A woman who goes by the pseudonym “Jordan Belamire” claimed to CNNMoney that she was sexually assaulted in a virtual reality video game called QuiVr. According to Belamire, the incident occurred when she was playing the HTC Vive VR that her brother-in-law owned. At first, she was just doing normal things in the game like shooting zombies. Since the multiplayer mode was on, there were other virtual reality gamers playing the game at the same time she was. Then one of these other players came up to her in the game and began rubbing her chest in virtual reality. Belamire claimed the experience of getting groped in the game reminded her of the two times she got groped in real life.
To make matters worse, Belamire’s microphone was on so other players could hear her voice and determine that she was a woman. You’d think this would make them stop but instead, it attracted another player to come over to her in the virtual world and grab her too. Belamire claimed the player “BigBro442” chased her around in the virtual world and made pinching motions around her chest area. The worst part was when the player touched her virtual crouch with his virtual hand and began rubbing the area.
Belamire posted about her experiences on Twitter but she didn’t get too much sympathy. People couldn’t understand how she could be assaulted in a virtual reality setting. After she received lots of hate messages over it, she suspended her account on Twitter temporarily. Now she claims the backlash against her was even worse than the virtual assault.
The problem here is that most of these games are created by male video game developers and they don’t consider how a female gamer could become vulnerable to these kinds of virtual attacks. Fortunately, the VR chatroom “AltspaceVR” has created a way to stop these attacks. It is a personal bubble option that the player can select which forces all other players to be at least one foot away from them. QuiVr’s developer “Blueteak” is going to be integrating this feature into the game soon.