Where are the moral/ethical lines in interactive fiction?


#1

Caveats:

  1. Yes, I know (for us) the short answer is “wherever CoG and/or HG (and Apple!) decide they are.”

  2. I used “interactive fiction” to include all stories where the reader makes choices that can impact story. I think most people take the position that simply reading about characters performing evil acts is one thing, while in interactive stories, we can allow readers to directly engage in the evil actions, which might be another thing entirely.

So do people have their own personal “lines in the sand” for their stories? Have any authors decided to take out scenes after getting feedback? How much is too much?

People have frequently asked for stories where they can be the villain. How possible is that? (note: I have not read “Diabolical”) I mean, how possible is it to really be a super evil player in a serious game and still pass CoG/HG, Apple Store, etc? It would seem that being “an anti-hero” or maybe “a player who kills villains” or maybe “Gru/Dr. Evil character who is never a serious threat and is played more for laughs” are options, but none that I would call an actual bad guy. (think Dean Koontz villains, really disturbed people)

And how do the setting and other story elements affect our views? For example…

I’m writing a darker story as a side project (will probably NOT be finished in time for the contest now -sighs-) where the reader and all the other characters are mid-range anthropomorphic animals (think right between the new Jungle Book movie and Zootopia) and I’m wondering if using animals lets me “get away” with giving the reader more morally dubious/evil choices? Example: What if I let the reader choose to eat another character? What if that other character is young, perhaps just a child? Is that too much? Or is it “okay” because we accept that animals (even anthropomorphic ones) eat other animals? Can you imagine a story where a human player-character is given the choice to eat another character? That would obviously trigger a much different reaction, I would think.

And does the reader’s option to be implicit in the action make a difference? How much? Would a scene where the evil NPC villain beats the snot out of an innocent person be less objectionable than giving the player the choice to be the evil NPC villain and beat the snot out of an innocent person directly!?

Anyway, I just think there is a lot of fertile ground for discussion here. Thoughts are welcome!


Inappropriate Choices
#2

There are no limits for anything in general and even if CoG won’t post it, somebody else would. Personally, I won’t write about things that creep me out or things that I don’t have the finesse to do well (not trivializing, I don’t think bad actions are well) like the MC getting raped in detail, child abuse, centaurs (seriously, it’s like romancing a horse :tired_face: ).

But, interactive fiction is a great tool for teaching, if everything is done well. There are several well done depression games (counting spoons) and we’ll done abuse games (papa y yo, but its more platform than if, Red Spider Vengeance) that can help people who never went through stuff understand victims. Sure there might be some who misunderstand the material, but as long as you don’t make it super good and happy, it’ll be ok, as long as it’s well written.

I think someone who murders someone in a video game isn’t more likely to be a serial killer than someone who plays Farmville is going to become a farmer. It’s obviously wrong to randomly murder and cannibalize people, but abuse is more amorphous and you don’t want to randomly get preachy because that lessens immersion.

I think the MC being a witness to an evil act is less difficult to do well compared to the MC being the perpetrator. The MC should be given options to disagree with bad acts, but if The MC can choose to disagree or be neutral, but not to agree then that makes the game worse, but adding an agree with bad option is sketchy. You are more likely to write yourself in a corner, especially if the bad option makes sense in the game world. Look at the Western Empire wip or the Kepler who attempt to deal with gay rights

I think the gods in the western game are real because lots of supernatural stuff happens, so when a religious leader says no gays that might carry some weight. Also, what’s the point of having a state religion you don’t agree with and if you know more than god, why follow them and stuff?
You are also given the choice to hypothetically murder a drunk person for boasting, but not the “heretic”. If the game was lighthearted and didn’t allow us to try to murder lots of people for no good reason, I would understand, but the structure causes a conflict.


#3

For example of the spoiler covered example you gave my friend you have to understand the theological justification and argument for that. Even if you don’t agree with it because it’s not simple as no.

Back on topic for a subject like this a Charles Manson like figure or being one of his acolytes. Would be a fantastic perspective of the darkness in people’s hearts without the production of War.

Even further playing through the childhood early life of even further playing through the childhood and early adult life of a figure like Charles Manson or any other modern-day monster.

Or some who was kinda born evil yet incredibly seductive in his time H.H. Holmes. The thing is though about that man he didn’t kill solely for killing itself it was a means to an end. But he definitely enjoyed it. Which we can all agree on is much more disturbing.


