Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Münchausen's Rapist

I recently ran across a strange bird on an online game. I had been warned that she was crazy and had many alts which she used to stir up trouble.

But I was pleasant to her, one of the few people who was in all probability. Maybe this is why she brought her sob story to me. She claimed she had been raped... on-line, in the game.

As I have both feet firmly planted in reality, it is not a claim I can take too seriously. Whatever happens online is not comparable than a real world physical rape. And besides I saw through the lies straight away.

However, 'rape' within roleplay is against the rules, or at least has to follow certain rules, so the Admins had to investigate or at least make a judgment based on the evidence they were offered. While they did this discreetly, the accuser made very public accusations.

A few days passed and during my travels within the virtual world I heard about very similar story. To cut a long story short, I soon uncovered around nine alts belonging to the woman, some a month old, some a few years old. But all pretty similar. Similar enough to be obvious.

It seems the modus operandi is to pretend to be offering Rape Roleplay. For her to go along with it, then afterwards claim there was no consent, that they forgot to ask if Rape Roleplay was approved. She would then try to get the 'gentleman' banned, threaten to report Admins that did not ban the accused, all the while trying to garner attention and sympathy from her new tribe/gang/clan/guild.

The motives seem obvious:-

1. Sympathy from people who don't seem to be able to separate RolePlay from reality and think that this is as serious as a real/world rape, or at least act as if it is.

2. Attention. This causes drama. It seemed to me that few people believe her accusations, but that probably doesn't matter much as attention is attention. Hatred and anger is better than being ignored. And like all drama queens they lap it up, reveling in being the victim.

3. Power. As it seems anyone who claims rape is automatically believed by some people, being in this position gives them a certain amount of power. The are doing damage to those they accuse, it may not last but they are forced to defend themselves. And suddenly the accuser is rubbing shoulders with the Admins.

I am told that the person in question has caused all sorts of problems in various ways, usually making up stories and accusations. But this trick of using false accusations of rape has been repeated. It makes me think that it is some kind of Factitious Disorder, related to Münchausen by Internet, which can include feigning being a victim of violence.

***

I am sure none of this is new or unusual. Similar tricks are probably as old as the internet. I dare say this also happens in the physical world. I wouldn't have written about it if it were not for an observation that few people actually identified and said that this is not really rape.

Obviously this is a game and it has rules, and the Admins have to work within the framework of those rules. So there was discussion about where and how this happened. There were also a couple of people who pointed out that she could have actually said no or turned the computer off.

But assuming she had not faked chat logs, was not making up stuff on the spot. Assuming it all went down as she described.... then the only crime the accused had committed was a minor infraction of the rules in a roleplay game. He had forgot to ask for her approval. When it's framed on those terms, this breach of the rules is about as minor as you can get. It is actually equivalent to something like forgetting to wear the right group tag.

And yet, because the word "Rape" is involved, some people treated the matter with the utmost gravity. Certainly she was acting as if this rape in roleplay was somehow morally equivalent to the real thing. This is an amazing thing to behold because when asked why she didn't just log off, she said because her meter had not turned from purple to red. So she was faced with options, to TP out to another sim, log off, or stay and get raped. And having weighed up her options, at the time she reached the conclusion that the colour of the text above her head was a more serious matter than being raped.

Obviously she is batshit crazy. But I am amazed that more people I spoke to over the incident didn't argue against her on this point. Instead the debate was mostly about consent and jurisdiction.

More amazing is that this group of sims are covered in people shooting each other. If somebody guns another person down without the required roleplay rules being observed, it is usually the case that they cry 'cheat', nobody calls for people to be banned on the basis of 'murder'.

(To give this some more context, the incident started on one of the few Adult sims on this group, where many people go for Capture/Rape RP. It is pretty much par for the course there, although such games are strictly forbidden in any form on adjacent sims. So the severity of the breach of rule depends on what sim they are on. But lets face it, what people say consensually in IMs rather than local chat is their own damn business.)

Saturday, 8 March 2014