Op/Ed: Someone’s Killing Mum in SL

by Alphaville Herald on 29/10/07 at 11:12 pm

by Katrina Eales

IF Second Life was the real world my lifeless body would now be in the possession of the coroner.

On October 28, for the first time, I saw the dark and sinister side of Second Life in a very personal way. I was attacked by a man who wanted to wield power over me and dominate me – to take me and use me for his own perverted ends. I escaped for a time. But later I looked into his avatar’s evil eyes as he pointed his virtual gun at me and squeezed the trigger time and time again.

I heard the gun before I saw him standing in my own lounge room in Stormhold, Caledon. Boom, boom, boom – it was loud. So loud in fact that it brought my three children aged 10, eight, and six running across our real world lounge room to see what was happening on the computer screen.

Just as they arrived I turned and saw my attacker and so did the kids. My first instinct was to protect them so in RL I hugged them close while in SL I stared at him as he shot me again and again. My six year old daughter screamed out “someone’s killing Mum” but my sons said nothing and stood watching with the impotence of young male anger, fists clenched.

Later, as their anger broke forth there was uproar in our RL household even as their Dad and I explained to them that Second Life merely provides a picture of what some people are capable of rather than providing them with the means to do it.

The man behind the avatar who did this is most probably mentally ill or just downright evil. His actions brought home to me in a startlingly graphic way what countless women victims have suffered in the real world. My heart was with them rather than with me and I wondered whether this virtual stalking murderer had committed violent crimes outside his computer screen.

His name is Jerome Nitschke, a resident of SL since June 2006. He was confronted and reported over the attempted rape by a director of the land in which the offense took place – which probably explains my subsequent virtual execution carried out by a newly created alt named nathan (lower case n) Galli who was only born to SL the same day.

As we all know sex and graft and crime is big in Second Life but for me the great tragedy is that the dark side is casting an ever growing shadow of over the screens of peaceful, productive and harmless fun loving residents.

With the benefit of quick thinking and a couple of months of SL experience behind me I was able to escape his rape attempt after being attacked from behind, shoved violently down a mountainside and confronted by an ugly and erect prosthetic penis. It looked incongruous in the absence of testicles and it occurred to me as I teleported out that he had no balls. I found myself hoping that somewhere some day, a man, a real one, not a pathetic geek with a prosthesis would march up to him and shove something real in his face.

When the assault occurred I was touring a rural themed sim with a friend. We were commenting on how lovely it was when she was attacked first in a frenzy of violence I found horrifying to watch. And, of course, being merely an avatar I was helpless to assist. Fortunately she had the presence of mind to escape but while I was trying to contact her to ascertain if she was all right I was myself attacked.

I’ve heard the controversy over virtual rape and assault. It’s not a crime because there isn’t a victim some claim. Wrong! The woman behind the avatar is a victim and the emotional consequences of the attack may be long term.

For some women the consequences of virtual rape may be far reaching. The knowledge that one has encountered a man, who given a real world opportunity, may have committed the same act can be traumatic. The emotional, psychological, and sociological consequences may in some cases correspond to rape in real life.

For myself, a professional journalist in real life who has seen the consequences of real violence many times, being virtually assaulted and murdered will have no lasting impact and I know that with my example my children will be able to separate it from their reality.

Other victims may not be so fortunate and one of these days, perhaps, such virtual crime will extend its consequences into the real world in a way none of us wish to see.

The only steps I have taken as a result of this is to remove Second Life from the desktop computer and install it in my Powerbook. I will no longer venture in-world while my children are in the same room. I used to let them watch the screen when there was something interesting to look at but having witnessed how violence can intrude on the most peaceful and idyllic Second Life scenes that is no longer an option. How sad!

80 Responses to “Op/Ed: Someone’s Killing Mum in SL”

  1. Penance Sautereau

    Oct 30th, 2007

    *shudders* Hon if you need to, come to my Rape Counselling Centre in Kot. It’s for ANY survivor of assault to have a place to talk. Just search for “Rape Counselling” and ignore all the sick fetish groups.

    It’s bad enough it exists in RL, why do people need to poison our SL escapes too?

  2. Shaunathan Sprocket

    Oct 30th, 2007

    Did Desmond ban him at least?

