UK Police Investigating Alleged Gang Rape Of Teenage Girl’s Metaverse Avatar: REPORT

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John Oyewale Contributor
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The UK’s Metropolitan Police is investigating the alleged gang rape of a teenage girl’s online avatar in the Metaverse during a virtual reality (VR) video game, the Daily Mail reported Monday.

Officers alleged that while the girl, a minor under the age of 16, did not feel any physical pain, she felt psychologically injured by the experience similar to that of a corporeal rape due to the immersive nature of virtual reality, the Daily Mail reported. The victim allegedly was in an online “room” with numerous other online avatars in the Metaverse when several adult male avatars violated her, according to the outlet.

No such investigation is believed to have been conducted before in the UK, police reportedly said. The details of the case were not given to protect the child and ensure prosecution, the Daily Mail reported.

The UK’s Sexual Offences Act appears to concern itself with physical rather than virtual acts of sexual violence and assault.

“The kind of behavior described has no place on our platform, which is why for all users we have an automatic protection called personal boundary, which keeps people you don’t know a few feet away from you,” a spokesperson for Meta said in a statement to the Daily Mail. (RELATED: Police Accuse Man Of Committing Sex Crimes Against Teen Girls While Posing As Student)

The metaverse has been touted as “the next evolution in social connection and the successor to the mobile internet,” able to “help you connect with people when you aren’t physically in the same place and get us even closer to that feeling of being together in person,” according to Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta.

However, according to the Daily Mail, the UK‘s National Police Chiefs’ Council’s Child Protection and Abuse Investigation Lead, Ian Critchley, said, “the metaverse creates a gateway for predators to commit horrific crimes against children.”

Several people have allegedly faced sexual harassment and assault on Meta‘s metaverse in the recent past, according to a report published by Ekō, an advocacy platform. Meta said it rolled out a “Personal Boundary” feature in early 2022 to prevent VR strangers from entering one’s digital character’s space. This was in response to an alleged virtual rape report by researcher Nina Jane Patel, according to the New York Post.