I think the internet is a great tool and the majority of my time is spent on the net, whether it is for work, uni or personal use. I do not however, dabble in the word of online gaming rooms, MUD’s and any other form of cyberspace that can be categorised with these. Is it my thing? Definitely not. Do I think it’s a little strange. Yes. Would I judge somebody for partaking in these activities? No. But I’ve always asked the question of when does the internet go too far? Well, my answer to that is when the statement “Rape in Cyberspace” is thrown around.
Like this article, I also found it hard to fathom the concept of such a vile act taking place in the virtual world. But apparently it happens quite frequently. Case in point, an incident which occurred in a virtual community called LambdaMOO committed by an avatar called Mr.Bungle (Dibbell, 2003). In the aftermath of the incident, several central questions where asked throughout LambdaMOO participants - what was the real-life legal status of the offense? Could Bungle’s university administrators punish him for sexual harassment? Could he be prosecuted under state laws against obscene phone calls (Dibbell, 2003).
Unfortunately, forced online sexual activity is a real, traumatic experience that can have a profound affect on the victim (Lynn, 2007). But given the reach of the internet and the new depths people can explore it, how could anyone ever regulate these kinds of occurrences, which have not only crossed, but totally violated what even the most experienced online users consider acceptable? As discussed here, there are no laws which render these activities criminal. Sipress (2007) discusses the need for a law enforcement to monitor these online fantasy worlds (Sipress, 2007).
Dibbell, Julian. 1998. “A Rape in Cyberspace.” Accessed May 7, 2012. http://blackboard.qut.edu.au/webapps/blackboard/content/contentWrapper.jsp?content_id=_4076720_1&displayName=Week+9&course_id=_81726_1&navItem=content&href=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.juliandibbell.com%2Farticles%2Fa-rape-in-cyberspace%2F