#4

Authors choose the range of possible player characters by choosing the actions that they go on record as performing (though much happens between the lines in the player’s mind). If you put evil choices in your game, the game becomes in part either about choosing between good and evil, or evil and slightly less evil, or about different flavours of villainous roleplay.

I’m not sure serial-killing, monsterous evil is even a particularly interesting player character: there’s never a compelling reason to be evil like that, the player would just be roleplaying as unhinged. But if they’re doing that then they make one decision at the beginning of the game (play as a monster) and then follow it through.

Meaningful choices should really come with an element of dilemma: do you do this evil act for personal gain or to prevent a greater evil etc.? These kinds of interesting choices can involve acts like murder, perjury, theft, cannibalism, but would preclude acts which are never justifiable and also wouldn’t pass content requirements.


#5

Wouldn’t write a pedo protagonist where that’s the whole goal of the story.

Not really going to write a protagonist with really weird fetishes either, but that’s more due to me not really being interested in writing about them rather than me finding them “over the line.”

I don’t bother asking people if something is offensive or not, so it doesn’t come up until after I’ve already written it. Chances are I already knew writing it that it was potentially going to be offensive, so again there really wasn’t any point in asking since I was going to proceed regardless. People of course are free to leave whatever comments they want, but I’m not changing anything though.

There really isn’t anything that’s “too much” since it basically depends on if your own motives and goals for writing the story in the first place.

If you want to reach a greater audience then obviously you’re going to have to tone stuff down. If you don’t care and want to stick with your vision, then put whatever you want in it.


#6

Okay. First, let’s get this out of the way: There is a game out there called RapeLay. It is exactly about that. So there are porn games where the player character is a rapist, and there are people who like that. While I doubt that CoG will license such a game, there’s clearly an interest and a market for that in the IF biz.

With that set aside, however, I think that @Sovereign2Lilith makes some excellent points, particularly in terms of player agency. I think that the answer to her dilemma is to not ask the player a question if you’re afraid of the answer. Don’t ask the player whether they support a certain evil if you’re not prepared for the player to say “yes please.” Abstract any moral dilemma that you’re not prepared to tackle. And if a player character has to have a particular opinion for the story to work properly, be careful with that and don’t let that destroy the player’s agency. (If it’s part of the premise, that’s one thing. If you’re suddenly told your opinion on a hot-button political issue, or how you’d like to bang another character, in the middle or at the end of a game, quite another.)

Also, I’m of the opinion that you shouldn’t wimp out, though others may disagree with me for this. To explain what I mean, there’s one case that I’m aware of in a CoG where the player can, in fact, coerce someone into having sex with them - Choice of the Petal Throne. However, the last you get if you take that option is how said subordinate says “I would be honored, sir,” with no description of the sex afterward, while other sex scenes tend to be lighthearted descriptions of clothes coming off. My thought was that the author shouldn’t have included that option at all if she wasn’t prepared to treat it seriously and give the usual bare-bones description of getting naked.


#7

Well, as we’ve argued on past threads, I think artists have an ethical responsibility that goes a bit beyond “to your own vision be true.” Authors share in the responsibility for how our work is received and the degree to which our art makes the world a worse place.

When it comes to the ways stories can worsen the world, the closest-to-home example for me was a friend’s near rape. She was assaulted by a date who started following a script in which the proper response to “no” was putting on an aggressive persona, swearing, ripping off clothes, etc. He was mystified when it all left her in tears rather than ardor. That wasn’t the response he’d encountered in the all-too-recognizable porn fantasy he was acting out. So he broke character and stumbled away, thank God.

While the overwhelming share of moral fault in that situation rests with the near-rapist, I don’t think the writer of the porn script he was following is off the hook. Stories shape our imaginations and our actions – including dehumanizing fantasies that promise consequence-free sex/violence/dominance. Especially when writing on a topic where “a lot of people already think it’s OK” (to quote Dan’s list of reasonable questions) an author’s got to be ready to take responsibility for people acting out their script.

And an author may be ready to take that responsibility if they’re confident in the merit of their work. But I’m going to go out on a not-too-long limb and suggest that pure dehumanizing fantasies have little merit beyond selling well. (It’s all well and good to talk about “toning stuff down to reach a greater audience” if you’re writing for the Apple Store, but there’s a healthy market for all manner of untoned-down awfulness).

