Is “virtual” rape, rape?

There is no question that forced online sexual activity — whether through text, animation, malicious scripts or other means — is real; and is a traumatic experience that can have a profound and unpleasant aftermath, shaking your faith in yourself, in the community, in the platform, even in sex itself…But I have a hard time calling it “rape,” or believing it’s a matter for the police. No matter how disturbed you are by a brutal sexual attack online, you cannot equate it to shivering in a hospital with an assailant’s sweat or other excretions still damp on your body. That’s not to say I dismiss the trauma a person suffers after being raped online. Virtual rape is not just a prank, one the target needs to get over or expect as part of a role-playing world. (And if you are inclined to pooh-pooh this, first read author Julian Dibble’s chapter about a rape that occurred in a text-only MOO in the early ’90s.)

Read Virtual Rape Is Traumatic, but Is It a Crime? from WIRED’s Sex Drive (Regina Lynn). Previously from WNM: Virtual Cons, but “real” consequences?

Contribute to the Whats New Media Wiki article on Julian Dibbell and her article, A Rape in Cyberspace.


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Filed under Cybercrime, Gaming, Technology, our Mirror, Virtual Communities

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