‘Hey dude, do this’: the last resort for female gamers escaping online abuse

In the toxic environment of online gaming, women play incognito, pretend to be male or say nothing to avoid harassment

In an extract from her book, Game Changers: From Minecraft to Misogyny, the Fight for the Future of Videogames (co-authored by Dan Golding), Leena van Deventer writes candidly about a time she was sexually harassed online.

She was playing Team Fortress 2, an online multiplayer shooter, and one of her favourite games. Van Deventer had just “splurged” on a new headset with headphones and microphone with an exciting feature: voice modifiers “that made me sound like a cool robot or a huge giant”. Once she began speaking in-game, however, there was what she calls “the reaction”:

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