Swedish version

The drama that never seems to end

av Madeleine Leander

I didn’t want to say more about this but since it got as big as it did and since I continue to get questions about it I will make another post for my followers.

Here is what happened: I was invited to play in a tournament. Before the first match my opponent tweeted “going to rape some girl soon” with the hash-tag of the tournament. I didn’t know about it until after, when I was informed by a tournament admin. Of course I didn’t think that my opponent would come to Sweden to rape me but I was pretty disturbed by the tweet. I made a short post about it on my blog. At that time I didn’t know that the player in question was about to be disqualified. When I was informed about it I made an update on my blog as soon as I had the time. The player apologised and took the punishment. I think that could have been the end of it.

But what happened was that a lot of big (and small) profiles in the community started making statements about what had happened. Some tried to be funny and some just really hated that the tournament (and I) wasn’t ok with rape jokes like that. I got hundreds of messages from people telling me that they wish that I get raped or that I die, people saying I had nothing to do in the gaming community since girls can’t take “funny jokes” and more. Interestingly enough most of them came from newly created accounts. The hate messages didn’t really bother me but at the end of the day it was really nice that many people showed their support too. Thank you!

There were two sides with strong opinions. One side thinking that the player in question did something wrong and one side thinking that he was just being funny and that I had no sense of humor. It appeared to be an important subject for many people and finally it was discussed I guess. I wish I had nothing to do with it but I happened to end up in the middle. I don’t think it’s a good thing to joke about rape. I think it’s pretty bad and that there are better words to use if you want to say you are going to win a match. After reading some of the messages I received I can conclude that a lot of people seem to not understand why the choice of words was problematic to me. Even if it’s done with awareness or due to ignorance I think rape jokes trivialize the act of rape itself.

Studies estimate that one out of five women in the world have been raped and many live in fear of getting raped. Even if the real number would be one out of 500 I think it’s too high. It is not as common for men to get raped. Rape is a terrible thing no matter what sex you are but since more women get raped, and more women live in fear of getting raped, rape jokes are often more upsetting for women then men. Some words have stronger meanings for some people than others.

“Gay” is another such word. I used to use it sometimes, just like Incontrol, when I was younger to describe things like a shirt or even a workout exercise. I realized that it was a terrible thing to do, and I don’t do that anymore. But when I did joke about it I never meant any harm, I don’t even think I thought that people could be offended by it. The reason I used that word in such a bad context was that people around me did the same. And I didn’t question it.

I think the use of the word rape is a bit similar in some parts of the gaming community. A lot of young players see how others are using the word. They might not know anyone with experience of being raped and they might not at all question the use of the word. Is that something we want to teach to the young players? I don’t. When the tournament disqualified the player they sent out clear signals that needed to be sent out. They said that they don’t allow such a behaviour. Everyone didn’t listen, but I think that some did, and that is a win in this drama.

As I said, this grew big. It made the news in a few countries and a lot of people read about it. Not only in the gaming community. The reaction from outside of the gaming bubble seemed pretty clear. “Why on earth would anyone use the word rape to describe that they would win?”, they asked. If we want esports to be taken seriously maybe we need to think about the culture we are creating by using this type of expressions.



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