It would be tidy if I could conclude that this means some topics are always, inherently off-limits. But I think Nabokov was right to write Lolita, and (this time a very long limb!) I think an author of his caliber could write it as IF without trivializing pedophilia. I still disagree with Dan that the choice structure trivializes all it directly touches. Horrific choices can be earned, both by what leads up to them and what follows them.

But for 99% of us, if we tried putting sex-crime choices into an IF frame, we’d just feed into an existing pool of dehumanizing sex fantasies without adding anything of merit. For all the time I’ve put into writing consequences and humanizing victims, I know my own work still sits comfortably in the dehumanizing murder fantasy genre. (Though I think there’s enough merit in Choice of Rebels and–crucially–little enough chance of someone acting it out that I’m willing to publish it and accept responsibility anyway.)

You think a bare-bones description would constitute taking it seriously? I’d set the bar a whooooooooole lot higher than that.

Finally, @Eric_Moser, I think both your animal example and a story with actual anthropophagy passes Dan’s reasonable question test mentioned above. In a nutshell, you’re highly unlikely to inspire actual cannibals, so the questions involved are ones of taste, not morals.


#8

I read an article somewhere that argued ‘There is no such thing as too graphic a story, only a story too graphic for its intended message.’ Over a year later, and I’m still thinking about it. There certainly is really nasty stuff in the world, and art should be able to address that. The problem lies more in getting too dark for your intended audience, and getting in the way of what you’re trying to accomplish with your story. (Can ‘shocking people’ be a valid goal? Maybe. Maybe some people need to understand the consequences of their beliefs – the least-controversial example that comes to mind is showing the reality of the Holocaust.)

But in IF? I do think everything becomes more personal when your reader is making decisions for a character. The medium itself makes everything a little more intense. I’ve seen some good examples of dealing with heavy subject matter in games (there was one called Hana Feels that had you spend part of the game answering a suicide hotline, and figure out the right way to talk to Hana to really help her and not alienate her). I’ve also seen myself taking on aspects of a character I’ve played for ~30 hours. I think playing a jedi in SWTOR gave me a little more confidence being kind to strangers irl, but what does that say about playing as a cold-hearted sith?

I think the characters I create, for games or my own stories, always teach me something about myself. A character’s not quite real to me if it doesn’t contain some part of me – so evil characters can be an instructive warning. But that’s very audience-dependent.

You can’t take responsibility for who your audience is – you can’t know. I think there’s value in steering away from really dark actions/themes to avoid fueling destructive fantasies or putting concepts in someone’s head. But there’s also a place for letting players be ‘evil’ in order to tell them something, to speak to the person who’d make that choice. The most powerful SWTOR moments were when my nasty, lost character was offered forgiveness, redemption. I feel like such a Star Wars geek right now… It’s important to tell stories like this, I believe. It also takes a very skilled writer.

As for your specific example, Eric, I think using animals or other kinds of analogy is an excellent way to address darker subjects tastefully. Watership Down would be a lot darker if it was written about humans instead of rabbits. I don’t like reducing fairy tales to simple analogy, but start thinking about something like Little Red Riding Hood as an adult and you can see an interesting way to warn children about trusting strangers – without going darker than an animal eating people (which was probably an unavoidable topic anyway given the era).


#9

I kind of disagree. People are going to think what they want to think and do what they want to do at the end of the day and some can see hidden evil meanings (if you play this tape backwards, it tells you to kill everyone or some other crazy stuff) even if the game is about happy bunnies and puppies or ponies (I really don’t get this and I watched some of the show before). Even if you explicitly state that the game is just a game and don’t try this at home.

I thing the bad starts with people having bad or no socialization with things or people of different backgrounds that makes people say , “since X group acted that way on tv and I’ve never interacted with them irl, it must be true.” I, not being an Australian, didn’t know that kangaroo pouches don’t actually look like the cartoon drawings (but, cartoons aren’t suppose to look exactly like real life things, artistic liberties and all), until I saw a kangaroo video.

This is a silly example, but it’s the same thing with people and some actually believe racial jokes are true even though they’re just jokes, more because of their lack of experience with different races than the joke itself. I personally don’t tell racist jokes because I feel it’s more likely to make things worse than making things better. Sure the game in question could inspire furry (they’re like a mascot, humans who pretend to be animals) on furry violence, but no sane person commits violent acts because they saw it in a video game.

Don’t look at this video if you don’t like kangaroo pouches.

