United Kingdom teen gang-raped in metaverse

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United Kingdom teen gang-raped in metaverse

United Kingdom police

United Kingdom police are investigating the first reported case of an alleged rape in a virtual reality game. A 16-year-old girl experienced a “sexual attack” in the online “metaverse,” where her digital character was reportedly gang-raped by strangers, leaving the victim distraught, as per The New York Post.

The teenage girl, engaged in an immersive virtual reality game with a headset, reportedly had her avatar raped by a group of men. While no physical harm occurred, the psychological and emotional trauma suffered by the girl is comparable to real-world experiences of sexual assault, according to investigating officers. This incident marks the first case of a virtual sexual offense under police investigation.

A United Kingdom police senior officer, knowledgeable about the case, conveyed to The New York Post that the child experienced psychological trauma comparable to that of physical rape, emphasizing the enduring emotional and psychological impact. The officer acknowledged the challenges faced by law enforcement, stating that current legislation is not adequately equipped for such cases. The specific game the teenager was playing during the virtual assault in the metaverse remains unclear. The investigation into this unprecedented case has spurred discussions on whether law enforcement should address virtual offenses, given the existing backlog of real-world rape cases faced by police and prosecutors.

Child suffered ‘sexual trauma’: UK home secretary

United Kingdom Home Secretary James Cleverly, in an attempt to justify the investigation into the virtual reality rape case, acknowledged the impact on the child, describing it as “sexual trauma.” Cleverly emphasized the immersive nature of virtual environments, noting that it is crucial to recognize the emotional and psychological impact despite the virtual context. He made these statements while speaking to the news outlet LBC.

Cleverly further pointed out, “It’s also worth realizing that somebody who is willing to put a child through a trauma like that digitally may well be someone that could go on to do terrible things in the physical realm.”

Meta responded to the incident

Numerous incidents of virtual sex crimes have been reported in Horizon Worlds, a free VR game operated by Meta, Facebook’s parent company. A Meta spokesperson responded, stating, “The kind of behavior described has no place on our platform, which is why for all users we have an automatic protection called personal boundary, which keeps people you don’t know a few feet away from you.”

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