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Virtual Rapes In ‘Grand Theft Auto 5’: Prelude To A Dangerous Trend?

Posted on August 22, 2014 in Culture-Vulture, Gender-Based Violence, Taboos

By Richa Priyanka:

The action-adventure video game series, Grand Theft Auto, gained much disputation with the broadening of the crimes that are permissible to the lead antagonist, which now allows rape.

An instant success when launched in 1997, the GTA series’ games are set in various imaginary cities, which are just the modified versions of major cities like the New York City, Miami, and California. As the player, starting as a lowly thug, progresses through the game, involved in various illegal activities, he is also allowed to roam about freely in the cities and indulge in side-activities. The crimes that the players commit used to vary from rash driving, occasional role playing, robbery, to third person shooting. The players chose their missions, and as the intensity of the crimes go on increasing, they go from being a thug to a big time criminal.

virtual rape GTA

GTA has kept improvising its crimes, along with the gameplay and graphics, with the coming of every new game in the series. But, the line was almost crossed with the introduction of the concept of virtual rape into the series. As if, the already existing gangster elements of the game, involving prostitution, drugs and murder, weren’t enough, the GTA 5 players now are able to modify the game’s codes and rape the avatars of other players.

Use of offensive language, often racial phrases, are almost customary with the series. Now, there are highly sexually explicit scenes that allow the players to pick prostitutes and then, move to a corner with her and engage in sexual acts. Apart of the prostitutes, there are strip clubs where the strippers offer lap dances to the antagonist player, and would also encourage groping, if the player can avoid getting caught by the bouncer of the club.

The new aspect of the game, virtual rape, is under much criticism because the players, by slight modification of the codes, lock themselves into other characters which is generally a pant-less, or rather a completely naked man and rape the avatar of another player. The victim can be anyone, regardless of the sex and character in the game, and the attack can’t really be prevented. Once stuck as a victim, there is absolutely nothing that the players can do to get out of it. The antagonist would thrust his pelvis back and forth into the victim, and after the rape, the victim is stuck doing strip dances. Several players have been recording the gameplay and then uploading the videos on Youtube. In spite of the numerous videos blocked, reported and removed from there, the new ones keep coming up quite frequently. Rockstar Games is yet to comment on this disturbing new trend. Last year, when a video-game blogger thought he encountered a rape in GTA 5, Rockstar responder that “the episode in question was meant to depict and imply cannibalism, not rape.”

Also, last week, Lauren DiDonato put it at Viral Global News that, “Players are recording the virtual rape on their computers, and uploading it to YouTube, as well as other popular social media networks. Through these videos, it is abundantly clear to see that virtual rape is indeed occurring in the game.”

As it is noted that the rapes aren’t considered as crimes by the game’s rules and it doesn’t win the player any credit, it is quite apparent they do it just for the sake of boasting, and trolling.

While some say it is just a part of the game, many players are unhappy with the perturbing change that the series has undergone with the new game. The rape and flaunt attitude that the GTA 5 has brought into picture makes us wonder again about the notion people have regarding rape, specially the rape of women. How much of the crime is a result of lust and how much for power play, is quite apparent in the gaming sensation that the virtual rapes in Rockstar Games have become.