My First Virtual Reality Groping
Jordan Belamire

There’s a reason I don’t do multiplayer games. I tried in the late 90s and it was a real shitshow of antisocial behavior. I don’t like how people behave in that kind of environment. If I want to play a game, I want to play the game, I don’t want to be hassled by some manboy who doesn’t understand that other people are human beings with feelings.

And for those who say this is disrespectful to say it’s “as bad” as a real life sexual assault, as a real life sexual assault survivor, I can tell you that this kind of bullshit in a 3d environment can be very triggering, and it can and does feel real, even if you’re not in VR. I spent a lot of time in Second Life, and basically ended up sticking to places where I had some control. Sometimes I went on purpose to places where that kind of thing might happen, but I could (and did) disconnect from someone who was behaving badly. When you can’t get away from them when you’re in a space you want to be in, it does not matter whether it is real life or virtual reality, you’re being chased from something you want to do and made to feel upset and beset, and that’s not okay.

So anyone telling her this isn’t a big deal, fuck you, it’s a big deal.

For game designers: EVERY game needs some sort of block/report function. If you can’t design a game in a way that allows for users to not engage with people who don’t abide by basic rules of common decency, it’s not going to be a place where a lot of us have any interest in hanging out. If you’re serious about having a more diverse player base, you’ll give players some way of setting boundaries. And maybe voice filters. The best thing about a virtual reality is being able to look however you want and be who you want, and being able to filter a voice would be an incredible thing for people who either don’t want their gender revealed or specifically want to create a convincing “reality” online for whatever reason.

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