Fighting Sexual Assault and Teaching Empathy with Video Games

[content note: military sexual assault]

There’s a decent chance that you’ve seen some of the increasingly depressing news about sexual assault in the United States military. Marine Major Mark Thompson was sentenced to sixty days in jail and a large fine for an incident involving accusations of aggravated sexual assault in June.

jeffrey-krusinski_custom-a77c69dbaba10bb014f98423bd854f682b33c472-s6-c30In May of this year, Lt. Col. Jeff Krusinski, head of the Air Force’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office was arrested for sexual assault, specifically groping. That same month, USA Today reported that an Army sergeant at Fort Hood in charge of sexual assault prevention was under investigation for a number of charges, included: being investigated for abusive sexual contact, pandering, assault and maltreatment of subordinates.

These incidents serve as backdrop for an endemic sexual assault problem in our armed forces. “Unwanted sexual contact” is reportedly up 35% versus 2010, as measures to address the glossing over of sexual assault by unit commanders are repeatedly rebuffed by the legislative branch of our government.

OrganicMotionLiveThis is disheartening news, but it’s worth nothing that in some ways the problem is being addressed both seriously and creatively. Organic Motion, Inc. has been contracted to develop a video game for the Navy for the “Avatar Based Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Training.” Organic Motion specializes in motion capture and already supports the US Armed Forces with similar interactive training technology, mostly to assess combat readiness. The sexual assault prevention program appears to be Kinect-based and rather in-depth, with a few cool moving parts.

“The system shall allow a subject matter expert to determine the appropriate response to both verbal and non-verbal cues so that the student receives improved feedback regarding their actions,” the contract reads. “It shall also provide the ability to change characters (gender, race) and environments facilitating greater student engagement.”

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Trailer Tuesdays: Girls Against Boys

(Trigger Warning: Rape, sexual assault, torture, murder)

If there is one movie you should definitely avoid, it’s Girls Against Boys.

From what I can tell from the trailer a girl, we’ll call her Girl One, is sexually assaulted outside her apartment. Girl One meets another girl, that we’ll call Girl Two, that offers to kill Girl One’s rapist. It turns out that Girl Two “gets off” on killing people and particularly targets men who have done women wrong. The entire premise of the movie seems to be “girls get revenge on men who are assholes.”

Now, maybe you are wondering why I, a feminist, am telling you not to see this movie. I’m telling you not to go see this movie because based on the trailer it’s looks like a terribly sexist movie! And what’s worse, despite the fact that neither of the women identify as feminists, people are already calling this a feminist movie, feminist porn, and even worse, feminist torture porn.

Let me reiterate, this is not feminism! If the writers and directors of this movie think this is feminism then they are wrong–very, very, very wrong.

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Tomb Raider Reboot: The Sexual Assault Problem

Trigger warning for discussion of sexual assault.

Aperigren: I will explain what this is about for those who do not know, but first I want to say something to those who do know. I am not upset over what will or will not be in the game, I am not upset over the trailer or how anything was portrayed in the trailer, and I am not upset over the way Ron Rosenberg, executive producer, initially talked about Lara or her characterization. I’m upset over how this whole situation is being handled both in the media and by the studio.

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