Don’t look at this video if you don’t like sappy romances and/or racial jokes.


#10

Let me be clear, I don’t think authors need to take responsibility for any and every use of their work. John Lennon has zero responsibility for Charles Manson’s racist fever dreams, for example.

But I think it’s disingenuous for an author to just say “oh, people are going to think what they want” when writing a rape fantasy, for example, or a fiction that literally demonizes your cultural opponents.

Sure, readers still have free will, and (as I said above) the lion’s share of responsibility for the choices they make. But stories do influence people – sometimes, as you say, because people only know something through a story, and sometimes because they just like the story better than they do the reality. (Bad porn writers know women; Peretti’s readers usually know at least one or two liberals.)

If you write a story that dehumanizes some group of people, and your readers then go and treat someone from that group as a less-than-human object in a way consistent with your story, I’d still say that you as an author share some degree of responsibility. An author who refuses that – who denies all responsibility for how people use their stories – isn’t morally or artistically serious.


#11

You’re thinking of Hana Feels. It really is a very good treatment of the subject.

The prose isn’t quite Nabakov, but De Baron is well considered allegorical work about child abuse. It’s a parser game but the core of the game is in conversation: talking with others and justifying or not justifying what the protagonist has said and done.


#12

I actually muted the thread that (I think?) this one spawned off of because I was the victim of at least five drug-facilitated rapes and I got that burning-cold sensation that comes when my body is preparing to send me into flashbacks, so yeah I got out of there. But I was really angry about it. I was angry at the OP, I was angry at the people responding and calling it “date rape” (which is an inherently trivializing colloquialism), I was just that kind of bitter where I could sense I was going to say some ugly, unnecessary and unhelpful things. If it’s okay I’d like to track this thread to read opinions and maybe contribute if I can think of something constructive to say but so far Havenstone has said things that sound like how I feel about it.

Also @Havenstone I am so sorry about what happened to your friend. I really hope she’s safe and healing.

ETA: I should say that I’m not judging the people who were on that other thread, or saying they’re bad, or blaming them, or attacking them (I’m so used to defensive reactions when I speak from the perspective of a victim or survivor). I’m making a point about how the content we create affects and influences other people by sharing a personal experience.

ETA 2: Sort of repeated myself a couple times, sorry about that!


#13

Being evil is fun and is often included in CoG games (eg Choice of the Dragon, and my own Scarlet Sails has a bunch of optional murders/betrayals for the PC).

You need two things:

  1. The choices needs to not to be too binary good/evil. According to CoG guidelines, that’s boring (in Scarlet Sails, it’s possible to be a very honest or even naiive killer). Mix it up with a range of original stats and choices that add up to a fully-rounded character.

  2. CoG doesn’t generally get too grim, gory, or graphically sexual. If it’s likely to make a ready feel icky, it might not be the right kind of thing for CoG. (Having loads of happy sex, fighting a war, or killing and eating a village is a-okay depending on how it’s written.)

That’s all just my opinion/interpretation.


#14

The lines have always seemed pretty simple to me.

“Am I going to read someone’s work and think that any ‘evil action’ is played for shock or to be edgy?” To use your example, yes, if there was an option to eat a young child, I’d put the work firmly under the ‘edgy’ category. Eating another human of comparable age? That would depend on the circumstances – is it a game about the limits of surviving, or having to cast aside morals?

Similarly, the other thread that mentioned a situation where one character is intoxicated and so on… My response to reading that was a simple why?

When presented with a situation that might be confronting or whatever, a reader shouldn’t immediately ask ‘why’, as in, ‘why is this included’. Because, as it turns out, the way things are presented can have huge real-world effects.

Consider the hypothetical of the ticking time bomb. You probably all know it by heart. A bomb will go off that will kill a lot of people but you have the bomber in your custody and you need to get the knowledge to defuse it out of him, which you know he definitely has and will divulge. Do you torture him to do it?

Most people would say yes.

But this is because the situation has been constructed to make torturing the suspect the correct and, indeed, only response.

Now, this hypothetical has settled into the mindset of the entire world and has basically spread like a thought-cancer. It’s been argued as normal and defendable because shows like 24 demonstrate it to be true which actually led to US soldiers using the hypothetical to justify illegal and immoral behavior.

