This week’s reading, Jordan Belamire’s My First Virtual Reality Groping, touches upon the issue of sexual assault in the virtual world, where users can remain anonymous. I felt disheartened that Belamire’s first experience in giving VR, which is predominantly a male interest, a chance, but had to experience such violation. Even though Belamire’s voice was the only indication of her femaleness, she was still violated. In discussion this week, we discussed ways we could prevent the virtual reality experience from being threatening for women. A solution I thought of was the option to fight off any other player violating the player’s personal space, so that they can still be in the game but can not enter within a close proximity to the player. Of course, the intention of assault should not happen in the first place, but realistically speaking, there will always be players with negative intentions.
I thought it was interesting how even though the assault was not physical, it was still heavily traumatizing, showing how immersive Belamire was in the VR. Although Belamire’s experience incomparable to an actual rape victim’s trauma, it should equally recognized as an issue that needs to be addressed.