go on … you know you want to …
Well, it’s again official – Clementine Ford is dumber than a bag of rocks. Writing for the Sydney Morning Herald, Ford has come out with an article with the revealing headline, Sexual assault in virtual reality is real, and it needs to be taken seriously. See, this is why you should never let chicks play games with the boys.
The article is not the usual diatribe length that characterizes Ford’s typical output. Perhaps she was busy and had to get down to her local coffee shop so she could accuse the Italian lad behind the bar of sexual assault for talking to her. Or perhaps even she was struggling to write more than a few paragraphs on this topic. Whatever the reason I can only be thankful as getting through her usual War and Peace length gunk tends to debilitate one just a little.
To summarize the piece, Ford has a friend, (on a monthly retainer we presume), who was playing a virtual reality game with a full headset. Everything was going fine, although she did get a little scared of heights at one point, until they were enjoying a spot of ritual violence and undead voyeurism, just what anyone does with their time in real life these days I suppose.
Belamire – who shared the same genderless avatar as her co-players but whose voice made her identifiably female – recalls the incident. “In between a wave of zombies and demons to shoot down, I was hanging out next to BigBro442, waiting for our next attack. Suddenly, BigBro442’s disembodied helmet faced me dead-on. His floating hand approached my body and he started to virtually rub my chest.”
Oh noes. Mind you, seeing as it was a “genderless avatar” I’m not sure she would have been very well endowed in the, er, chest region. Belamire got so upset when this awful miscreant refused to stop that she left the game in a huff. Presumably she went off to have a cup of tea and then left the house to go shopping for sweatpants. Actions that are all too familiar after someone has just experienced real life sexual assault.
For that is the manner in which Ford wants to define this encounter.
But to Belamire, the intrusion on her space and body felt every bit as real as that 100-foot drop. And neither were made less frightening by the rational knowledge they existed only in a virtual world.
Presumably then, Belamire has a completely non-existent chest in real life.
Visual and aural cues can be extremely powerful. It’s why we experience terror when watching horror movies, even though we know the dangers presented aren’t real.
Which is why people filing out of a cinema don’t need to go get counseling for post traumatic stress disorder, (unless you bore witness to The Green Lantern.)
Why is it so difficult then to accept the effects of IRL harassment – fear, anxiety, frustration and the potential for revisited trauma – might be replicated in a virtual space?
This is the way in which crazy feminists who seek offense in every encounter look at the world. Can you imagine her as a five year old playing in a sandpit with the other kids? The mothers would have heard cries coming from the children and they would have looked knowingly at one another as one murmured that it must be that Ford kid accusing little Tommy of sexually assaulting her again.
Virtual reality will continue to be refined and it’s not inconceivable to think the experience of it might become indistinguishable from how we perceive the offline world.
Ford demonstrates this to be entirely true. She is crazy both in the offline world and the virtual one.
If such perception is made possible, how are we to prosecute assault in those virtual spaces – if we are to prosecute at all?
Presumably she is only referring to “sexual assault” here as Belamire seemed to have had no reportable difficulty with having her virtual face eaten off by a zombie.
Why do these people assume there is no crossover between the women who complain about this kind of abuse and those who have been victimised by “real” sexual violence?
In other words, Ford wants everyone to creep around the world on tippie-toes just in case they come into contact with someone who has had something bad happen to them in their miserable lives.
These are not men’s spaces that are yet to be realised, no matter how certain men might be used to being catered for. As Belamire writes: “Eventually we’re going to need rules to tame the wild, wild west of VR multiplayer. Or is this going to be yet another space that women do not venture into?”
One can only hope, my dear. One can only hope.