Op/Ed: Who is Being Edged Out?

by Jessica Holyoke on 01/07/09 at 11:00 pm

by Jessica Holyoke

As Zindra edged closer to completion, one of my Feminist groups popped up saying that now was the time to remove rape from Second Life, or at least its advertisement or feature in Groups.  They said now was the time to focus on how rape is a violent crime against women.  The description always bothered me because it ignores same sex rape for either gender or if a man were raped by a woman.  I tried at the time to visit gay sims that presented rape as a possibility but apparently no girls were allowed. 

Another one of my groups, Stop Violence Against Women, pointed out another group that stated as its goal the promotion of rape and violent torture of young girls.  That group was abuse reported and closed due to its content but the Anti Violence group was surprised to see another group mentioning rape, torture and dolcett was allowed to stay. 

In response to the other torture group being allowed to stay, a member responded how, as a practitioner of BDSM, most members of that community were opposed to rape, death porn and scat, even though no one brought up excrement as a possible violent act against women. 

In the aftermath of the Marianne McCann incident, Ms. McCann wrote about how according to the Linden Lab policy, she couldn't have sex pose balls near playground equipment.  Some commentators wrote about why was she being overly legal even though the pose ball near the playground is not a legal requirement, but rather a Linden Lab mandate to police against sexualized underage age-play.   There's no law stating you can't depict any form of sex near childhood equipment.  Image telling an artist that they can't draw two adults making love in a child's room because it is child pornography.  The no sex pose balls near the playground equipment policy is a content ban to make it theoretically easier to ban sexualized underage play. 

It was recently brought to my attention that the computerized  possession of child pornography will typically lead to more recommended jail time than the actual, physical rape of a child.  Despite the fact that the only evidence that consuming child pornography leads to child sexual abuse for someone other than the producer is the fact that child sexual abusers were interviewed after they abused someone, not before.   Additionally, there is a Mexican study being spread around as a basis to stop violent acts in SL because "people can be married in RL after being married in SL" proving that actions in SL lead to actions in RL. 

The other question after the Zindra incident is why do we ask about the baby furs, tinies and youthful looking – but declared legal aged avatars – in relation to sexualized underaged play?

With baby furs, if there is a sexual aspect to what they do, other than not looking like a human child, how is the supposed interest of not training pedophiles or preventing content from being created that would groom children to be victimized, being met? If a person wants to practice having sex with a child, and the steps involved, then what is really the difference between a human child and a baby fur? 

The issue of avatar size comes up because residents advocate it as a solution to the child avatar problem and the Herald famously dealt with a prostitute on SL who looked like a child but said she was hundreds of years old.  If you say you are doing it with little people or youthful people that look younger than what they are, are you still a pedophile?  Or put another way, if you lusted after Mary Kate or Ashley Olsen right after they turned 18 are you any different than the person who lusted after them when they were 17?

The point of all these examples is that the conservatives, the less libertine, the censors are arguing that the libertine, the liberal and the lascivious are pushing the edges and boundaries and fisking their way to make aberrations seem normal.  But first it was sexualized underage age-play that was banned,  now its onto rape.  Then it might be water sports or dolcett.  In the future, who knows what else might be next to be censored or removed from the grid.

38 Responses to “Op/Ed: Who is Being Edged Out?”

  1. Alyx Stoklitsky

    Jul 2nd, 2009

    Personally, I believe that if you felt even the slightest attraction to any of the Olsen girls, you are, in fact, mentally ill.

  2. put the ice cream down

    Jul 2nd, 2009

    I personally wouldn’t mind seeing dolcett go, myself.

    “The point of all these examples is that the conservatives, the less libertine, the censors are arguing that the libertine, the liberal and the lascivious are pushing the edges and boundaries and fisking their way to make aberrations seem normal.”

    Describes Prokovy Neva to perfection.

  3. Mary

    Jul 2nd, 2009

    I have no problem at all with sexual age play and rape being removed from the grid.

    Poorly written, muddled op-ed. Which of the two, rape or sexual age play, are you defending?

  4. Darien Caldwell

    Jul 2nd, 2009

    Of course, That has always been, and will always be, the conservative modus operandi. Make a compelling argument to get something banned or illegal, then use that as a toehold to move on to the next, and build on that, then to the next, and to the next.

    They always say they ‘just’ want to ban this one particular thing, until they succeed, and then suddenly they shift to the next ‘one’ thing they want banned. But the truth is, they don’t want compromise, they don’t want to play give and take, they want it all. They won’t be happy until everyone is as uptight, bored, and miserable as they are.

    This is the reason even things you may find distasteful have to be defended at times. You can’t allow them to even get the toe hold.

