Why it’s not just a game – the new Grand Theft Auto and White Ribbon Day

No. It’s not okay. And it’s not just a game. The new first person interactive mode released last week by Grand Theft Auto allows players to dictate a sexual encounter and then murder the woman – in first person interactive mode.

A particularly jarring juxtaposition is that this product was released adjacent to White Ribbon Day, in which men across the nation swear ‘never to commit, excuse or remain silent about violence against women’.

Retailers should stop selling Grand Theft Auto and every man and woman who cares about stopping violence against women should stop buying it. Encouraging, promoting or profiting from interactive experiences of the very kind we are trying to stop is counter-intuitive.

For instance, Target Australia says on it’s website that it strives to be a sustainable, ethical and socially responsible business. Yet they sell this product, and in the same week as White Ribbon Day activities, have defended doing so.

Some assert that because people choose their own game experience, the sale of this product is morally neutral. Yet this is mistaken logic. It’s not ‘just a game’ – it’s now an interactive experience of the most troubling and abhorrent kind.

Attempts to absolve ourselves from complicity in encouraging a more violent culture while endorsing and promoting this interactive experience are logically irreconcilable.

In a nation where, on average, a woman dies every week from intimate partner violence, it’s time to reconcile what we promote and what we condemn. And it’s time to let the values we hold dear become more important that the money we make.

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You can contact Target – even by copying and pasting the article above into an email – at this address: media@target.com.au

(An earlier version of this post said the game allowed the rape of women. Instead, rather than an experience based on mutual consent, it allows the gamer to have all control over the sexual encounter before murdering the woman.)

ruth@ruthlimkin.com

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