April 20, 2020

STATEMENT – Popular Video Game Company Steam Portrays Rape as Entertainment

During Sexual Assault Awareness Month, National Center on Sexual Exploitation Issues Warning About Explicit Video Game Content
 

Washington, DC (April 20, 2020) – In recognition of April’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation is warning about games featuring rape, sex trafficking, and violent pornographic scenes on Steam’s online video gaming platform and store, which is used by millions of minors.

“Steam needs to understand that rape is not a game, and we call on the company to change its policies to stop hosting such sexually explicit material,” said Dawn Hawkins, senior vice president and executive director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.

“Steam gamifies sexual violence by currently hosting and allowing video games that portray rape scenes — a socially irresponsible policy in a society reeling with consequences of sexual assault and exploitation. Since Steam implemented its ‘anything goes’ policy, with few exceptions, sexually exploitive games on Steam have skyrocketed, going from just over 700 games tagged for the keyword nudity in 2017 to now 3,911 in 2020. This is the reason Steam made it onto our 2020 Dirty Dozen List of mainstream facilitators of sexual exploitation.

“These games on Steam normalize the sexual use, and often abuse, of others. When video games include sexually graphic and degrading themes, the user is not only a voyeur but an active participant in staging the scene.

“We also urge parents to be aware of the sexually graphic and exploitive material that is found on Steam’s gaming platform and store, especially given that children are spending more time with online media,” said Hawkins.

Steam has over 90 million active users, and approximately 35 million users are minors who can easily gain access to the system by simply clicking past the age blocking walls to see and buy or freely download sexually explicit games such as:

  • MIRROR – This is a game that features rape scenes and even has a meter to measure the amount of pain and discomfort being inflicted by the player.
  • LOVE VIBE: ARIANA – This is a pornographic video game portraying clear penetrative sex acts.
  • MY SERVANT AND THE STRANGER ASTENSIA – This features and promotes rape scenes and sexual harassment.
  • HOUSE PARTY – Steam has currently updated this game so there are censor bars over the nudity, but the premise of the game and its themes of coercing women into sex via intoxication, blackmail, and deception are still intact.
  • Additional problematic games on Steam can be found here: http://endsexualexploitation.org/Steam

National Center on Sexual Exploitation

Founded in 1962, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is a nonpartisan and nonsectarian non-profit and the leading national organization exposing the links between all forms of sexual exploitation such as child sexual abuse, prostitution, sex trafficking and the public health harms of pornography.

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