Sample letter: Amazon Japan: Japan: Rape simulator games and the normalization of sexual violence

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Dear Mr Cheung

I am writing to welcome the recent removal by Amazon Japan of RapeLay, a computer game produced by Illusion Software in which the player has to simulate raping a mother and her two daughters. I would like however to express my serious concern about the continued sale by Amazon Japan of other computer games whose purpose is to perpetrate acts of sexual violence against women, such as sexual stalking and molestation. Sexual violence including rape and molestation are serious crimes that cause deep distress and harm to those who experience them. By promoting violence against women in this way Amazon Japan could appear to be condoning it.

It is widely acknowledged, including by the Japanese government, that media representations of women as objects of sex and/or violence have “a great impact” on gender stereotypes. Games such as those described which are offered for sale by Amazon Japan contribute to normalizing the objectification of women and strengthen negative cultural and societal attitudes towards women and girls. The UN Committee which oversees compliance with the UN’s Women’s Convention recently reviewed Japan’s performance under the Convention. The Committee highlighted that “the oversexualized depiction of women [in the media] strengthens the existing stereotypes of women as sex objects and continues to generate girls’ low self-esteem” and strongly urged the government of Japan to “ban the sale of video games or cartoons involving rape and sexual violence against women which normalize and promote sexual violence against women and girls.” Amazon is an internationally recognized company and as such should hold itself to the highest levels of corporate responsibility, including to consider, as good business practice, any negative impact its activities may have on society and the public interest as well as standards defined under international law.

I ask that Amazon Japan immediately withdraw from sale all games that promote sexual and other forms of violence against women and girls.

Thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely,