I need to begin by saying this is a very personal issue for me. Not just the whole "I'm a woman" personal but "knife to the throat let's play games little lady" personal. Stop reading now if that makes you uncomfortable.
I've been at more than one dinner party over the years where alcohol induced conversations got around to men vs women issues and the types of behaviour which men considered acceptable (but made the women noticeably uncomfortable). In one case a man (a senior Corporate executive type) announced there was "no such thing as rape". I asked him what kind of research he had done to arrive at that conclusion. Didn't make me too popular. On another occasion I brought all conversation to a halt by asking if "Mike Tyson would have gotten his boxing license back if he'd been convicted of raping a man". You can probably detect my bias from these examples.
The depiction of violence against women in Second Life has bothered me greatly from the very beginning of my residency. I've tried to convince myself that "consensual" means I should be tolerant but I've never succeeded. A new exhibit has made me stop deluding myself and stop ignoring the topic and has forced me to confront one of the most appalling (to me) aspects of this issue.
Is This Turning You On? is an exhibit by Scylla Rhiadra and utilizes images from inworld groups and shops to address those who participate in violent role play asking them why this type of thing is sexually exciting. You can find out more about the exhibit itself here. It's very powerful and the images are extremely disturbing (and yes at least one involves sexual violence against a man) - be warned, don't go visit if you are very sensitive to this type of display.
Scylla has counted over 400 groups devoted to rape, snuff and Dolcett role play. 400 of them. Think about that. Some have few members but some have upwards of 1400.
One of my biggest problems with this type of activity and the depictions of it in Second Life is the blatant unapologetic hypocrisy it demonstrates. If there was a religious component to what was being presented the outcry would be deafening. The fact that it is just primarily women makes it acceptable. Don't believe me? Put a male avatar wearing a yarmulke in one of those contraptions and have another avatar slice his stomach open with a knife and you'll hear no end of complaints and cries of "OMG this can't be tolerated". Put a swastika on the wall and there would be demonstrations and demands that the person be banned for life. Make it a naked woman and people just shrug.
John Norman wrote the Gor books in reaction to the women's movement of the 60's (he must have felt very threatened). One of the many things the movement achieved was the recognition (in many places) that domestic violence was not a "private family matter". It was finally accepted that society would not tolerate you doing something to a "loved one" that would get you arrested if you did it to a stranger on the street.
I think it's time that we recognize that violence (particularly for sexual purposes) against women and men isn't acceptable ... period. The lack of religious or political motivation does not make it tolerable.
As a final note - I don't consider the "milder" forms of this role play acceptable either. Gor isn't benign - I don't care how many butterflies and "kind" owners there are. Subjugation and "discipline" are degrading and abusive. The next time you see a Master/Slave out shopping or wandering around - ask yourself this ..... If the person crawling on all fours was a Jew and the person holding the chain a Palestinian - would you be so tolerant?