  5. Ivo Meads

    Jul 2nd, 2009

    They said now was the time to focus on how rape is a violent crime against women. The description always bothered me because it ignores same sex rape for either gender or if a man were raped by a woman.

    Wow. It’s amazing how, by the second sentence of the article, I can guess how the rest of the article will go. Why? Because, by the second sentence, you demonstrate yourself as incompetent to speak on the issue.

  6. Anti-Matter

    Jul 2nd, 2009

    Who you ask?

    Maybe the Herald. Maybe the BS is starting to lose it’s shimmering luster after all?

    Numbers are dropping ya kno…

  7. WTF?

    Jul 2nd, 2009

    Terrible logic in this article.

  8. Jessica Holyoke

    Jul 2nd, 2009


    According to the Extent, Nature, and Consequences of Rape Victimization: Findings from the National Violence against Women Survey by the US Department of Justice in 2006, found here http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/210346.pdf, 3% of U.S. men surveyed have been the victim of rape. Yes, women are much much more likely to be the victims of rape and its not a 50/50 split. However, by making it a women only issue, it ignores male victims.

    And if you want to make rape a human rights issue, then make it a human rights issue and not a women only issue. By making it clear that its not only a women issue or making it seem that only women can campaign against it, you might see more reaction against it.

    And I am not going to argue any greater issues about rape in the real world and not on the written page or screen than that.

    And the question remains, does depictions of gay rape create structural violence or whatever buzzword is being bandied about lately against women? If a man rapes another man, does it encourage a crime against a woman? I’m saying in the real world the act on either gender is vile but one does not cause or contribute to the other.


    The point of the editorial isn’t to defend Rape content or sexual underaged ageplay. The argument against proponents of that content is that they are trying to marginalize everyone else. Now we’re seeing that slippery slope that is always the concern, how if you say its ok to ban one species of content then its ok to ban another species for the same specious reason. Yes sexual underaged ageplay on Second Life is not only against Linden Lab policy, but also in many countries against the law. But now, we’re seeing people argue the same reasoning, if you write the content in SL, then you will perform it in RL, against allowing rape content in SL, and then that reasoning is being applied to still more content. But just saying the legal reasoning behind the SUA ban in SL is being applied to other content is not interesting to read.

  9. Ivo Meads

    Jul 2nd, 2009


    Yes, 3% of men have been raped. Nearly six times as many women are raped and that’s by conservative estimates. Furthermore, the overwhelming majority of men who are raped are raped by other men, which means that this is nearly completely a question of male violence, with the overwhelming majority of it aimed against women. I frankly don’t care what you find more or less inclusive, because men can and do stand up against rape all the time, and because men and women both benefit from ending the complex of sexual violence seated almost completely among men.

    “And the question remains, does depictions of gay rape create structural violence or whatever buzzword is being bandied about lately against women? If a man rapes another man, does it encourage a crime against a woman? I’m saying in the real world the act on either gender is vile but one does not cause or contribute to the other.”

    Depictions and acts are different things, so you’re asking different questions. You first ask if a depiction of gay rape contribute to rape culture encouraging sexual violence against women. You next ask if a man raping another man encourages men to rape women. Those are very different things and I’d also argue that you haven’t considered all the lines of causality, especially in light of your belief that male victims must be considered more.

    After all, given the level of male-male rape in prisons, one might suggest that raping women leads to raping men.

    And in either case, anything that keeps rape in the game is bad for everyone.

    The relationship of rape fantasy to actual rape, and the question of whether one can or cannot even be raped at all in SL, is a different set of questions, too.

    Either way, though, I really have found this to be the last straw for the Alphaville Herald and me. I honestly can’t even believe that such a discussion has to be had here.

  10. Ivo Meads

    Jul 2nd, 2009

    I apologize. I addressed my prior comment to Mary when it should be to Jessica.

  11. Prokofy Neva

    Jul 2nd, 2009

    What is it about Asian cross-dressers that makes them want to go light on child rapists? Is this an, er, Asian Values cultural thing or the result of victimization in their own childhood or what’s up?

  12. Orion

    Jul 3rd, 2009

    I guess all this goes to show that if anything the mere concept of tolerance has gone out the window. I’m sorry, but I just can’t help but to rehash one of my previous comments which sadly seems to be coming true. Back in April I posted the following in response to an article regarding this same subject.

    **Puts on a Dictator Linden costume, climbs up on a rickety old soap box, then starts screaming out over the croud**

    “Your attention please! We’ve been concerned about the recent decline of morality on the grid. How many of you think age play is bad?”

