173/365 – Meditation Games #173 – Wordless Trauma

Developer Credits: Sarah Hiebl, Nestor Jankovic

Launcher Quote“tw: rape, sexual abuse

on the 22nd of june 2018 someone drugged and I woke up with no memories and wounds all over my body. this meditation reflects my thoughts and feelings after it happened.

thanks to nestor jankovic for doing the sound and helping me with all the camera work.”

As much as we like to believe that games are meant as a form of escapism, that much of what they portray or show is something fantastical or unrealistic, and that it would never be able to happen in the real world or be portrayed as such, these days what developers place into games is very much real, and sometimes very much like what the real world would be like, even if the context in which it’s placed is one that is fictional or not altogether something immediately apparent. That’s why when they portray something traumatic, disconcerting, or difficult, that it shouldn’t be something that we discard, or worse, disdain.

Today’s entry in the Meditation Games series is perhaps one of the most raw and real in its subject matter and its portrayal, as it deals with a very real incident of rape and sexual abuse the developer experienced only just last year. The presentation is simple and straightforward – a collage of imagery and photography meant to convey the developer’s feelings and thoughts in the wake of the incident – but then it doesn’t need to be anything more than what it is. It’s meant to show you, directly and in-your-face, what happened and what the results of that trauma were. It’s meant to elicit a sense of discomfort and disturbance at what was no doubt a terrible incident for the developer to go through. And most of all, it does no hiding, nor should it – it’s the kind of thing that is intended to be given to its audience in its full, unedited emotion.

For Sarah to be able to make a contribution to this project based on a traumatic event that happened so recently, and to be able to be so direct and forthcoming with the imagery from it, is to be commended. While there is an entire array of methods, people, and support structures to help deal with an event of rape and sexual abuse, none of that still prepares or takes away the emotion and the mental and physical stress placed upon the victim of it. Those who’ve never experienced such a horrifying thing will never truly have a full understanding of what it’s like to go through it, but this, I think, is Sarah’s way of trying to give the audience a glimpse of what it looks, sounds, and feels like, and perhaps in some way taking back some of the power lost by it, to take a step and perhaps provide a bit of closure. While the trauma may never truly go away, the hope is that facing it allows you to move forward.



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