Expert Blames Sexual Video Games For A Rise In Sexual Violence

Expert Blames Sexual Video Games For A Rise In Sexual Violence

For one Fox News reporter, the worst thing about Epic’s upcoming first-person shooter isn’t the over-the-top violence and excessive profanity. It’s the naming of Skill Shots after sex acts. Could they lead to real-world sexual violence?

I’d say it’s not likely, though I’m no expert on the subject, and I’m not writing up an article titled “Is Bulletstorm the Worst Video Game in the World”. As the headline suggests, the article is a little inflammatory. The story’s top image is drawn not from the game, but from the Halo-diorama parody Epic distributed in January.

The story begins with a warning to parents. “There’s a Bulletstorm on the horizon,” the writer says before launching into a description of the mature-rated game’s graphic violence and frequent use of foul language, including the F-words. His description should be enough to let any parent know that this is not a game for children, but as Fox’s John Brandon puts it, “that’s not the worst part”.

The worst part is apparently the use of sexual innuendo-laced phrases to describe the game’s Skill Shots, creative ways of killing your opponent. Terms like “gang bang” and “topless” supposedly tie the graphic violence together with this sexual innuendo.

The experts are then rolled out to comment on the potential danger of children playing such a violent and sexy game.

“If a younger kid experiences Bulletstorm’s explicit language and violence, the damage could be significant,” Dr. Jerry Weichman, a clinical psychologist at the Hoag Neurosciences Institute in Southern California, told

How significant? Another expert suggests that the mix of sex and violence in a video game could lead to sexual violence.

Carol Lieberman, a psychologist and book author, told that sexual situations and acts in video games — highlighted so well in Bulletstorm — have led to real-world sexual violence.

“The increase in rapes can be attributed in large part to the playing out of [sexual]scenes in video games,” she said.

Can they really? Is there evidence that sexual scenes in video games can be attributed to an increase in rape? I’m not aware of such evidence. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, of course. Just that I’ve not seen it.

I’m not really sure why Carol Lieberman’s comments were included in the article in the first place, as Bulletstorm doesn’t actually contain any graphic sex acts; it simply refers to them by name.

While developer Epic didn’t respond to the Fox story, EA assured them that everything about Bulletstorm was above board.

“Bulletstorm has been given an “M” rating by the ESRB, and we have adhered to all their guidelines in regards to the marketing and promotion of Bulletstorm.”

Is Bulletstorm the Worst Video Game in the World? [Fox News]


  • Watch out, blue-tentacle-headed ladies of Earth, anyone who romanced Liara in Mass Effect wants to sexually assault you!

    Good ole’ Fox News.

  • “The increase in rapes can be attributed in large part to the playing out of [sexual] scenes in video games,” she said.

    How do people get away with saying such utter crap without a shred of evidence? A “LARGE” part of the increase in rapes? What complete nonsense! Maybe a large part of the increase in tea-bagging offenses can be attributed to video games, but that’s about it.

    Though I do agree that it’s not a great idea to link sexual acts with violence – there are people out there who have warped views about sex, and a culture that supports that view in any way isn’t helping the problem.

    Which is why I think the biggest offender in popular media today is the Twilight films – teaching young girls that it’s good to be powerless in a relationship with a violent and emotionally unstable man. Films have a much broader reach than games, and judging be the fans of the Twilight films, a much deeper reach at times as well. If there’s any damage being done, it’s there.

    • Your forgetting about all those rape games that the ACL say we’re playing. And if you think that’s bad wait till the R rating comes in and we’re flooded with rape games. We will be raping all the time! We will be getting raped while we are raping someone else! Rapearchy! Because of sexual innuendo in those video games! REPENT! The end is here and it looks like the word gang bang!

      • The irony is that Japan, the producer of all these monstrous sex games that are clearly the cause of all the world’s evil, have a much lower rate of rape cases than the US or Australia does. (In fact, we’re among the world’s worst per capita.)

        That aside, can we please just ignore Fox News’ sensationalist bullshit here on Kotaku, since most gamers have learnt to do so already?

  • Good thing this was on FoxNews, otherwise people may think it was actually news.

    Here’s the thing, there’s no sexual acts or situations in Bulletstorm, it’s a shooter.

    The names are double entendres, nothing more.

  • lol Fox “News”

    How many games have sex scenes that you get to “play” anyway? Mass Effect is mostly implied and non interactive off screen and besides the hack in San Andreas I can’t think of any other commercial game that lets you actively participate in sex scenes.

    • Well there’s Indigo Prophecy, and Heavy Rain. That’s it as far as mainstream games go, but those acts were acts of love after developing an emotional bond between the characters…

      Until whatshisface goes all superDBZOMGWTFBBQ at the end of Indigo Prophecy.

