hard’ Snake), all of them have the same basic premise. The initial response to ‘our’ hand touching their soft penis is negative and in varied ways they tell us to stop. The game tells us in rather clear terms that we are raping our victim.
There are a few issues many would raise here:
Can a man be raped? Despite many states in the United States (and varied other countries) refusing to have laws concerning it, yes, they can.
If there isn’t any penetration happening, is it still rape? While many legal definitions vary, rape does not have to include penetration.
It’s just a handjob, surely that isn’t damaging to the supposed victim? Rape’s damage is not purely physical, but also has psychological components to its assault. Rape is also not merely about damage, but a transgression against a person who says no.
Of course, we could also get into semantics arguments over whether this constitutes sexual assault or rape, but how would you classify the different between the two? There also exists the question of whether we, as an invisible hand, can really be raping the person portrayed.
Due to the site it is on, the implied audience playing will be male, but there is nothing to state this other than its location. Theoretically, because the game hands us the control, if you are female and playing the game, and want to be a female doing this, you are a female in the situation.
Can this situation constitute rape?
Even the trailer made for this game has a jarring moment where a sexual build-up occurs and then Chris quickly segues into screaming, “Stop it!” while the music skips and the frame jumps on us:
So what? Well, being the type of person I am, I am not an alarmist who would call for the banning of such material. It is pointless and it leads into a slippery slope for other premises in which rape or sexual assault might be handled in a story (the recently adapted comic Watchmen comes to mind). Not to mention the fact that I remain unconvinced that this by itself will cause a player to go out and perform the same act.
However, it does raise a question of who plays and enjoys these games and how we define this. I define it as rape, though I know many would disagree with me. Sexual assault against males is something we as a culture do not talk about. Seriously, we do not. While we handle rape and sexual assault against females poorly, we somewhat dubiously accept that it exists. Personally, I have been in the situation, and the level of ineptitude people had with dealing with the situation and even acknowledging it was disturbing.
I won’t bother going into statistical analysis (which is worthy of wariness), but it does occur, and much like with female victims, these males quite frequently are not willing to talk about it, or are unable to identify and classify this act as rape.
It is deplorable, but it does occur. If anything, I cannot look at this game and only think about the perversity of it (and perversity is, by all means, not necessarily a bad thing). I look at it and the comments that praise it in terms of being sexy as an indicator where the gay community can condone such acts. Where a society that does not talk or discuss sexual assault or rape on males can give the impression that this could be sexy, since it is wholly ignored and allowed to be claimed in some hidden fashion.
It does not often surface to the light of day (though this has been linked by both Kotaku and GayGamer, at least), but I find it unfortunate that the conversation centered around it only discusses whether or not it is sexy. On the other hand, the context does not allow for much more discussion beyond that, or does it? Yet I cannot shake the curiosity of why there is a need to put these males into situations where they are not reciprocating on the level of enjoyment, but I personally don’t understand the prediliction and demands to be ‘straight-acting’ (whatever-the-fuck that really means).
Or, am I taking this too seriously? After all, it is just a Flash game, on a gay pornography blog. Not to mention a whole genre of pornography exists around this. Again, I have no interest in any censorship, but am asking other peoples’ thoughts. The whole situation has no clear-cut answers for myself, but I felt it one worth exploring.