Thursday, August 11, 2022
HomeUncategorizedSexual harassment in the metaverse? Woman alleges 'gang rape' in virtual world

Sexual harassment in the metaverse? Woman alleges ‘gang rape’ in virtual world

-

  • Nina Jane Patel logged into Horizon Venues metaverse and created her avatar
  • Her avatar was groped aggressively in attack by three realistic male characters
  • She has suffered from anxiety since attack and fears for womens’ safety online

UNITED KINGDOM – A British woman wrote in a blog post on Medium that she experienced a real horror play out in the virtual game Horizon Worlds developed by Meta, formerly known as Facebook.

Nina Jane Patel wore a virtual-reality headset and watched and listened in terror as her avatar — a moving, talking, computer-generated image of herself – was groped aggressively in a protracted attack by three realistic male avatars.

“Within 60 seconds of joining,” she wrote in the post from December, “I was verbally and sexually harassed – 3-4 male avatars, with male voices, essentially, but virtually gang raped my avatar.’”

Patel details watching her avatar get sexually assaulted by a handful of male avatars, who took photos and sent her comments like “don’t pretend you didn’t love it.”

Her assailants struck in full view of others who had connected into Facebook’s version of the “metaverse” — an online world in which users’ avatars meet, engage, and explore a rapidly expanding network of virtual destinations such as towns, country landscapes, or cafes.

The 43-year-old from Lambeth, South London, had entered into the Horizon Venues metaverse and created her avatar in anticipation of witnessing this immersive, animated environment on her computer.

She said that as she tried to get away, the virtual abusers yelled at her ‘don’t pretend you didn’t love it’ and ‘go rub yourself off to the photo’.

“A horrible experience that happened so fast and before I could even think about putting the safety barrier in place. I froze,” she added. “It was surreal. It was a nightmare.”

She told The Daily Mail that she ripped off her headset quickly to end the experience and has been suffering from anxiety since.

When Nina posted about her experience, she said some people told her not to choose a female avatar next time or that she shouldn’t be affected by it because it wasn’t real.

Meanwhile, Meta has responded to Ms Patel’s experience and says there are technical barriers that can be put in place to prevent this from happening.

“We’re sorry to hear this happened. We want everyone in Horizon Venues to have a positive experience, and easily find the safety tools that can help in a situation like this – and help us investigate and take action,” a Meta spokesperson told Insider.

“Horizon Venues should be safe, and we are committed to building it that way.”

“We will continue to make improvements as we learn more about how people interact in these spaces, especially when it comes to helping people report things easily and reliably.”

Users can activate a safety feature that stops other avatars from entering their space or engaging with them.

In Nina’s case, she claimed that it happened so rapidly that she didn’t have time to set up the safety system.

Related articles

Stay Connected

138,422FansLike
8,530FollowersFollow
361,888FollowersFollow
8,971SubscribersSubscribe

Latest posts