  3. anon1

    Oct 30th, 2007

    First of all, SL is a simulation. What happens in SL will stay in SL, 99.999% of the time. Not too many kids play Grand Theft Auto and go to school the next day and shoot up their classmates. This is because most people, most likely including this guy who probably just has a sick sense of humor, are sane enough to recognize the division between what is real and what isn’t.

    Second, SL is intended for adults. You know that. It’s not anybody’s fault but your’s if your kids happen to see something they shouldn’t while you’re playing SL.

    Third, just report the guy and teleport somewhere else until he gets bored and/or banned. Even better, you can have fun with the guy and orbit him till he gets too frustrated to even continue what he’s doing. It speaks VOLUMES about you if you simply just sit there and act like a victim.

  4. Anon

    Oct 30th, 2007

    Someone shoved you down a mountaintop with his penis. You couldn’t invent such comedy.

    This is the kind of bullshit “SL = serious business” that the PN, W-Hat, etc etc used to parody so well (sadly, not anymore, they’re pretty much the same serious business they tried to laugh at). But it also is a nice story of how if you’re completely oblivious to the fact Second Life is about sex you’ll soon find out.

    I still stand by my thesis that middle aged women are the most grave threat to the Internet. They take everything so seriously and have such distorted mindsets about what the net is about (I was emailed! A VIRUS! I’m going to get your computer address and send it to AOL!) that even the furries couldn’t beat them.

  5. humanoid

    Oct 30th, 2007

    Congratulations, you are an idiot. A breeding idiot. The worst kind of idiot.

  6. Mytwo Cents

    Oct 30th, 2007

    I have to apologize for being blunt here, but this article is annoying, ridiculous and utter nonsense. While other residents may be the source of annoyance or display behaviour that some may find inappropriate, childish or even tasteless, “virtual rape” or “virtual murder” is technically impossible in SL. If the author does not possess the mental ability to properly distinguish between online entertainment and the real life, I strongly recommend spending less time in Second Life and more time getting professional medical help.

    Seriously, if comical griefing attempts such as people shooting at you or trying to hump you with a newbie dick give the author so much emotional trouble, she should simply click on the “cancel account” option that can be found as the first option under “membership” in the bar on the right hand side after you have logged into your account on the Second Life website.

    If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen and spend more time with your kids in the park.

  7. Greefin Oh

    Oct 30th, 2007

    *coughs* You have got to be kidding me. I don’t know who is more mentally ill here: The gun -wielder or the woman who wrote this piece.

    It disgusts as me a Human Being with fleshy skin, a brain, muscles, blood, etc, to hear these words such as “Crime” being thrown around in SL as if it’s real.. No I’m sorry, if you get shot with a virtual gun, it’s not real. You’re not bleeding.. There’s no pain. It’s no different than being shot in Halo 3.

    A Real crime in SL would be, say, someone tapping into your account, and stealing your $1000.00′s worth of your Linden Funny Money. Ok that’s a crime.

    Who are these people? “OMGZ HUN! HIDES OUR CHILDRENS FROM THE BAD AVATAR ON THE SCREEN!!”. My God man, get a grip on reality please for the love of all that is good and pure in this real world in which I sit in to type this rant. Perhaps it’s time you take SL off your computer completely. It’s sad. It really is sad. Do you know many times I’ve been shot with guns in SL? And I have yet to tremble in fear from it. I’ll tell what I have shat my pants from. Having a real gun pointed at me in Real Life for a lousy $1.58, on a bustop, at 10PM…

    I could go on and on about this stuff. Virtual rape, crime, sex… You’re not kidding. That’s the sad part. I say Philip Linden, was this your utopia you dreamed of? Probably not.
    But MmmMmmmMmmm.. that money rolling in sure smells good don’t it?

    PS.. remind me to pee on this person.


    Oct 30th, 2007

    This only thing disturbing about this is that the “victim” is apparantly so addicted to playing SL that their psychosis is spilling over in to their home and effecting children.

    We all play sl and despite the creative writing, essentially what happened was some abnoxious person wearing a pen0s was firing imaginary rounds and walking into her avatar. A fairly common act in SL.

