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Women are continuing to face harassment, toxicity in Valorant

Olivia R. November 10, 2020

Women are continuing to come forward with their negative experiences had while playing Valorant. 

Riot's tactical first-person shooter has the same issues that many free-to-play titles have: hackers and toxic players. The Valorant community even asked developers to punish trolls more harshly as more and more players started to experience games being thrown and general toxicity. But one demographic has been targeted much more frequently than others is women.

One female player recently took to Reddit to share her experience. She stated that it's "unbearable" to be a woman playing Valorant because of the constant harassment and sexist comments. 

The player filed a ticket with Valorant, describing the abuse she's faced while playing the game. They make fun of her appearance, despite never having seen her, and her voice. She has even been told she "sounds like a whore." She is told to "make a sandwich" and that she doesn't belong on the game. 

This has left her with only one option: turn off voice chat. But most competitive players know that turning off voice chat puts players at a severe disadvantage in a game like Valorant. Communication and teamwork is key to success, meaning that voice chat is often a very important feature for teams in ranked games. 

The female player noted that there's no specific spot to report someone for sexism. 

"It does not feel like anyone at Riot is concerned about being an inclusive game for female players. Are these reports being taken seriously or are these awful, sexist players just going to be awful to another female player in another game?" she asked. 

Valorant appears unresponsive to reports of sexism and harassment

The real issue, however, wasn't just the ongoing harassment. The problem the female player wanted to point out was that Riot didn't seem responsive to her concerns. 

An email she received after submitting the ticket claimed that there wasn't "much we can do." Player Support stated that they can't pass on feedback to the developers. Instead, they told her to bring her concerns to Reddit or Discord. 

"I really wish there was more I could do but I am unable," read the reply email

Without support from Riot, the gamer called on the Valorant community to step up when they hear someone being sexist. 

"If there's one person being a jerk to me (or anyone) in a game, that means there are two others who are given the opportunity to not be a bystander and say something. Please say something if you hear someone being sexist, homophobic or otherwise a jerk. It honestly is as simple as saying, 'Not cool man,'" she said. 

Other women shared their own stories of harassment in the forum. Many experienced similar situations where they were attacked once other players heard their voice. They would either be constantly insulted or sexually harassed. Men voiced their concern with the constant toxicity women have to deal with in Valorant and other multiplayer games. 

The community pointed the OP in the direction of an all-female Valorant server to help find non-toxic teammates. But others pointed out that it's sad that women would even need to find groups like that due to the behavior of some men. They called on the community to affect broader change. 

Unfortunately, sexist behavior in Valorant is nothing new. Valorant's own executive producer won't play solo queue because of the sexism she constantly endures when attempting to play the game. 

Riot has yet to provide an official response regarding the ongoing concerns around sexism in Valorant.