Hey queer kids,

I wrote a very dense, heavy article a ways back about rape culture and the way society dis-empowers women and their own sexual agency.  Well, for as much as I wrote and quoted, I find now that someone else has come up with a short, simple, and incredibly powerful allegory for rape culture.

The April Round Table is a feminist post in a gaming community, and puts forth the idea for a video game which simulates rape culture.  The idea being that the world is split into two categories- yellow and blue shirts, with yellow (including the player him/her/hirself) being the everyday people, and blue being potential assaulters.  I think it has a poignant message, especially when talking about flashbacks and the potential for a second assault after the initial one has been committed.

Perhaps the most important aspect:

“Characters may give the player advice on how to avoid getting ‘shot.’  Following or not following this advice will have zero effect on the player’s chances of getting shot. The player probably won’t know this at first, but may figure it out, when they eventually DO get shot, and exclaim, but I did everything they said!”

Because that really is the truth of it, guys.  It doesn’t matter who you are- male, female, genderqueer, black, white, latino, disabled, gay-, where you live- suburban, rural, or big city-, or what you do, it is impossible to categorically prevent your own rape.  There is no advice you can follow, no set of rules which will make you “off limits,” and no people you can avoid to keep you 100% safe.  And that’s a horrible reality to live with.  But it’s one we’re all better off understanding.

This is the reality I want every person who’s ever made a rape joke to understand.  This is the reality I want my sister to know so she takes care of herself in high school and college.  This is the reality I want my best friend to know so he understands why I can’t come visit him in Georgia-Petworth at night.  This is the reality I need to make myself understand so that I have a healthy respect for my own safety, both here in DC and when I travel to Africa.  It is SO VERY IMPORTANT.

Again I ask, what are you doing to help prevent rape?

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