Virtual Reality has become one of the leading innovations that create huge impacts to people. Its ability to give the users unique experience is simply incredible and is definitely a breakthrough in the history of technology. However, its power does not only revolve around entertainment - it can also turn into a devastating experience for some, especially women.
Female Gamer Sexually Assaulted In A VR Game
Female gamer, Jordan Belamire, posted in Medium about the experience she had when she tested a virtual reality multiplayer game called QuiVR. In her post, she stated that she was sexually assaulted by a man under the player name BigBro442.
The incident started when she was playing around the assailant, waiting for a wave of zombies and demons to attack so they can shoot them down. With BigBro442's awareness that Belamire is a female indicated by her voice, he suddenly attacked the victim by approaching to her body and virtually rubbing her chest.
Belamire even vented out an awkward laugh to express coolness in the situation and told the attacker to stop, however, he did not. Worst, he chased down Belamire and shoved his hand toward her virtual crotch and began rubbing. According to her, the experience felt so real and so violating.
For someone who had past traumatic experiences like Belamire, incidents like this are very devastating. This led the developers of the game to roll out an anti-pervert feature of the game. 'Safe space forcefield' will keep the attackers at bay by having them unable to view the players they are trying to assault.
VR Can Also Be A Hotbed For Cyber Bullying
If the presence of bullies in social media, although they cannot make physical contacts, is already alarming, how much more in a Virtual Reality environment where they can virtually harm their victims anonymously? The anonymity of the bullies enables them to attack their prey without jeopardizing their identity. This makes the perpetrators avoid punishment.
Despite having benefits like treating PTSD, developing empathy, providing therapeutic applications, and giving entertainment, the Virtual Reality has also its downside. No place is really safe for the vulnerable ones. The only available solution is to provide a safe place for every VR application.