opinion

What you'll see if you look a little more closely at the Fortnite assault video.

If you haven’t watched it – don’t.

A 26-year-old engineer sits at his computer, live-streaming his game of Fortnite (an online video game).

In the bottom left hand corner of the screen, you can see him. Floppy brown hair, headset on, the only backdrop a white, bare wall.

His partner appears to ask for him, before he begins: “Can you not? I’ll be out soon.”

We spoke about the Fortnite assault on this weeks episode of Mamamia Out Loud, the podcast with what women are talking about. Post continues below. 

And it only gets worse from there.

He can be heard screaming at her, “f*ck off you dog” and “I’m sick of this sh*t” reminding her that she doesn’t “pay the f*cking bills”.

She can be heard screaming; the kind of scream you don’t want to hear too many times in your lifetime.

The fight allegedly becomes violent, as we hear the sounds of slaps and frightened yells off camera.

A baby is babbling.

A mother is shrieking.

A father is shouting.

The sounds of violence offer a stark contrast to the animated, upbeat song playing in the background of Fortnite – providing a bizarre escape every time the 26-year-old puts his headset back on.

But two things happened on Fortnite that Sunday.

The first, is that a man was so shameless about his violent behaviour towards his partner, that he did not even bother to turn his camera off during the alleged attack.

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The second, is that someone decided to record it and post it online.

Before we go conflating Fortnite the video game with alleged domestic violence, that’s a detail we ought to reflect on.

Another Fortnite player was so horrified by what they were watching as they peered into another person’s home, that they circulated the footage.

It seems to us that this video has very little, if anything, to do with the game the man happened to be playing.

Ten years ago, it was a man watching the footy who yelled at his wife to “piss off”.

That wasn’t the fault of the footy.

Fifty years ago, it was a man playing poker with his mates, ignoring his family for hours on end and then losing his temper when they asked anything of him.

That wasn’t the fault of poker.

There’s a moral panic around Fortnite – because it’s a game children are playing that their parent’s generation never did. We’re terrified of what we don’t fully understand.

But Fortnite will not be the downfall of society as we know it.

And Fortnite did not make a 26-year-old man allegedly lay a hand on his partner.

This is not a story about a video game. It’s one about alleged family violence – and that’s the detail we ought to be focusing on.

This story originally appeared in Mamamia’s Deep Dive newsletter, written by Clare and Jessie Stephens. You can subscribe to Deep Dive right here

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