Virtual reality allows users to enter an unreal world in order to escape their everyday problems. But as VR technology advances and proliferates, acts that would be crimes in the real world have crept in.Read More: I was sexually assaulted — in virtual reality
Jordan Belamire was the victim of one such “crime.”
The incident went down while Belamire (a pseudonym) was playing a game called “QuiVr.” In real life, she was standing next to her husband in her brother-in-law’s living room. In the game, users travel around a snow-capped mountain killing zombies with a bow and arrow. Her avatar, like all other avatars in the game, was simply a disembodied, floating helmet and two hands clutching a bow. The only indication that other players would have of her gender would be her voice.
Belamire was having a great time mowing down the undead next to another user, whose handle she identified as BigBro442. Then, in between waves of zombies, BigBro442’s avatar turned to Belamire’s avatar and started to rub near her virtual breasts.
Belamire screamed, “Stop!” but the admonishment only served to spur the him on.
“He chased me around, making grabbing and pinching motions near my chest. Emboldened, he even shoved his hand toward my virtual crotch and began rubbing,” Belamire wrote on Medium.
Even though she knew that the groping wasn’t real, Belamire still felt like she was being violated.
“Of course, you’re not physically being touched, just like you’re not actually one hundred feet off the ground,” she explained, “but it’s still scary as hell.” She quit the game after minutes of this harassment.