Press releases

Rape is not a game!

The online sale of a Japanese rape simulator computer game called “RapeLay” has sparked strong reactions both amongst NGO’s and the press.

This video game features a man whose aim is to track down and rape women and girls, mothers and their daughters, and to make them “enjoy” the experience. The player starts the game by attacking and raping a woman and her two little girls on the subway. The game also includes sexually assaulting each woman and girl on a train, as well as gang raping women and forcing female victims to have abortions as a result of pregnancy from the assaults.

The European Women’s Lobby (EWL) is appalled by and strongly condemns this rape simulator game, which under the guise of a supposedly harmless virtual world allows the staging of such revolting practices. Research on violent computer games shows that exposure to violent games influences the player’s behavioral tendencies by strengthening aggressive norms. The RapeLay game promotes a hostile attitude towards women, girls and male sexuality, and enforces and promotes harmful and discriminatory gender stereotypes.

The EWL cannot regard this as a question of freedom of expression, but the banalization and promotion of sexual assault. “Rape is not a game”, said Myria Vassiliadou, Secretary General of the EWL, “and regardless of RapeLay being a virtual computer game, it in fact endorses and encourages aggressive norms”. Sexual violence affects every year several hundred of thousands of women; according to the World Health Organization, in Europe, one in five women experience sexual violence during their lifetime. The RapeLay simulator game is certainly not helpful in the fight against these figures, but perpetuates violence against women.

The EWL therefore supports all women’s NGO’s in Japan in their Call for Action against RapeLay. The EWL furthermore supports the decision of the retailer to forbid the sale of this game and calls for the community, including political leaders, to mobilize against the sale of RapeLay, which is still available in Japan.

See for example the Irish newspaper The Belfast Telegraph article “Exclusive: Amazon selling rape simulation game” 12.02.09 and Equality Now call for action on

Latest video

EWL event "Progress towards a Europe free from all forms of male violence" to mark the 10th aniversary of the Istanbul Convention, 12 May 2021.

Facebook Feed

Get Involved