First Rape Case in the Metaverse Inspires New Digital Rules

Published February 10th, 2022 - 09:54 GMT
rape in the metaverse
First case of gang rape in the Metaverse was reported earlier this month. (Shutterstock - edited by Albawaba)

On February 1, a London-based 43-years old mother spoke up about her experience as a Meta avatar being groped by several male avatars only a few seconds after logging into the new digital world, urging Meta's regulators to introduce new protection measures to halt such attacks in the Metaverse's Horizon Worlds online game

The incident is the first of a kind to be reported by users of the online game which was released in December 2021 in the testing phase, following Meta's announcement of introducing a revolutionary social media interactive world in digital spaces. 

According to Nina Jane Patel, who took to Medium to openly tell the world about her first experience in the Metaverse, her female avatar was attacked and raped virtually by 3 to 4 male avatars within 60 seconds of starting her tour around the new digital universe, without her being able to protect the avatar or stop the attack.

I recently shared my experience of sexual harassment in Facebook/Meta’s Venues. Within 60 seconds of joining — I was verbally and sexually harassed — 3–4 male avatars, with male voices, essentially, but virtually gang raped my avatar and took photos — as I tried to get away they yelled — “don’t pretend you didn’t love it” and “go rub yourself off to the photo”. - Nina Jane Patel

The incident that was acknowledged by Meta (formerly known as Facebook) in an official statement inspired the company to introduce a new safety feature to the game called "personal boundary," through which each avatar will have their own personal space protected from unwanted contact by other avatars. 

However, it has triggered a wide variety of questions over the kind of threats that could emerge virtually in this new and yet-to-be-explored digital entity, and the need for serious rules that could limit the number of offenses that could take place in the Metaverse world.

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