Any form of media affects its audience and sometimes in ways no one can accurately predict. The belief that ‘violent media doesn’t cause ME to become violent’ is a weak strawman. If the media couldn’t affect anything, representation wouldn’t matter and advertising wouldn’t exist.

So, to return to my point, in the example where the protagonist could sleep with an intoxicated character who couldn’t clearly consent, my response is why? But also it is why did you create a situation where this event is ‘justified’ because you claim the PC gets ‘punished’ for it later?

Does that mean it is okay to hurt people if you get punished for it?

I agree mostly with @Havenstone. We have a responsibility. That responsibility is not to include moral transgressions for shock value and not to set up simplistic situations where the correct choice is to transgress those morals, whether that is set up by the situation itself (the ticking time-bomb) or by post-hoc justification (if you choose the Bad Thing, the character gets in trouble/punished).

The world isn’t just, after all.

Even Christine Love, whose work I adore, came very close to the ‘so edgy’ line in one of her releases (DTIPB) to the extent that I have reservations about recommending that game compared to the rest of her catalogue.


#15

Actually, one more thing.

As far as moral/ethical lines go, how many people here have played Emily Is Away?

It’s a work of IF that features one scene that indicates a uniquely IF problem when it comes to morality and accountability.

For those that haven’t, I’ll provide details in this spoiler block: Occuring towards the end of the game, the protagonist is a young man at college and his childhood friend Emily comes to visit. They sleep together, although the circumstances of the situation can vary from ‘maybe dubious’ to ‘definitely problematic’. Emily might bring alcohol, or the protagonist might. They might go to parties, or spend all their time in the protagonist’s room. The player might be the one making the moves, or Emily might be. Either way, sometime later, Emily is upset by the encounter and the implication is that it might not have been consensual. This is, of course, weird if Emily was the one putting the moves on, and basically turns the player into Schrodinger’s rapist if they were the one doing it under the reasonable assumption that it’d be consensual. The player never gets the choice whether to have sex or not (and if you don’t let Emily visit, she still hates you). It just happens off-screen.

Now, there’s actually a lot about EiA that is about the impossibility of understanding someone by communicating with them over an online medium (because you can alter your words in real-time). So, I can see why the encounter ends up being a source of acrimony. I can see why every option ends badly. I can see what the author was trying to do.

I still don’t think it was really something that should’ve been included, at least not without more care. The bait-and-switch is practically reprehensible.

edit: But what is interesting is that the sequel lacks anything like that, but also lacks the more melancholic edge of inevitable distance and the anxiety of putting your best foot forwards at all times that haunts the first game.


#16

I’m sorry but I don’t entirely agree with you there. If the author writes a non-fictional book that includes some controversial ideas and opinions of their own then yes, I’d say they should take responsibility for it, but that is where I draw the line. Since you’ve touched that particular topic then allow me to add this: Anyone who reaches adulthood and is unable to tell reality from fiction, going so far as to believe rape is ok just because they dabbled in too much porn or shady content, then IMO they are either mentally deranged or suffered a serious educational lapse during their upbringing.

I’ve always been in favor of labeling your work so that everyone who stumbles upon it knows what they’re getting themselves into, including whether or not its a work of fiction. Ignoring those warnings means you’re on your own and nobody else should be blamed for your decisions. I also dislike the idea of penalizing the authors by forcing them to cut corners or tip-toe around certain topics, just because some individuals are over-sensitive simpletons who don’t know when to stay away. Some people don’t care though, they try it anyway and then give it bad reviews, which leads to a bad reputation and poor sales. Again, why should the author be punished for some people’s decisions and / or lack of tact?


#17

“Since you’ve touched that particular topic then allow me to add this: Anyone who reaches adulthood and is unable to tell reality from fiction… … then IMO they are either mentally deranged or suffered a serious educational lapse during their upbringing.”

This is a strawman.

It isn’t about being unable to tell the difference. It’s about media, any form of media, manipulating people. Given that it is a multi-billion dollar industry, it is suspect when people claim that only people with mental derangements or are badly educated are vulnerable. Every single person is vulnerable to manipulation. Every single system can be subverted, and your mind is no exception.


#18

@Rhodeworks
Nobody is immune to subtle manipulation but with the the proper education and upbringing many situations can be avoided. How to conduct yourself in society is something you learn both from your parents and school and if you have a good head on your shoulders little amount of misleading media is going to change that.