    **Resounding roar**

    “Ok, BANNED” – suddenly the crowd thins out a bit as all the child avatars disappear.

    “How many think rape play and forced fantasy is bad?”

    **Resounding roar**

    “Ok, BANNED” – crowd thins out more as all the rape players disappear.

    “How about virtual sex? Any objections?”

    **Another resounding roar**

    “BANNED” – crowd thins even more as all the sex players disappear.

    “How about furries? Anyone find those objectionable?”

    **Loud roar from the crowd**

    “Gone – no more furries.” – crowd thins yet even more as all the furries disappear from the grid.

    “How about role play? Anyone offended by horror, violence, blood and gore?”

    **Slightly less or a roar from the now rather sparse crowd**

    “Ok, banned.” – even more disappear.

    “Combat, weapons? Anyone offended by combat and weapons?”

    **A few hoots and hollers from the remaining few.**

    “Ok, no more combat!” – a few more disappear as support for physical bullets and projectiles is removed.

    “Now how about religion? Anyone have a problem with religion on the grid?”

    **A few screams going back and forth between different religious groups.**

    “Ok, we’ll have none of that! BANNED!” – more of the remaining crowd poofs off into oblivion.

    “Anatomically correct avatar skins and revealing clothing? Anyone have a problem with those?”

    **Screaming and yelling more clear now from whats left of the crowd – “PORN – SMUT!”

    “Ok, only default skin now! No more nipples or pubic patches!” – the remaining skin and clothing makers in the crowd vaporize into nothing as everyone suddenly defaults to their noobie skins.

    “Curse words? Anyone have a problem with those?”

    **A few hand raising animations played from the the now diminished crowd**

    “Gone.” – The rest of the crowd with their hands not raised disappears.

    **Dictator Linden scans over what is now an almost empty field inhabited by all but a few sparse clusters of people. His chat echoing through the empty world as he shouts:**

    “Any more issues? Anyone?”

    **The remaining few of the crowd look around, realising there’s nothing left to do – whats left of the world abandoned and now decimated. Half of the remaining crowd disappears, leaving in disgust. One person shouts back:**

    “Thanks Dictator! The world is now clean and pure!”

    Dictator responds: “You’re welcome! We’ll be releasing our new community standards in the morning.”

    **Suddenly the person thanking Dictator disappears – banned for expressing a possibly religious opinion.**

    The following day a mass email is sent to all users from Dictator Linden which reads:

    “Second Life is a world based on the creativity and the freedom of its users. However Effective immediately, all adult content of any form is hereby banned. This includes any sexual or provocative animations, anatomically correct skins or attachments, and any form of revealing or provocative clothing or hair. Only the default animations, skins, and clothing provided by Linden Lab may be used. In addition, any groups, chat, notecards, or images having to do with anything of a sexual, adult, or otherwise controversial nature is hereby forbidden. This includes anything of a religious nature. Private messages and inventory passes between users will now be monitored to prevent the distribution and discussion of such materials. Any such infraction of these community standards will result in the permanent and irrevocable removal of your account.”

    This is what happens when you allow a society (virtual or real) to become overwhelmed with blind hatred and ignorance. When tolerance for differing views are tossed out the window and replaced with misinformed judgements and public lynchings. Campaigns of fear, uncertainty, and doubt become common place, just as whats going on right here and now, and just as they did within the fascist regimes back in WWII.

    From http://foo.secondlifeherald.com/slh/2009/04/oped-asking-for-it.html

  13. typical blather

    Jul 3rd, 2009

    What the hell are you talking about, Prok?

    Who is the Asian cross-dresser who offended you this time. You always come in here swinging some wide brush when you have a personal gripe with someone.

    Good lord, nobody swings the condemnation brush like a scorned cat-lady

  14. Jessica Holyoke

    Jul 3rd, 2009

    “And in either case, anything that keeps rape in the game is bad for everyone.” What’s your foundation for that statement? Essentially you are saying the content should be banned because it would be beneficial. But why is it beneficial?


    Prok has accused me of being a man and the daughter of Chinese communist officials. So when he says asian cross dresser, he means me.


    Again, with your words, you show that there’s no point in engaging someone with such blind hatred and ignorance on how the world works.

  15. Ivo Meads

    Jul 3rd, 2009


    As I previously said, there are hairs to split over rape, rape fantasy, and their relative depictions, and to be frank, I think you’re doing a very poor job of keeping those separate in your op-ed and in this conversation, so I really don’t find conversing with you to be all that constructive.

  16. Bunny Brickworks

    Jul 3rd, 2009

    Isn’t it funny to see how Prok shows up every time someone is having fun in SL? That deep rooted hate for anyone trying to get involved in activities that don’t include playing Mainland Monopoly or bashing people is amazing and in my point of view requires some serious counseling.

    And even if that ‘fun’ for certain people means sexual or non-sexual age play, rape, blood and combat, who are we to judge them? It is a virtual world with virtual blood and virtual drop-down pants. The fact that some people go so ballistic over it shows that they have spent way too much time in world and can’t tell reality from the metaverse anymore.

    @ Orion, great post, it reminds me of the ‘first they came after the role players’…

  17. corona Anatine

    Jul 3rd, 2009

    computerized possession of child pornography will typically lead to more recommended jail time than the actual, physical rape of a child.

    there is somehting seriously wrong with the existing laws then
    as it is hard to imagine any other serious crime where htis would be the case
    it is the equivalent of having the possesion of snuff movies a more srious offence than murder

    If a person wants to practice having sex with a child, and the steps involved,
    this does not work as a policy
    for two reasons
    A – it would imply that having sex with an adult could count as practice for sex with a child
    B – grooming an adult roleplaying a child would only give you practical expereince in grooming adults who are pretending to be children
    not children themselves – to become skilled in that would surley require that the techniques be used on actual children
    as no amount of pretence can remove the adult knowledge be hind the pretend child

    and what would happen in a hypothetical situation where an adult who in rL has a medical condition that has resulted in their body retaining a child shape, deciding they want an accurate likeness of thenselves in sL

    couldn’t have sex pose balls near playground equipment.
    what counts as playground equipment
    what counts as sex pose balls – give they include everything from kissing onwards
    what counts as ‘near’
    are we going to see marker lines around al playgo round equipment

    the RL parallel should be applicable
    if a couple have sex in a local pllayground at midnight there is less of a problem than if they have it during the day when children might be around
    the presence of child/ child avis should be the decisive factor surely
    what next – children play on beaches so you cant have sex pb on beaches ?

    The description always bothered me because it ignores same sex rape for either gender or if a man were raped by a woman. I tried at the time to visit gay sims that presented rape as a possibility but apparently no girls were allowed.

    from what i have read there has only been one case of a woman being guilty of raping a man

    this is bound to be so given that men tend to have the edge in physical strength
    the figures clearly show that it is men who preform 99%+ of the rape that occurs
    The 3% for gay rape is fairly meaningless
    what matters is the desire on the part of the male to rape
    who and what they rape have less importance

    some men would not care – making use of whatever victim material is available
    it is probably a fallacy to assume that every M-M rape is performed by gays
    nor can it be assumed that every M-F rape is done by hetro men
    or for that matter that every M-child rape is done by peadophiles

    but it is still done my men – the number of women who rape is vanishingly small, so small as to still be newsworthy
    whereas rape by men is so common that news focuces on statistics not individiual cases – except in extreme examples.
    in the rL the majority of rape does not even get reported, a significant proportion of victims keeping the crime secret
    ‘peadophile stalkers walk among us shout the headlines -lock your doors lest they do stuff near playgrounds – yet the 99% of sexual child abuse is still doen within the family

    my personally feeling is that the rL crimes of a sexual based nature should be the priority
    and any such should be freely allowed in sL – including rape and sex age play – with the condition that all potential such activiites be monitered by LL – and a record kept of all potential ‘pratice grooming wheter of rape or child activity
    it would soon show up where such was done to excess – because the true peadophiles and rapists would indulge obsessivly

    and the avatars doing such could be checked and the details of the rL account holders passed to RL agencies for thier consideration – the one place where such crimes matter

    it is important that RL children are denied access to adult material and ptotential predatory groomers
    but that is a differnet matter from banning adults from exploring these areas of their fantasies

    no real child would want to have a child avatar – they would surely be more keen to appear to be adult

    so while the adults pretending to be children get condemmned for roleplaying
    elsewhere real minors in adults avatars are have free access to sex unobserved
    but these are two very differntent issues
    the only aim should be to protect rL children – anything else is such knee jerk distaste at other peoples fantasies

    but the risk of censorship creep is very real, and while i support the move to condemn rape in sL
    where is the line to be drawn
    because EVERYTHING done in SL is offensive to someone somewhere

    there that should get the self appointed guardians of morality going

  18. Orion

    Jul 3rd, 2009

    @Corona – Not to poke and prod or anything but please consider using “quotes” around text that you’re copy/pasting so its easier for those of us who are already going cross-eyed from reading through all this to differentiate between what you’re saying and what you’re quoting from others? :)

  19. Alyx Stoklitsky

    Jul 4th, 2009


    This should answer your question:

  20. Jessica Holyoke

    Jul 4th, 2009


    1. The point of even having a content ban is that it is supposed to reduce real life incidences. Therefore, you have to discuss actions that might have occurred based on consumed content. That’s why I am talking about causation between content and behavior and why the focus switches from content to behavior.

    2. A great answer to the question I presented, how would removing rape content in SL be beneficial to everyone, would have been it would better our appearance as a community. I have seen commentators say SL’ers are sick and weird because of rape content. It might not pass freedom of speech muster, but at least its a valid reason for a corporation to limit certain content.

    3. My name, as it appears on the masthead, the top of the article, and every comment I make, is Jessica. Not Mary, not Jennifer.

  21. Scylla Rhiadra

    Jul 5th, 2009

    *Sigh* . . . So much to respond to, so little time and space . . .

    I am going to restrict myself to two of the threads of your argument, Jessica.

    1) There are a number of reasons why feminism tends to focus upon the rape of female victims. An historical and polemical reason is that society has so often devoted its attention to “male” issues, at the expense of female ones. A classic example is in health care, where for a very long time the ailments and conditions that affected women solely (breast cancer being a good example) were given scant attention, in comparison with the money and time devoted to those that impacted upon men. Attention to women’s health care has improved a great deal precisely because activists focused upon it as a WOMEN’S issue.

    Another reason is that, as you have yourself noted, sexual violence against women is so very much more prevalent than that directed against men. Simply put, it is a much bigger problem. This is NOT to say that feminists “don’t care” about men who are raped. On the contrary, it is the assumption of most of us that male victims will benefit from the changes to social attitudes that feminists are fighting for. To quote anthropologist and feminist Margaret Mead, “Every time we liberate a woman, we liberate a man.”

    2) The “slippery slope” argument is a dog-eared one that doesn’t apply for two reasons. Firstly, the premises of the argument are faulty, because they seem to assume that feminism is merely about indiscriminately “banning things.” Feminists do NOT have a sort of laundry-list of things we “don’t like” that includes anything that is “different” or “fun.” Our focus upon depictions of violence against women is founded upon an opposition to violence, and particularly sexual violence, pure and simple. That is the criterion. Success against depictions of rape isn’t going to lead us to attack furries, or child avatars, or the doggy position, or anything else that does not, per se, fit that criterion. If it involves depictions of violence, it’s fair game. Otherwise, the probability is that we don’t oppose it.

    The second problem with the “slippery slope” paradigm is that it is an argument for paralysis. It implicitly suggests that you can’t oppose ANY extremism, for fear that somehow it will lead to an attack upon things that aren’t extreme, dangerous, or harmful. Don’t ban burning crosses! They’ll be coming after Christmas trees next if you do! Institute laws that prevent me from shooting at people with my gun? Do THAT, and the next thing you know they’ll be outlawing skeet shooting! End the enslavement of African Americans? Why, THAT might lead eventually to the emancipation of WOMEN! (Actually, that last one kind of works out well, doesn’t it?)

    Most people are reasonable, and most political and social decisions regarding what is or isn’t permissible are the result of dialogue and discussion. There are nearly always checks and balances to ensure that one side doesn’t railroad over another. And, at the same time, the fears that feminism WANTS to railroad a series of unreasonable changes to society are unfounded anyway.

    A final comment on the way in which feminism is often characterized in this kind of discussion, directed not so much at you, Jessica, as to some who tend to comment upon this kind of story. There is a kind of irrational fear of feminism that seems to be built upon the supposition that we are destructive automatons, programmed to eliminate anything in our path, sort of like the Daleks in Dr. Who. We are ACTUALLY really quite logical and reasonable: if there aren’t good reasons to oppose something, we don’t. We have discussions about this. We write articles and hold conferences. We DO listen to opposing perspectives. Our positions continually evolve. It would be nice to have these things acknowledged, instead of hearing the same old trite demonizing tropes repeated over and over again.

  22. anon

    Jul 5th, 2009

    first they came after my gay furry sex!!!
    then they came after my e-pedophilia!!!
    then they came after sales of dog dicks!!
    then there was nobody to speak for me and i asked mom for more cheetos!!!!

    i am officially boycotting “SECOND LIFE”!!!!!! this is just like the nazis!! what the fark!!! this is very serious busienss people our rights as citizens to fuck each other with N64 graphics is being curtailed by THE MAN

    jesus you people are sad

  23. Jessica Holyoke

    Jul 5th, 2009


    I actually don’t have much to dispute with you. From a purely feminist standpoint, you are right about the majority point one. My use of the word Feminist was to identify an SL group looking to eliminate rape content from SL. When I say Censor, I am applying a generalized term that I use to define any person or ideology that is trying to limit content for one reason or another.

    The thing is, while the feminists or Feminists might stop with banning rape content, or only object to a few more things on SL, dolcett, Gor and the way negative female stereotypes abound, other censors will build on what’s being laid down. Its one of the reasons why I object to the use of the words “Safe Area” or “Safe Hub” in Zindra. It implies that there is something UNsafe about the surrounding content. And once you say that the content is dangerous, then it is not hard to start banning more and more content in order to feel safe.

    And this here is a discussion, but like Ivo’s comment, I want to see proof of causation before clamoring to ban expression.

  24. Scylla Rhiadra

    Jul 5th, 2009

    Fair enough Jessica. Part of my response to your op/ed derives from a frustration with the way in which this debate is too often reduced to dichotomies of black/white, good/bad, freedom/censorship, etc. In point of fact, the issue is far more nuanced than that, and our responses to it need to be accordingly more sophisticated than is suggested by a simple choice of “ban” or “permit.”

    There ARE, of course, feminists who simply wish to ban pornography, here in SL or elsewhere. The group “Stop Violence Against Women” seems, at the moment, to be in that camp, I suspect because they are very new and have not really formulated a more thoughtful response yet. And, of course, there are feminists who are, for all intents and purposes, “pro-porn”; they might argue (indeed, DO argue) that one of the things that feminism has achieved is providing women the opportunity to engage in activities that simulate subservience, humiliation, rape, or even murder if they so choose.

    Somewhere between these extremes lies what is, I think, a more reasoned response. I deplore BDSM, Gor, Dolcett, etc., for all sorts of reasons, but I don’t believe that “banning” them is the answer. For one thing, I don’t think one can legislate fantasy; banning things is too simplistic a response for a very complicated phenomenon.

    At the same time, I think there is enough evidence, scholarly and otherwise, about the harmful social effects of pornography, especially extreme porn, to suggest that making this too publicly accessible is a dangerous thing. So, while I wouldn’t ban it, I will continue to fight hard against it (just as I wouldn’t ban right wing political parties, but will work against them). And in particular, I would like to see depictions of violence against women moved out of the public realm in SL (including in Zindra). There is a world of difference between the social impact of a rape simulation occurring in someone’s private skybox or in a “members only” area, and one being played out in public park area (even if that park is, as I say, in Zindra). The former is a private fantasy, but the latter is, intentionally or not, a public statement about attitudes towards women that frankly does reinforce negative and harmful stereotypes that, like it or not, are still very much in force.

    Ideally, this kind of change should be achieved through dialogue, and a recognition, founded in mutual respect, of the needs and sensibilities of each side. Those who, like myself, abhor depictions of violence of women need to recognize, perhaps, the rights of others to express themselves through this kind of simulation, but, in return, those who indulge in BDSM need to acknowledge that public displays of this kind of simulation will be found by many to be not merely offensive, hateful, or socially harmful, but actually deeply disturbing or even psychologically damaging. Such is RL: we work out compromises by consensus that recognize the rights and needs of ALL interested parties.

    Your comment about the use of the term “safe area” is interesting and even compelling; I grant that it is a loaded term, and we might do well to find another. At the same time, it needs to be remembered that for some women, a “safe area” may be a pretty exact and accurate description of what such areas actually are.

  25. Emperor Norton Hears a Who

    Jul 6th, 2009

    Give me a break, 90% of the people who play these games are just into to attack and have sex with each. The odds are the very people who are leading this anti-rape charge are roll playing rape with alternative accounts.

    Welcome to the intertubes, now you know how sick people really are.

  26. Anti-Matter

    Jul 6th, 2009

    “Welcome to the intertubes, now you know how sick people really are.”


  27. Nicholaz Beresford

    Jul 7th, 2009

    )) … but actually deeply disturbing or even psychologically damaging. ((

    That kind of reasoning, i.e. banning something because someone finds it deeply disturbing is the road to Disneyland. Religious people for example are easy to deeply disturb, that’s why the fight so hard.

    I’d rather tolerate ageplay than allowing anyone to use the above as a reason to ban stuff, because that will be the slippery slope … a slope with a surface of polished ice and grease on top of it.

    Once you let one group ban stuff just because they find it deeply disturbing, other groups will fall over themselves to get through the same door …

  28. Scylla Rhiadra

    Jul 7th, 2009

    Nicholaz, when I say “deeply disturbing and even psychologically damaging,” I meant that quite literally, and not in a “hockey mum finds sex icky” sort of way. Survivors of abuse respond, obviously, in individual ways to their experience of trauma; some even find therapy in controlled re-enactments of it. But I can assure you that a great many DO find images of sexual violence deeply scarring, and the more so when (as in Second Life) it is treated not as a serious social issue, but as “fun.”

    No one has said anything about “banning” anything … at least, I haven’t. I spoke instead of mutual respect. If you can’t find it in yourself to at least control voluntarily a leisure-time behaviour that is potentially hurtful and harmful to others, then, frankly, you don’t belong in a civil society, where liberty is always tempered with a sense of social responsibility.

    As for the tired old “slippery slope” argument, see my first posting to this thread.

  29. Ruby Miggins

    Jul 11th, 2009

    Come on. The most empowering thing about Second Life is the ability to TP out of any situation that disturbs you or makes you feel crazy. Seeing something that triggers your psychological issues is part of any life; but in SL you can leave in a split second. The fact that people *don’t* speaks more to a compulsive titillation and being *disturbed* by their own titillation than anything else.

    I was a short-lived member of Stop Violence Against Women because I couldn’t believe that members could defend the censorship of Words. Because what people seem to forget in SL, over and over again, is that the entire thing is basically an interactive novel. Words, spoken and answered. There is no difference from banning a person who’s exploring their fantasies of rape and torture to banning a novel that depicts such a thing.

    The key issue is that everyone on SL is an adult, and everything they participate in is 100 percent consensual. (No matter how many women want to claim that they’ve been “emotionally raped” in Second Life.) No one should have a right to infringe on people’s *written* or spoken fantasies, no matter what they may involve. Censorship of words is always wrong.

  30. Purrrple

    Jul 17th, 2009

    I never comment on here anymore. I only ever come back to this troll swamp to read Jessica’s stuff because she absolutely rules. But this I need to comment on.

    Anyone who can be bothered to remember my fat ass remembers I’ma real life rape survivor, and I run a rape counselling centre on SL. I despise rape, and am personally disgusted by rape fantasy, but I will always support the right of consenting adults to do whatever they bloody please in private as long as no one gets hurt.

    I just hate the ones who go out of their way to advertise that particular fetish. Do whatever you like in private. Just don’t foist it on the rest of us.

  31. Right you are

    Oct 3rd, 2009


    You’re correct,because that is what is happening in SL now,with the Zindra stuff and whatnot. I believe it’s the same as the famous WW2 quote of “They’re coming for me.”

    first they came for the child avatars,but i didn’t get involved because i wasn’t a child avatar,then they came for the adult content,but i didn’t get involved because i wasn’t adult content,then they came for me,but there was no one to speak up for me.

  32. Scylla Rhiadra

    Oct 3rd, 2009


    “Well, first they took away the right to blow up schools and government buildings, but I didn’t get involved because I don’t do that. Then they took away the right to shoot people who are annoying, but I didn’t get involved, because I’ve never shot anyone. Then they insisted I shouldn’t be able to stick a knife into people I don’t like. Oh, it’s a terribly slippy slope: how long before they ban plastic utensils!?!?!?”

    Oh, this is such a tiresome and fallacious argument. So, we allow EVERYTHING, because it’s ALL a “slippery slope”?

    In civilized societies we make rules to limit the harm that people can do to each other. There is, and should be, debate about what constitutes “harm,” and where we draw the line, but then intelligent and reasonable people understand that the world isn’t merely black and white: it consists of a broad spectrum of grey. This is the great challenge of being human: avoiding the knee-jerk facile absolutist perspective that divides the world arbitrarily into “good” and “bad,” “right” and “wrong,” and instead endeavouring to BALANCE the rights of the individual with the well-being of the community.

    Read some Thomas Hobbes, Orion. I’m sure the world you envision would work too . . . at least for the last man left standing.

  33. lol

    Oct 4th, 2009

    @Scylla Rhiadra

    Isn’t SL supposed to be Libertarian and isn’t the motto,Your world,Your imagination?

  34. Scylla Rhiadra

    Oct 4th, 2009


    “Isn’t SL supposed to be Libertarian …?”

    According to whom? Philip Linden, for all his own libertarian tendencies, never mandated it as such. It doesn’t say so in the ToS, and large parts of the CS weaken the tendency to libertarianism. As the 2007 crackdown on sexualized ageplay also most certainly did. Would a truly libertarian society have an AR mechanism at all?

    And while it HAS been the playground of many libertarians, they are very far from the only people, and only viewpoints, represented here. What is more, they are increasingly on the descendant: as SL becomes more and more diverse, we are seeing LL respond with (admittedly largely inept) attempts to impose a cultural view that blends tolerance with an awareness of the importance of community. The Zindra debacle, and the new Community Partnership initiative are all evidence of that.

