Oh god, I’m going to be sick.
First of all, the fact that whether or not you fight hard enough against the assailants determines whether Lara is sexually assaulted or not is completely disgusting. It goes right back to the whole victim blaming idea of “But did you fight him off? Did you try to run away?” Just because you can punch hard doesn’t mean you’ll never be raped. Just because you can smash buttons in the right order doesn’t mean you’ll never be raped.
The article also mentions how the executive producer of Tomb Raider said that men playing the game will feel as though they’re protecting Lara, rather than feeling as though they are being raped themselves. There are so many things wrong with that sentence that I don’t even know where to start:
a. Despite popular belief, men can relate and empathize with a female character without losing their manliness.
b. Using rape as a plot device, especially one to make men feel better about themselves, is sick, misogynistic, and unfortunately an increasingly common theme in comic books and video games.
c. There will be many many players out there who will be extremely pleased by the fact that they can let Lara be raped. Plenty of sickos out there are going to love seeing Lara Croft sexually assaulted, and the creators of this game are enabling and practically encouraging them to enjoy the experience.
d. Men can be raped, and I’m sure there will be quite a few male players out there who have been sexually assaulted themselves. I’m gonna wager that they probably won’t enjoy seeing that in a video game
e. Surprise surprise, women are going to play Tomb Raider too. And, just like with male players, there will women playing this game who have experienced sexual assault themselves.
By leaving the outcome of this situation up to some button pushing, you are trivializing and dismissing their experience. You are saying that a victim can escape rape if they simply fight back hard enough. You are putting the decision of sexual assault in the hands of the victim rather than the rapist.
Rape is not a joke, rape is not a game, and rape sure as hell isn’t an unlockable achievement.