A fair chunk of the youth today tends to end up growing with minimal parent care (either because they both work, neglect, etc) and spending too much time alone in front of a TV, their PC, their phones or with their school groupies, none of which are reliable in preparing you for society or telling what you should or should not do. That is why we have several cases of people mimicking what they see on the screen. When I was growing up I was always told I shouldn’t believe everything I see, that I should formulate my own opinions and that videogames, movies, etc are their own thing, reality is another.

If certain rapists had received the same lesson they wouldn’t be out there raping people "just because it happened in porn.


#19

Your argument is confused.

  1. Nobody is immune to subtle manipulation, unless they have ‘proper education and upbringing’.

(What is proper education and upbringing? Primary? Secondary? Tertiery? Post-Grad?)

  1. And yet, a ‘large amount’ of people have ended up growing up and being susceptible to that manipulation – from TV, PC, etc.

And yet you are making the argument that they are either “mentally deranged” or “suffered a serious education lapse”.

If an increasing number of people are becoming susceptible to that manipulation, then surely the argument follows that it’s more important to consider what lessons are being learned/normalised as opposed to shrugging and saying it’s just a minority who can’t tell the difference?

Again, it isn’t about confusing reality. It’s about what the brain – the brain, not the ‘you’ behind the eyes – thinks is acceptable behavior. It’s really no different to the old adage that you should let anger out by doing something physical, like hitting a punching bag. Only for people to realise that training the brain to associate Feeling Better with Hitting Something ended up with people punching people out once they got frustrated and angry.

Additionally, your final point in spoiler text vastly misunderstands and misinterprets the reasoning behind those acts.


#20

Content warning on this post, it talks about rape/consent/sexual assault. If someone wants me to go through and blur anything out, please feel free to ask. And similar warnings for the several linked articles, that are also about this topic

You’re right that with the right education a lot of grief about this topic–specifically rape, given that that seems to be at the forefront of the conversation/was part of the instigator of this thread–can be avoided, but people wanting that education oftentimes have to hunt it out for themselves. I don’t disagree with your assessment that in an ideal society, people wouldn’t take all of their moral cues from works of fiction, but right now that is where a lot of people, especially young ones, are getting their first understandings of things like sex and romance.

You’re arguing in favor of a hypothetical that I don’t disagree with, and that I don’t think anyone does, but the problem is that it is just a hypothetical. Most people aren’t going to get the education that you’re describing, most of them are just going to keep seeing “oh in the movies the guy keeps going after the girl when she says no, so I should too. No isn’t an answer, no is just a stall.” Why would they hunt out more information on a topic they already know about? When the media so consistently tells them that they’re already plenty informed on consent, why would they hunt out the extra education?

This is a very good article written by a man talking about the way media glorifies male sexism and dominance in relationships in an unhealthy way:
http://www.cracked.com/blog/how-men-are-trained-to-think-sexual-assault-no-big-deal/

As well as this video going over specifically Harrison Ford movies, but the types of scenes that are a trend in Hollywood and how they further the idea that a man can turn a no into a yes if he’s just persistent and forceful enough:

Part of the issue is that people don’t really know what rape is. When you’re having a conversation about whether or not a piece of work is buying into rape culture, you can’t really make the assumption that everyone consuming the piece of media is going to be well educated about what rape is, what is and isn’t okay–the idea that consent has to be an active, informed, enthusiastic “yes” rather than a coerced agreement or lack of a no is one that’s only recently starting to become the common definition–and how common it is really depends on what circles you run in. A lot of studies have been done that demonstrate that people are more willing to say “it’s okay” as long as the word “rape” isn’t used–meaning that even if people do agree that yes, raping someone is wrong, they’re fuzzy on what exactly rape is, and maybe think that they’re assault that doesn’t match the common image people are shown to associate with rapists–a stranger in a dark alley–then it doesn’t actually count, and what they did was fine.

Adding to all that, tagged at the end because this is potentially specific to the US, our legal system is terrible at punishing rapists. Victim blaming is rampant, people are so prone to assuming that the girl did something to encourage the man and so that means he’s owed a sexual favor, or that she said yes but decided later on that she wished she hadn’t, or a thousand other justifications for what the man did so he’s really an alright guy anyway. The world rushes to defend these people, so it’s difficult to make it stick in the mind that what they did was wrong.

This is another article, a first-hand account from a girl who was raped about the aftermath and discusses why it’s difficult to be taken seriously as a rape victim and how the crime is made to seem less heinous than it is: