Trigger Warning: Graphic description of sexual assault.
PAX, or Penny Arcade Expo, is an event which takes place twice a year—once in Seattle, and once in Boston, the former of which just ended this past weekend.
The expo is branded as an all-inclusive event for gamers to hang out and be themselves, but sometimes people just "being themselves" allows the wrong kinds of things to hang out—like their private parts.
Case in point, a gamer named Ky wrote about an experience she had towards the end of the big Minecraft party at PAX. According to her account, which you can read in full at her blog, explodedsoda, she was just sitting down on an empty couch after a long day of attending the convention when a guy walked up to her. It began with small talk, and despite her attempts to give the guy the cold shoulder, he continued to interact with her until it took a screaming leap into the weird.
This went on for a while, but maybe I was too drunk or maybe I still try to hard to be "one of the guys" to realize it was quickly going into creeper (haha, get it? get it? Minecraft party?) territory.
So when he started talking about boobs I didn't really care. When he started showing me pictures of boobs of girls at the party that he had taken I thought "okay that's weird whatever maybe he asked beforehand." At some point he raised a concern about being Asian and women not wanting him cause of some stereotypical view of penis size, and I was like "most women will agree size doesn't matter" and went back to my phone.
That's fucking weird, but it gets worse. He sexually assaulted her.
Then he grabbed my free wrist and put it on his crotch and asked "Is this big enough?"
That would have been bad enough, but he had also pulled his dick out through the zipper of his pants. I had no idea what to do but say "You can't do that!" and NOPE'D the fuck on out of there to find my friends.
Before things escalated any further, Ky got the hell out of there. With some friends, she got security, who unfortunately—or rather, predictably—gave her a dismissive response.
First off: What the fuck? How is this okay? I don't care how drunk you are or how socially inept you claim to be. Pulling your dick out and forcing someone to touch it is something you just don't do. It doesn't matter if you "think" she was asking for it by sitting on the couch and making small conversation with you. It's something you just don't do.
I'll grant you that sexual assaults aren't exclusive to PAX, gaming events, or even parties in general. Sexual assaults and rapes happen all the time—and they can happen at any place, any time simply because we let them happen. The dismissive security guard shrugged his shoulders to the complaint?—he's a part of the problem.
I'd like to say that gamers ought to be better than this—that gamers ought to be more inclusive, more enlightened when it comes to not sexually assaulting people. As much as we'd like to tell ourselves that we're "better than that", gaming culture is simply a reflection of society in general. It doesn't exist in a vacuum.
If I have any solutions to offer so things like this don't happen at PAX in the future, it's not to advise women to "dress modestly" or to "never be alone in a strange place." The solution I propose is much simpler than that: don't sexually assault people.
Image credit: Penny Arcade – Fruit Fucker