    I think you are correct insofar as the application itself is set up in such a way as to favour a libertarian approach. I think I would suggest that, in so doing, it has done a fine job of highlighting many of the more important weaknesses of such a system.

    I have nothing against “Your imagination,” or anyone else’s . . . unless it starts to cause harm to others.

  35. lol

    Oct 5th, 2009

    @Scylla Rhiadra

    Sounds like your a Conservative,because only Conservatives would try to pass laws and interfer with other people’s lives.

  36. Scylla Rhiadra

    Oct 5th, 2009


    You seem to imagine a rather narrow political spectrum. There are libertarians . . . and everyone else is a “Conservative,” because “only Conservatives would try to pass laws and interfer[sic] with other people’s lives”?

    I’ve already responded to this kind of reductive black/white argument, above:

    “[I]ntelligent and reasonable people understand that the world isn’t merely black and white: it consists of a broad spectrum of grey. This is the great challenge of being human: avoiding the knee-jerk facile absolutist perspective that divides the world arbitrarily into “good” and “bad,” “right” and “wrong,” and instead endeavouring to BALANCE the rights of the individual with the well-being of the community.”

    There is more to heaven and earth than is apparently imagined in YOUR political philosophy, lol.

    And yep, sometimes that means passing laws. ALL laws interfere with people’s lives: we generally don’t try to legislate chipmunks. There are good laws, and there are bad laws. The best way to produce good ones is research, consult, and discuss.

    As for “interfering” with your life by means of legislation, if it stops you, or anyone else, from arbitrarily harming someone else, then I’d say there is sufficient merit in it to at least warrant discussion.

  37. Jessica Holyoke

    Oct 5th, 2009


    Your argument has come back around again to what people are criticizing you for. You said that you are not for “banning” or “making illegal.” “As for “interfering” with your life by means of legislation, if it stops you, or anyone else, from arbitrarily harming someone else, then I’d say there is sufficient merit in it to at least warrant discussion” is how you ended your last post.

    So lets assume for this argument that adult content harms people. What you have shown me previously does not show that.

    If it creates harm, you have to ask what do you do to stop the harm. You have argued against making it a criminal act. You can’t possibly mean that you want adult content to be a civil wrong, similar to suing your neighbor for cutting down your tree. But it sounds like you want it more than something that’s looked down upon and placed behind high fences.

  38. Scylla Rhiadra

    Oct 6th, 2009

    Hi Jessica:

    No, I have not changed my view that BDSM, Gor, or other similar behaviours should NOT be banned. I would like to see such behaviours better managed, however, ideally through discussion, consensus, and ultimately, self-governance of these communities. And, as I’ve said before, my notion of “better managed” really just means that they should not be “public” — again, with the understanding that we need to negotiate exactly what “public” means.

    My comments were in direct response to lol’s about libertarianism vs. Conservatism. I was arguing, in a fairly general sense (and not necessarily with specific reference to depictions of violence against women, etc.) that the freedom/tyranny dichotomy that he(?) was trying to establish was a gross simplification. I don’t see that this is a contradiction. The fact that I believe that there IS a necessity for some laws does not imply that I think we should be slapping restrictions on everything. Conversely, while I don’t believe that BDSM, Gor, rape sims, and the like should be banned, it doesn’t follow that I believe that RL or SL should be “lawless.” Do you?

    It’s that kind of thinking, precisely, that I was criticizing lol for.

    One of the “laws” of SL, for example, is that minors are not permitted on the main grid. I think that is a good law. Another is that you should not be able to publish RL information about someone in-world without their permission. This I think is also a good law. But I actually sincerely believe that BDSM, for instance, serves a need for some people. And that, when practiced correctly and safely, it is essentially benign. So I see no need to slap a law on it.

    As I am sure I’ve said before, the issue, I think, is not about whether or not to impose “laws”; again, do we REALLY want an entirely lawless culture? It’s about where we draw the line separating the prohibited from the permitted, between community safety and individual freedoms. In other words, it is about those “grey areas” of the spectrum. In this regard, SL is no different from RL. I don’t have a perfect answer to that myself, but then even if I thought I did, I wouldn’t want to impose it: I would want to establish it through dialogue.

    As for the “harm” that may or may not come from public depictions of violence against women, that is (I will freely admit) a matter of debate. Of course it needs to be established, by the COMMUNITY, that it is harmful before any action, voluntary or legislated, need be taken. And, again, that will take discussion. I certainly have my own views, some very strongly held, but I don’t think I’ve anywhere said that I want to impose them on the community by divine fiat.

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