  • If any thing I’d say the fact the word “rape” is no longer thought as a word for a horrific crime by gamers but a word to describe owning someone in a game would be more likely to lead to an increase in real world rape rather then actual sexual content in games would.

    Of course that’s not to say there is an increase in rape that’s being carried out by gamers but if there is I would blame the lingo that’s common place across all games then any specific scene found in one game.

    Because Bulletstorms controversy rests in the use of lingo rather then scenes I think the reporter and experts could have a point to be slightly concerned but they completely ignored what I think the problem is and went on another classic Fox News video game bash.

    I’m not a psychologist though so for all I know using the word rape all the time leads to healthy and responsible members of society.

  • Every day I go out and slingshot someone into the sky, kick them into the ground and then have intercourse with them with my gun.

  • It’s probably significant that there’s an entire industry of child psychiatrists and mental health experts with absolutely zero experience of video games frothing at the mouth to comment on every story like this.

    It’a also no surprise that Carol Lieberman (the ‘rapes are because of video games’ psychiatrist) is a self-described ‘internationally renowned “Media Psychiatrist”‘ with an axe to grind and books to sell.

  • I Mean seriously, all I could do was laugh at this pathetic attempt at blaming some sort of media to give a reason why people can be so screwed up in the head. In the end it comes down to the parents, with anything and everything the child thinks about and does its all the parents fault wether it be good or bad.

    These people are wasting their time, actually they probably have nothing impressive to say anyway. So lets let them waste their time.

  • 1) “If a younger kid” Well, if parents were actually responsible, few younger kids would be playing it. DERP DERP DERP.

    2) lol Faux News.

  • What’s interesting is that there have been a couple of studies (one in Japan, on in a Scandinavian nation) that suggest there might be causal links between increased media liberalization and a decline in sexual crimes. The Japanese study noticed that this effect was actually most profound when examining crimes conducted by and against minors.

    But, I suppose that doesn’t play well on tv.

  • Well the combination of fox news and the word expert means that you can immediately discount anything they say because the only expertise they have is in lying.

    Know the other interesting thing? I did a search on his name on Google Scholar, there was one result and that was about trout. I don’t think it involved him but the lack of other results means that he’s not published anything in a respected journal or even in the kind of rag that publish creationism bullshit.

    A quick search of regular Google shows he claims to be a teen psychologist but has a phd in pharmacology.

    I this appears to be reasonable evidence in support of the initial hypothesis of him being a liar

    • Bah screwed up the last sentence, I was stuck between “I think this is” and “This appears to be” and my brain made a compromise without asking me…

  • Lol, Fox… using the old Hegelian Dialectic tactics. They invent the problem, have the reaction then propose a solution.

    Fox, Fair and Unbiased…

  • “Carol Lieberman, a psychologist;
    “The increase in rapes can be attributed in large part to the playing out of [sexual] scenes in video games,” she said.”

    Look I’m a psychologist and I call bullshit, show me conclusive proof or GTFO

  • What sexual videogames? Am I missing an entire genre here? Apart from Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy, Heavy Rain and BMX XXX I can’t think of any games that have anything aside from an arse and sideboob. Examples please (and not the GTA:SA hack since we can’t count it as legit playing).

    I remember the whole Mass Effect thing caused by Fox News too. Always thought it was funny at the time because the Simpsons, which IS made by Fox and aimed at kids, has more sex in it (and shows more, admittedly in a comic fashion) than Mass Effect. I don’t think Fox would have been happy mentioning that though.

  • There has never been a study where a conclusive link has been established between video games and violent activity of any kind that I’m aware of.

    here’s an idea: Get the damn parents to exercise their responsibility as parents for once. They are responsible for controlling what their kids do and do not do. Maybe that “M” on the box really does stand for “Mature” and not “MacDonalds”, ya know?

  • Game is rated mature. So parents who buy it for a young child can’t blame anyone but themselfs. Doesn’t show any sex scenes (that I know off) and now I want to play the game even more

  • Maybe we should completely ban the use of “cock” as in “cocking their gun” as well. You know, for the kids. They’ll grow up in fear of cocks of all kinds. 😛

  • “If a younger kid experiences Bulletstorm’s explicit language and violence, the damage could be significant,” Dr. Jerry Weichman, a clinical psychologist at the Hoag Neurosciences Institute in Southern California, told

    What child should be playing Bulletstorm?

    There are ratings for a reason, if a parent is going to ignore the warnings on the box then that’s bad parenting, not gaming.

  • FTA: “Remi Sklar, the vice president of Public Relations at Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment, which makes numerous video games (though is unconnected to Bulletstorm), offered the following statement: ‘We don’t have a comment for that story.’ ”

    …um, WTF? “Let’s just call somebody who has shit-all to do with this story and tell our readers he had nothing to say.” On the ball as always, FOX.

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