Gamers frequenting the Grand Theft Auto V multiplayer online section have reported the presence of a third-party hack that allows rape to occur in the game.
An overwhelming majority of those targeted had female avatars, even though those with male characters were also attacked. Players affected by this mod expressed frustration that they were powerless once the act had been committed.
"You cannot kill him [rapist] and there is nothing you can do about it," Reddit user mrerikmattila recalled. "Worse, when he's done, you are stuck doing strip dances."
The perpetrators apparently modified the game's code to allow them to immobilize the avatars of other players. Once this was done, they proceeded to sodomize their victims. A number of the virtual rapists posted videos of their exploits on YouTube and other sites linked with social media.
While some gamers expressed either indifference or amusement, other players have started attacking would-be rapists in an effort to curb these abuses. GTA 5 publisher Rockstar Games does have a policy of banning players caught using hacks to cheat on multiplayer. Oddly, Rockstar has not taken action against those using the rape hack. It has also not given an official statement regarding this issue.
Though GTA 5 has been criticized for sexually-explicit content, it does not contain depictions of rape in its unmodified form. Even so, players can commit crimes that include random murders, contract killings, robbery, looting, and fraud. Racially-offensive language is commonly uttered by the game's characters. In the upcoming Heists DLC, a group of players can network while planning armed robberies within the game.
Marked by controversy over the years, the Grand Theft Auto franchise remains popular ever since its first title was released in 1997. The current fifth installment was launched last September, and has sold approximately 32.5 million copies.