    Maybe the author needs to stop playing around in some imaginary house when she has a husband and children she can spend time with.

    If you are emotionally horrified by anything SL has to throw at you, its time you stopped playing.

  9. Prokofy Neva

    Oct 30th, 2007


  10. Soen Eber

    Oct 30th, 2007

    Frankly I’m disgusted by most of these comments. What? You think just because there’s a keyboard in the way the threat isn’t real, and the children who watched this are deranged because they watched it?

    OK Einsteins, try picking up a phone and telling the secret service that you’re going to kill the president; send a crudely drawn racist cartoon threatening violence to a minority of your choice with a return address, or post a video to youtube threatening to walk into a school with a bunch of guns and explosives – explaining all the time that you’re “just roleplaying”. After all, those aren’t “real” either, right? Just see how long it takes for the swat team to come visiting.

    Threats, and that’s what this is, is a threat, are real, and treated as such no matter what the medium. Get that through your head – sometimes people are just playing or being asshats while griefing and I can understand that, but this sounded a lot more serious.

  11. Pauleh Kamachi

    Oct 30th, 2007

    you typed this shit out?

  12. Beathag McMahon

    Oct 30th, 2007

    Unfortunately every kind of human behavior is reflected in SL. That means there are a**holes as well as good people. That means that bad things happen along with good. And that includes men controlling or attempting to control women. Yes,it’s virtual – no one is really physically hurt. But I have been attacked verbally in SL by someone who didn’t approve of my behavior. And it hurt. Happily he was stupid enough to do it in front of my friends – including one of the sim owners – so all it got him was banned and AR’d.
    And while some commenters are appalled by the attitude of Ms Eales, I am appalled by the personal attacks leveled on her. Especially the person who called her an idiot. He’s (I assume it’s a male – no woman would be that insensitive) trying to control her just as much as her attackers.
    I am sure that I will be attacked for these comments by some insensitive males who haven’t a clue about women’s lives. I will simply consider the source. I hope Ms Eales will do the same if she reads their responses to her post.

  13. Aetuneo Novi

    Oct 30th, 2007

    When you have the ultimate ability to stop anything that is happening on a computer (eg, the ability to kill the power), you cannot be assaulted, raped, etc. without wishing to be. If you are unable to differentiate between what happens inside virtual worlds and what happens outside, you deserve whatever results from that.

  14. shockwave yareach

    Oct 30th, 2007

    Well, unless you clicked OKAY for an animation, you two didn’t do a thing. Unless you clicked OKAY for the animation, his shooting at you did noting but make some noise.

    At absolute worst, you were griefed by a punk. You were not raped. You were not almost raped. You weren’t even in the farthest remote chance of being raped, unless you were then attacked in your living room. I disagree with the PN most vehemetly most of the time. But this is one case where I have to agree with the twits – you have no business in SL if you cannot keep Reality and Game apart. It is not possible to rape anyone or kill anyone in SL – you can tport or relog. Nobody can force you to do anything – YOU have to accept the animation being offered. If you don’t want to play being shot, don’t click okay. If you don’t want the guy to grab you, don’t click okay. It is as simple as that. If you clicked OKAY then you CHOSE to act out the scene. You accepted – that’s consent. If you didn’t accept then nothing happened.

    If you don’t want to play with the punk, then mute him and refuse his animation requests. Then report his ass (for all the good that’ll do) and ban him from your land/home. People thinking SL is a giant shooting gallery where everyone is a target is a big problem inworld. But rape and murder are not, because it’s simply not possible to make another character do something without their consent.

    However, if your sort are becoming the norm instead of the exception, I can make a mint selling virtual PLAN B pills on SL. What would you pay to ensure that your avatar was not impregnated by the rapist in SL? 500L sound good to you? I promise there are no side effects besides the lightening of your pocket book.

  15. GreenLantern Excelsior

    Oct 30th, 2007

    I agree with most of the comments here. If someone is bothering you in SL, report him and teleport to a different location, or vice versa. It helps you write a more dramatic article if you stay and watch it happen while doing nothing, but that’s not what most people do in SL. Just say no to drama.

    As for the “violence is only against women” myth, men are the victims of domestic violence 38-50% of the time. Check batteredmen.com for more information.

