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Vaz claims games let you "rape women"

Misguided MP challenged in Parliament.

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

Labour MP Keith Vaz has finally been challenged in the Houses of Parliament after he claimed videogames let you "rape women".

His comments were made during a debate on Friday that sought to make the BBFC accountable to Parliament and the public to "encourage a return to more responsible decisions".

"Videogames are different because they are interactive," argued Vaz, reported by "People who are watching a film at the cinema cannot participate in what is happening on the screen, or if they do they are removed from the cinema.

"However, someone sitting at a computer playing a videogame, or someone with one of those small devices that young people have these days, the name of which I forget: PlayStations or PSPs, something of that kind...

"Well, whatever they are called, when people play these things, they can interact. They can shoot people; they can kill people. As the honourable Gentleman said, they can rape women," he added.

The "honourable Gentleman" referred to was Julian Brazer, Conservative MP for Canterbury, sponsor of the Bill. Not the police telly show.

Vaz also trotted out the old Warren Leblanc Manhunt connection theory, despite police having rubbished it ages ago. Margaret Hodge, Minister for Culture, Media and Sport, was eager to promote the facts of the murder enquiry and distance the role of Manhunt as violent inspiration.

"The game was discovered not in [killer] Warren Leblanc's possession but in the victim's possession," she said. "It does not feature the use of a hammer, and it was not considered by the police to be a contributory factor. No such connection was ever suggested in court.

"Indeed, the prosecution and defence barristers insisted in court that the video game had played no part in the killing. It was reported that Leblanc was motivated by fear of a gang to which he owed money."

Conservative MP Edward Vaizey had also heard enough, and asked Brazer (Vaz had left) if he knew of "any videogame that has as its intention the carrying out of rape", because the BBFC and he were "unaware of any such game".

"I cannot comment on the rape in games issue, but I can tell the House what Stefan Pakeerah's father said after Warren Leblanc had murdered his son," responded Brazer.

"He said that Manhunt is a game using weapons like hammers and knives...The object of Manhunt is not just to go out and kill people. It's a point-scoring game where you increase your score depending on how violent the killing is. That explains why Stefan's murder was as horrific as it was."


The debate will continue this Friday, when Margaret Hodge will offer a complete response to the case made.

Vaz will likely complain that his arguments will be "pilloried in the press that is sponsored by the videogames industry" again.

The results of the Byron Report are also expected at the end of this month; an investigation set up by the Prime Minister to look into the effects of violence on the Internet and in videogames.

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