Just today, I read about Brussels police looking into a complaint of “virtual rape” within the game, Second Life. Wired even had a nice descriptive analysis on how virtual rape is traumatizing (and no doubt it is) when it is non-consensual. But something just didn’t jive with all of this. Here’s my thoughts.
First off, the younger players are filtered off on the Teen Grid while everyone else is on the main Grid. If a teen happens to lie and get a hold of adult qualifications or has an adult create the account, then they bypass the security measures in keeping them safe from any sexual activities that could happen on the main Grid.
Second, there is no possible way to force another avatar to do your bidding without that other player allowing control. At least not to my limited knowledge. I suppose you could be barraged by words over chat or IM, but there is this fancy schmancy thing called mute that can basically silence anyone from saying anything to you. Believe me, I’ve done it many times when someone goes crazy in chat. I’m sure many people have hit the mute key on me too since I joke around all the time.
You could potentially have stalkers (both in-game and real life), but as with any social environment, if you give too much information away, that’s just a potential risk.
So given the above, I’m not even sure how this would work. Don’t get me wrong, virtual games come with some very real problems that could arise just as if you wandered around chat rooms except with these, it’s with avatars. And I’m not belittling virtual rape, since that’s very wrong and no one should ever go through such things online. I’m just trying to figure out the logistics behind how it can even possibly be done in Second Life due to the limitations of the game. Anyone care to enlighten me? It almost doesn’t seem to be possible, at least in Second Life.