  16. Bsoton

    Oct 30th, 2007

    Its sensationalist rubbish like this that animates the ‘mob’ and drives the clueless Lindens into further erroding the experience for those of us who can actually distinguish betwen fantasy and our real lives.

  17. Beathag McMahon

    Oct 30th, 2007

    What’s appalling is the men who attack Ms Eales. Their behavior goes right along with that of her attackers – men trying to control women’s behavior by attacking the women when the women do something that men don’t like.

  18. L. R.

    Oct 30th, 2007

    Ma’am, please do not offend those who have been unlucky enough to endure unwanted sexual attention iRL, or worse yet, actually been raped or assaulted, by writing tripe like this as a show of ‘solidarity.’

    The worst that’s ever happened to me iRL was when I was in college, and some weird dude attempted to entice me into his car. How did I respond? By saying ‘nokthxbye’ and running to my dorm room. Essentially, teleporting away. Problem solved. THE CONCEPT.

    I mean really, for the love of Christ, listen to yourself.

    I sincerely want to know what you are on. Really. Seeing as I suffer from bouts of depression and melancholy several times a year, I would LOVE to experience life as vividly as you apparently do. The colors you must experience, ma’am, the COLORS!

  19. Verbena Pennyfeather

    Oct 30th, 2007

    Damnit Prokofy, I hate agreeing with you.


  20. Gina Amat

    Oct 30th, 2007

    I AM a rape victim, and I’m absolutely disgusted by this article.

    Hon, do you have any idea what it’s like to have a knife held to your neck? Do you have any idea what it’s like to strip, suck off, and be defiled in some godforsaken alleyway by someone? Do you know how it feels not knowing if you’re going to make it home tonight?


    Oh, and start looking after your kids. From the sounds of it, you barely look away from the monitor to take care of them.

  21. Darien Caldwell

    Oct 30th, 2007

    Wow, This has to be the biggest stretch of an article i’ve ever read in my entire life. Someone desperately needed some attention. *shakes head*

  22. shockwave yareach

    Oct 30th, 2007

    Soen: If I made a threat against the president of the US, a real person, then I’d expect a real response against a real threat to a real person which violates a real law.

    But if I threaten to kill the president of the Gravel Empire, a fictitious person of a fictitious place, then there will be no response as I have not broken ANY law or threatened ANY person. Just like I can’t be prosecuted for stealing cars while playing Grand Theft Auto, I can’t be prosecuted for “harming” a character in a videogame either.

    It is a video game. It isn’t real. No cap popped into your SL ass will require medical attention or even a bandaid. No rapist can force you to lie down. If you find the punks distasteful, then join the club. But they are no more raping you than all the people dueling on WoW are murdering each other. Those of you who don’t understand the difference between REAL (that which is outside your computer) and VIRTUAL (that which is inside your computer) should go back to playing Hello Kitty Island Adventure.

    Or would you like to buy some of my Plan B pills to prevent impregnation by the rapists in SL? I’ll be happy to sell them in bulk if there is enough demand.

  23. Buretin Peart

    Oct 30th, 2007

    >> OK Einsteins, try picking up a phone and telling the secret service that you’re going to kill the president; send a crudely drawn racist cartoon threatening violence to a minority of your choice with a return address, or post a video to youtube threatening to walk into a school with a bunch of guns and explosives – explaining all the time that you’re “just roleplaying”. After all, those aren’t “real” either, right? Just see how long it takes for the swat team to come visiting. <<

    These are not valid comparisons at all to what Katrina had experienced. All 3 examples you listed pertain to direct RL threats. The difference here is that Katrina experienced some kiddie asshole griefer who displayed no signs of inflicting any RL threat whatsoever.

    Hugging your kids tightly and suddenly in a panic the moment some griefer shoots at you with a virtual popgun? That probably traumatized them more than it comforted them. Based on the mom’s reaction, I’m sure the lines between fantasy and reality have been blurred for them and now they probably think that computer games and TV have the potential to inflict real-life harm.

    As well, equating this experience with terms like “rape” and “murder” is a silly stretch that is so incomparable to the true horror that is RL rape and murder. Katrina was simply griefed by some bored schmuck teenager with no life. That’s all.

  24. Jacko

    Oct 30th, 2007

    Most of you dud commenters have missed the entire point of the article Miss Eales has written.

    The point is that people have a right to play in Second life without being subjected to obnoxious behavior.

    She makes a good point about the potential of the creep who attacked her to offend against real women in real life.

    Sounds to me like some of you might like to carry out the same deeds… what do we have here – a network of virtual sex offenders protecting protecting their territory?

  25. Eleanor

    Oct 30th, 2007

    I read Katrina’s article and gained a completely different picture to most of the posters here.

    It sounds to me as though during the shooting she was taken by surprise as the children ran to the computer screen from elsewhere in her real world lounge room.

    Most of us find it difficult to do two things at once and obviously she attempted to shield her children from what was happening on screen and I would have done the same.

    The vitriol of the women haters on this thread is really terrible. Katrina is entitled to her feelings, she stated it would have no lasting impact on her or her children but she is concerned about people for whom it might have long lasting consequences. I share her concern.

    She sounds like an objective and well balanced woman to me.

    As for those whom say the actions of the offending avatar were not a crime, you should think again. Many countries, like Australia, where I live have laws against online stalking which carry a jail term of up to five years. The laws exist for a reason. If you sexually challenged geeks don’t like it find another planet to inhabit.

  26. UhNope

    Oct 30th, 2007

    Assuming everything in this article is true for the sake of argument:

    1. Virtual worlds are not real life. Because someone is capable of clicking the gun ‘fire’ button on their keyboard, harassing via text chat, or even virtual stalking from their computer chair does not mean they’re capable of doing the same real version in real life.

    2. The person described here may well be capable of such, but merely observing avatar behavior of it isn’t going to be a reliable indication. There is no evidence this is “a man, who given a real world opportunity, may have committed the same act” or even that it is a man controlling the avatar at all. My thought it is that the author, with no substantive evidence whatsoever, merely hopes for such a statement to be true to help bolster the case for the ideological inference of the article with respect to “virtual” behavior.

    3. The article’s author was harassed. However, after writing on long, descriptive and obvious appeal to emotion of the circumstances, rather than merely seek answers or comfort as a victim would, the author shows herself to be not much of a victim at all. She demonstrates that not only is she capable of presenting an authoritative (though generally baseless) argument for sociological truth after the fact, but is also capable of the same sort of characteristic dehumanization that a would-be “virtual rapist” is: reducing the attacker him or herself to nothing more than a “pathetic geek”. (Penance Sautereau, you were taken for a ride.)

    4. The author proclaims “being merely an avatar I was helpless to assist” while it is better to consider “being merely an avatar, the attacker was helpless to substantially harm”.

    5. There is a victim to any kind of “virtual rape” (which if it’s a crime at all, is nothing more than harassment), but an enormous and unfortunate disservice is being done when one makes the claim that the there is any more than a superficial link between a “virtual rapist” and a real rapist, both in terms of causality and harm. The empty claim that “emotional consequences of the attack may be long term” is belied by the fact the she herself was able to realize after a moment of shock that she really was just staring at a computer screen, all of which could have been ceased to exist at the click of a computer mouse. While it could have been “real” for that brief moment, people who experience this are rather more likely to be able to “come back to reality” relatively soon after to examine the situation and their responses, and learn from what occurred. In real life, any victim of rape can have a tremendous time overcoming the experience because there never was a viable plan for escape in their minds, no matter how many times they try to rethink of what they could have done differently to get away. In a “virtual” case, there will always be that click-out resolution to the mind’s emotional trauma problem, and thus never be a long lasting impact for most people.

    It is for all these reasons that I conclude the author unfortunately used the story of an experience that may or may not have actually happened as described, or at all (one should always be skeptical), to push a two-prong positing agenda:

    1. that “the dark side [whatever that is] is casting an ever growing shadow of over the screens of peaceful, productive and harmless fun loving residents” which is speculative, anecdotal, and presumptuous (on multiple levels) nonsense; and

    2. that “perhaps, such virtual crime will extend its consequences into the real world in a way none of us wish to see”

    both of which appear to be little more than a prelude to a future article, equally baseless and equally ideological about why disagreeable behavior X should be limited or controlled in the virtual reality by either fiat and/or social pressure in order to “save” some people from some harm, which in the real reality does not actually exist.

