Virtual Rape = Real Prison?

May 7, 2007 at 7:50 am by  

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Police in Brussels are investigating the report by a Second Life player that they were raped online. That is, their digital representation was sexually molested against their will. Online. Which is raising some interesting legal issues.

For me, the issue is pretty clear-cut. But in an age where the molestation and stalking of minors online IS a punishable offense, where do we draw the line? What should be the difference in punishment?

I hate to belittle the feelings of the complainant in this case, but frankly I’m a tad pissed that they would equate the molestation of a virtual character to what a person feels when someone is holding them down and thrusting themselves violently into them. What it feels like to be drenched in a stranger’s sweat. The cold humiliation, the fear of existing in the real world, these things have no correlation to a world where the victim could have simply pressed a button on their computer to “reset” everything. A victim that could have walked away at any moment. Perhaps the victim here is the one committing the real crime, comparing their momentary annoyance to a life-changing trauma of the worst order.

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