Abuse of female British gamers by their male counterparts is driving more and more people offline, according to a new survey by Bryter. Over a third of the women surveyed said they regularly experience abuse or discrimination - with 10% of those reporting rape threats.
The survey, which represents the views of 1,151 women over the age of 16 and who play either console or PC games for at least one hour a week, reveals a worrying trend in the world of videogames.
Of those who have been abused, 63% say that abuse happened online, and that 40% of the abuse came in the form of inappropriate messages while 32% could be defined as sexual harassment. It’s this that is, unsurprisingly, pushing female gamers further and further away from the inclusive community most games are trying to promote.
Nearly a quarter of the respondents, 23% to be precise, admitted that they won’t reveal they are female while playing online multiplayer games. 11% said they won’t play online games at all out of fear of being abused by men.
In my years of gaming I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been called a stupid bitch or a whore, and told to go back to the kitchen where I apparently belong. And, sadly, the abuse is putting some women off games for good. If my experience is anything to go by then I would say that total avoidance of online gaming spaces is something most female gamers have considered at least once.