  27. fizz okame

    Oct 30th, 2007

    It is important to realize that sl has multiple dimensions and that while some perceive it purely as a “game” others are trying to build real life business ventures with it. Some of us, and yes, we do have great real lives” are actually trying to forward sl in new directions… for business, education, architectural design, art, etc. There are REAL people behind these avies, lest we forget, and it is NOT acceptible to walk into a structure/office in a peaceful sim community, and shoot at them, virtually or otherwise! What amazes me is those of you that see sl as an excuse for your violent behavior! There are plenty of sims that encourage that behavior….. got role play there? why do you have to pick on innocent avies going about their business? why cant you respect another avies space? Maybe they are doing something different with sl than you? Leave em alone!
    They arent bothering you, so why go and blast them with your gun? I dont get it!! Get your butt to a first person shooter game or a shooting sim and leave peaceful sims alone, thank you!
    And, yes, many of us have a wonderful real life, thank you very much! If a person is working on a business venture, sl isnt a game. If a person wants to us sl as a shooting game, fine….. do it where its wanted.
    IT amazes me that you chastise Katrina for feeling invaded……. she was!!! Having your virtual space invaded is an invasion, no matter what the magnitude.
    How about a little respect for the people behind the avies?
    Griefers, go shoot avies in the violent, sex sims. there are plenty for you to be a part of. We dont want you in our sims….

  28. persephone kirkorian

    Oct 30th, 2007

    Where to begin?

    First, you embarrass me as another real-life journalist with your shaky ability to divide reality from a computer game. You were not assaulted, or nearly raped, or almost killed. The fact that you cannot see where your avatar ends and you begin is troubling. Very. I hope you show better discernment between fact and fiction in your real job as a journalist. Or else, our industry truly is doomed.

    Second, you embarrass me as a woman. The women *I* know and respect don’t fall to pieces because one cartoon character wasn’t nice to another cartoon character. FFS, give us more credit than that. You may be some weak, wilting flower of femininity, but I am not. And neither are multitudes of other women who can handle whatever SL throws at them. Not to mention your very insulting equation of real, actual rape and violence with the trivial thing you encountered.

    Third, I am not a parent myself, but I can’t help but thinking “What the hell” at your reaction with your kids. They heard a big noise … so? Laugh it off and say, “Oops, mommy had the volume set too high.” Good response, no? Beats, “ZOMG someone is trying to KILL MOMMY.” :facepalm:

  29. Liam

    Oct 30th, 2007

    I’m glad most of the comments here mirror my own views. The internet is a fantastic invention that brings millions of people closer in ways they never could have imagined. It brings knowledge and information to people who could otherwise never have got it. And unfortunately it brings retarded 15 year olds who want to ruin peoples fun and annoy them.

    This article has given so much power to your “attacker” that it’s not even funny. You’ve empowered every single griefer there is by showing that their simple actions on a video game can mess with your kids even.

    Some of the replies may seem harsh but this is not only nothing, its insulting to the real life victims of crime. Please do not mistake boredom and immaturity with evil and mental illness.

  30. James Kazan

    Oct 30th, 2007


  31. Anon

    Oct 30th, 2007

    I dont mean to sound insensitive or anything but I cant seem to fathom how in the world someone would be RL emotionally damaged by an idiot in a fake world who tried to “rape” them and more than likely they knew they couldnt and just felt like causning some rukus.

    Its not real, its IMPOSSIBLE for someone to rape anyone in SL….. Just pass it off as them being idiots, which theyre being, and TP out or ban them if you have the rights.

  32. roberto viking

    Oct 30th, 2007

    yes, maybe the original poster over reacted a _little_, but the offender’s behavior has no excuse or justification. I am shocked at the sympathy shown for the offender- makes me sick.
    Caledon is an area envisioned to be something different- where our corner of this world is more respecting and polite. If an area has “damage” turned off- that should signal that behaviors where “damage” is done are unacceptable. There are plenty of places on the grid where this kind of behavior is acceptable- take it there and leave us peaceniks alone.

  33. Tootsie Humphreys

    Oct 30th, 2007

    From all the people I have talked to over my stay in SL thus far, I have discovered 2 things in SL that are REAL, if not temporary, but still there.

    1. The machines/computers involved. I average 2 FPS on my built-in video card and I take offence when a griefer attacks my 8 year-old computer with particles or whatever that the Client still tries to calculate no matter how many Beacon’s are hidden and other flashy effects are disabled.

    2. People’s feelings. I haven’t experienced this as such, though I have met enough Avatars to realize that they all come from different walks of life and take something different from what is displayed on their screen and brought to their ears. I personally keep SL muted just on principle, and to prevent horrid loud sounds from disturbing my unwary neighbors, though mostly because my speakers are already being used.

    The reader comments are enough to prove different people. It looks like most people’s feelings and reactions to the very same attack would vary from person to person on what they felt and how they combat the griefer (Fight or Flight instincts). The best thing that could possibly happen is if Griefers could learn to grief responsibly and know which avatars are capable of handling their attacks appropriately, and those that are Probably in a PG sim looking at something neat and showing their kids pieces of other people’s imagination. Though that statement itself feels like a contradiction.

    In short even though it is all fake/virtual, I believe the poster’s main point is to show that nobody likes to be shot, and some people and those nearby react strongly to such actions.

  34. Louise

    Oct 30th, 2007

    Obviously the writer is referring to virtual events and she shouldn’t have to remind readers that she wasn’t actually murdered, raped or assaulted. Those who think she should obviously have little in the way of comprehension.

    This story is about an assault on the integrity of an avatar and it muses over the motivations of the person behind the avatar that committed the assault. It asks the very pertinent question about whether the offender has committed real world offences against women?

    It also examines the potential consequences of such virtual offences for some women. The writer makes no claim to having suffered such effects but expresses concern for those who may.

    Ultimately Second Life has become much more than a game. It has enormous potential in communication and education and for online commerce. It is also a great social experiment which is reflective of the real world.

    Merely because an avatar cannot be physically killed or raped is no reason to attack the writer. She referred to “virtual rape” and this requires a virtual definition. She did not equate it to real life rape but merely pointed out that it could have emotional impacts corresponding to a real life experience. I agree with her view and absolutely defend her right to express her feelings in this journal.

  35. Mooooooo

    Oct 30th, 2007

    Sound like you are going a little overboard with the roleplaying there, and that maybe you have some bizzare rape fantasies….
    True someone can wear a virtual penis in SL, but what they can cause your avatar to do is very very limited. Maybe they can use a push gun to move you or something, but it is not like you were actually on the ground and helpless….. You say “you were just an avatar and helpless” well then the attacker was an avatar too, so how did that work?

    You should never show your kids second life it is disgusting!

  36. Angel

    Oct 30th, 2007

    To all you people saying that it’s only a game and the desire to rape doesn’t leave SL and that she should just TP out if she doesn’t like it…

    I say the same about Sexual Ageplay. It’s only pixels, real people are not being hurt, to say they are is a disservice to the real life crimes. The effort spent tackling rape in SL should be spent in RL instead. The effort spent tackling pixel kid sex should be put into tackling REAL life people being abused.

    Same arguments.

    Sexual Ageplay was banned, Rape should be too.
    If Rape in SL is acceptable then so is Sexual Ageplay.

  37. Jessica Holyoke

    Oct 31st, 2007

    I thought they did ban rape.

    Hey, anyone else remember “Broadly Offensive?”

  38. Amazed

    Oct 31st, 2007

    I am amzed at the respinse from some of you. Yes this is a game and I always point that out to ppeople who complain about activities.
    But those take place between consenting adults ssetting limits and having fun, whatever that may be and whether I can relate to it or not.
    THis is not, it was assualt in SL terms. Recently I went thorugh the same (I have xcite bits). These were played with by someone without my permission. The resposne when I asked him to stop. “What are you going to do about it stupid , unless you can super code get fucked”
    I left and even after leaving I received IM’sd for the next 10 mins.

    I found this offensive and reported him.

    Let me repeat “between CONSENTING adults”. Anything else is assault even in SL.

