I used to play an iPhone game called Clash of Clans. It’s a combat strategy (resource-gathering, town building/raiding) time sink that I played for months and months until I finally had to just delete it off my phone cold-turkey. There was really no way to make any significant progress in the game without spending real money, which I refuse to do because that’s insane. My clan was cool at first, but started to become a little bro-tastic. I found myself feeling discouraged from participating in the chat since much of what was said was the kind of shit I would expect to hear in a high school locker room; weirdly explicit talk about sex, using ‘rape’ to describe something other than violent sexual assault and torture, a few instances of homophobic slurs like ‘faggot’,etc. I would point these things out as childish and backwards, and get promptly shut down: “I can say whatever I want, if you don’t like it, don’t read it,” I was told, as if I could distinguish hateful language from normal, inoffensive language without reading it. Those same idiots would then proceed to complain about how our clan wasn’t active enough in the chat. I told them I would participate more if they stopped pretending like the whole clan was male. I was not the only female in the clan. They could not have given less of a shit.
I was pretty disappointed by the whole atmosphere until one interaction where one of the adult, male clan members used the word rape to describe how his town could not withstand attacks by other players. I was especially surprised to hear that kind of rhetoric from him since he had just confided in us not a week prior about how he and his girlfriend had pulled into a parking lot to find a woman (a friend of his girlfriend, actually) who had just been raped. They found her passed out and beaten in a state of partial undress. They called the cops and stayed with her until they came. He sounded pretty shaken up at the time, so imagine my surprise when he started dropping ‘rape’ like it was the equivalent of having his little imaginary villiage adorably knocked over by little imaginary dragons and hot air balloons.
As usual, I spoke up, and was shocked when a third clan member jumped in:
P: supercell needs to lower the cost of shit or give us more gold mines or collectors
P: this game is made for people to spend money
P: fucking bullshit
K: dude this game is for rich people
Toph (me): yeah, im approahing the point where ill have to either put in $ or stop playing.
P: me too Toph
P: like fuck
P: its impossible and i get raped in every damn battle
P: and its hard to 3 star
P: like its not fun if i can barley play…
T: raped? really?
P: Toph… its an expression.
T: …of sexual assault. was it you or S who found a rape victim recently?
T: because that’s what women picture when dudes throw that word around.
P: Toph. i did.
P: im a big boy. i dont need to be corrected.
G: P, Toph has had a bad experience in the past, who knows.
G: But you should show some respect because you really dont know.
G: has maby had a bad exsperience*
P: dude i just found a girl ik raped. i of all people know bro.
P: i show respect
G: I know, and im sorry fo rher and those effected by it, but its not A bug deal to not mention a word if it potentially upsets
So. Wow. Words of kindness from a dude in the clan. Pretty amazing. What’s more, if memory serves, this guy’s handle was something like Guntotinredneck, lol. I never thanked him since there wasn’t any way to send private messages, and no way to tell who was online at the time. I wish I could have thanked him. I almost cried when I read this. Thanks, Guntotinredneck, wherever you are. Maybe next time it won’t take a man’s voice reiterating my point for the message to be heard.