It's interesting to see that people are equating the fact that we accept violence in a fantasy setting, as a reason we should accept rape in a fantasy setting.
We all play wargames where we roll dice to see if we maim, murder and mutilate our opponents - so would we all be ok if GW brought in rules so we could rape our opponents army as well?
I'm sure many forum members play computer games where you can shoot, stab, decapitate and slaughter other characters - but I doubt there's many who play games where you rape the other characters.
It's not about "acceptance" as far as I can see. No-one is saying that it is (or should be) a part of our active participation in the hobby - no-one has yet argued that they want to be able to rape someone's Howling Banshee with their Dark Eldar Kabalite in Kill Team. Likewise I don't think many shooter fans would appreciate rape being added to the next Crysis game (or whatever).
However there is also the fact that sex appears to simply not happen in 40k, like at all. Despite having a literal god of sex. Which is either sad or hilarious, depending on your point of view. Hand in hand with that lack of sex goes a lack of rape, which is rather far fetched in a fictional setting which has dozens of races, not to mention countless human factions all viciously trying to eradicate and brutalise each other. It's simply not internally consistent that we should have a made up universe that is so "Grimdark" but where Rape doesn't happen. There's a difference between acknowledging something's existance and glorifying/promoting it.
Fantasy and sci-fi are fundamentally meant as escapism, where we disconnect real life from the actions and motivations of the characters we play or read about. Rape is much more than an action, it's psychological and deeply rooted in emotion and empowerment, and hence it's difficult to disconnect our real life feelings from a character in a game or story.
I don't really see the moral difference between reading about somebody raping someone else, and someone strangling another person with barbed wire (which is mentioned in the HH series). They both appear on the surface to be equally brutal and horrific acts that no sane person would ever want to experience or read about. The *only* reason Rape is more shocking than murder is because society freely talks about murder every single day - there is nothing intrinsic in the act to make it more or less reprehensible than any other crime/sin/whatever.
I'm not saying rape has no place in fantasy or sci-fi, it absolutely does, but it needs to be handled sensitively and effectively, and it should be necessary to the narrative to warrant it's inclusion.
From my point of view, this diorama is incredibly sensitive, by conveying with a minimum of explicitness exactly the emotions present in a Rape scenario from the victim and the perpetrators and even bystanders - you can see contempt for the woman, the rage for the enemy, the fear and helplessness of the Eldar, and the disgust and doubt of the bystanders. I defy you to find a better or more masterfully encapsulated depiction of Rape in any art form.
There is a world of difference between teaching your kids about sex education and letting them casually come into contact with rape references in a situation where they can be trivialised in the same way violence and death are.
I'm curious as to how you think this diorama trivialises rape. Through the choice of models and sculpture as the medium for the message? How is it any different to other art forms or television?
There is a time and place for all these things. And in a situation where it becomes trivialised is not the place to learn them, as that lessens the lesson. Trivialising violence and death is one thing, especially given we're talking about *war* games. Trivialising one of the deepest and most fundamental psychological traumas you can inflict upon another human being (both male or female) is another.
So you're drawing a line between what it's ok to trivialise, and what it's not acceptable to trivialise, based on the theme of the game you happen to be playing at the time? It's ok to trivialise genocide, because we're playing a game where we kill each other - which inherently implies that were I to create a game about rape, then it would be equally fine to trivialise rape, and unacceptable to trivialise genocide within the context of that game. That sounds pretty absurd to me.
The only way the argument makes sense is by doing two things: By attaching a different moral weight to Rape over things like murder and torture (which I dispute), AND by removing the association between the act and the game in which it is presented - the trivialisation of a crime is not conditional upon the context in which it is performed. Trivialisation of crimes of any type is either morally acceptable to you, or it is not. Saying that it's acceptable to trivialise some crimes and not others, or to accept trivialisation in certain contexts but not others, holds no water as an ethical argument at all.
There is a lot of crap out there I want to shield my kids from. And I know that eventually they'll come in contact with it, and hopefully I'll have taught them enough to be able to deal with it. That doesn't mean I want to be playing Monopoly with them and have a "you were caught raping a girl in a back alleyway, go straight to jail" card come up.
There are good reasons things like rape are left out of games. We've been over many of them in this thread already. I wasn't wheeling out "it'll hurt kids" as a last ditch thing, it's the simple truth. There are many things out there that will hurt kids - hiding them from it won't do them any good, but is slamming it in their faces in a *game* going to be better? I think not...
I absolutely agree 100% with protecting children from certain aspects of life until they are of an age to not be mentally scarred by it, and this argument would certainly be valid and the first basic line of defence... if GW were to openly and widely introduce Rape into their fiction/fluff/models etc. 40k could not sustain it's market to people under 18 if they did so, and it would be wrong to allow children/minors to play it or read their material.
However the case we are examining is not a case of Rape entering the mainstream consciousness of 40k across the world. It is a single model, on a single website, which can only be found through directed searches. You can find simulated rape pornography much easier than you could find this diorama through google. To say that this is inappropriate for children to see is to both state the obvious and simultaneously completely miss the point of the piece. The point isn't to show 11yr olds what rape looks like. In my opinion, I think the point of the piece is to bring up a fundamental examination of the hypocrisy of the 40k universe, and the adults who engage in the hobby, as well as draw attention to instances of Rape in the real world. Of course I don't know and haven't spoken to the creator, so that is just speculation on my part. But I am certain that it was not aimed at children, and therefore the argument that it is not suitable for children doesn't bear any weight in this instance.