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A 16 year old Girl virtually gang raped in virtual reality - Metaverse

A girl's 'avatar' was allegedly gang-raped in the metaverse. Just when we believe the virtual world can't become any darker, incidents like these unfold

A 16 year old Girl virtually gang raped in virtual reality - Metaverse

Tech companies often use upbeat language to portray their platforms, but the optimistic descriptions often mask the potential dark realities. Meta, for instance, presents its metaverse as "the next evolution in social connection and the successor to the mobile internet," a realm where "virtual reality lets you explore new worlds and shared experiences." However, for a young girl in the UK, a recent "shared experience" in this virtual world allegedly involved a gang rape.


According to the New York Post, the British Police are looking into a claim that a girl was raped by a gang while playing a virtual reality game. This appears to be the first case of its sort. According to the New York Post, which cited the Daily Mail, the claimed victim, who was only named as a girl under 16, was playing an immersive virtual reality (VR) game when multiple guys sexually assaulted her avatar, an animated picture of herself. She was wearing a VR headset at the time.


Despite not having any physical wounds, she might have experienced anguish akin to that of a real-life rape. According to the police sources, the victim experiences a longer-lasting emotional and psychological effect than any physical injury.


In what is reportedly the first inquiry of its sort in the UK, British police are looking into the sexual assault of the girl, who is only known to have been under 16. According to reports, the girl was playing an immersive game in the metaverse while donning a virtual reality headset when multiple people attacked her avatar.


The National Police Chiefs' Council's senior investigator for child abuse and protection, Ian Critchley, claims that the metaverse acts as a "gateway" for predators to prey on children. In addition to calling on digital companies to take greater steps to protect their users, Critchley emphasized the need for applicable legislation to be passed and for policing techniques to continue evolving to combat crimes committed online.


Was there a rape here? Some have enquired. Playing video games can lead to death in several cases. The girl had no reason to predict that she would be raped, of course, but Call of Duty gamers can anticipate occasionally being digitally slain as part of the game. Although the specific game she was playing at the time of the alleged assault is unknown, it is clear that there isn't an online game where adult gamers can play with the intention of raping youngsters. The central question in this case, which has garnered international interest, is whether or not they can be in the metaverse.


Therefore, it is crucial that Meta be held accountable even though it is vital for the police to look into this matter and for the courts to determine the proper penalty for the accused perpetrators.


Meta has gained a reputation for inadequately safeguarding children and adolescents. In 2021, whistleblower Frances Haugen exposed Facebook's internal research indicating the negative impact of Instagram (owned by Meta) on the confidence and body image of teenage girls. In October of the same year, a bipartisan group of 33 attorneys general filed a lawsuit against Meta in California, asserting that Facebook and Instagram contribute to a "national youth mental health crisis." Without intervention, incidents of sexual crimes in the metaverse, targeting both children and adults, are likely to increase.