  39. Anon

    Oct 31st, 2007

    @Angel, Sorry but your ageplay analogy doesnt hold ground.

    A person has to CHOOSE to put on a child avatar and age play. No one can force them to do this. An adult, chose out of their own will, to dress up and perform sexual acts as a child. That *should* be banned.

    As for rape, you can not be forced into a sexual act and raped in SL, it just doesnt work.

    So while a person can choose to sexual ageplay, a person can not choose to be raped. And if they do, then its not rape is it?

  40. Anon

    Oct 31st, 2007

    “Ultimately Second Life has become much more than a game. It has enormous potential in communication and education and for online commerce. It is also a great social experiment which is reflective of the real world.”

    *no* it isn’t and *no* it hasn’t. bullshit like this article is exactly why.

  41. Penance Sautereau

    Oct 31st, 2007


    God the trolls…

    I’m a real life rape survivor too, and I’m not offended by the writer of this article, I’m offended what she wrote ever happened. God you people are beneath trolls, you’re not even human.

  42. Anonymous

    Oct 31st, 2007

    You have got to be fucking kidding me.


    Go tell a real rape victim about your harrowing ordeal. I’m sure they’ll give you a sympathetic look and understand your pain of being almost raped in a videogame. As they’re still halfway paralyzed from their ordeal, or injured sexually or afraid to even have sex ever again.

    Meanwhile, you’re fine, your avatar is obviously fine as avatars cant be injured or crippled in any way, neither can the user. unless you have one of those remote operated sex simulators that simulates someone sticking it in you in reality (yes they do exist)

    Stop trying to get attention and feel special. you arent. In fact, get the hell off SL and raise your kids better, if a videogame scares and disturbs them so badly you have to hug them to reassure you’re okay even though you’re physically fine, you’ve fucked up somewhere, if at such a young age they cant differ between fantasy and reality, you need to improve your skills as a parent, hell, even I realized cartoons and video games were not real when I was 4 years old, because I couldnt physically touch them, I couldnt feel them or smell them, and they sure as hell looked different compared to what was outside and all around me.

  43. Anonymous

    Oct 31st, 2007

    I am a RL rape victim and frankly, I was disgusted and offended by this article. Excuse me, but in RL, I couldn’t TP out of the place when I was raped and beaten. I couldn’t just right click on the guy and eject him. I couldn’t just click the X and make it all go away. I’m personally offended when ppl make the comparison. It’s ridiculous and offensive to “real” victims.

  44. Pugwash

    Oct 31st, 2007

    Fair play to the guy with the big penis, why didn’t you just push his avatar back?

    I find it hard to believe that you’ve been playing Second Life for any significant amount of time and are still shocked that someone had a fake penis and “pushed” you.

    If you choose to hang out with for the most part socially retarded teenagers and mentally fragile geeks, you will suffer these not-particularly-interesting consequences.

    Grow up.

  45. Anavatar

    Oct 31st, 2007

    Phew, who would want to be in a place inhabited by some of you men? There is a name for it – hell.

    If it happened to your wives and they expressed the same feelings Katrina wrote of in her article you’d be looking for another slave to walk around picking up your dirty underpants if you treated them like you’ve treated her.

    It’s well known that most bystander avatars are helpless to assist the victim of an assault. It usually happens too quickly and most avs don’t carry offensive weapons anyway.

    I will assume that Katrina is paying or has paid for the house she occupies in Caledon. For that reason alone she is entitled to feel that her rights have been violated. The shooting took place on her property.

    I suspect if it happened to you guys there would be a violent reaction in real life. Things would be thrown across the room and the language would be more than colorful. Don’t tell me you’d just shrug your shoulders and say, “oh well, that’s life in a virtual world.”

    There is no life in a virtual world, there’s no fun, no anger, no emotion, no assault. In short it virtually doesn’t exist. So what the hell are you doing in Second Life? Hmmm?

    In computing terms an avatar is an icon that represents a real person. For that reason people tend to become closely identified with their avatars and through them develop friendships and relationships with other people. Many of these friendships extend into the real world and so too do emotions and reactions.

    Many of you have been stung by Katrina’s report but for goodness sake guys, it was only a report about a virtual assault in a virtual world. Nothing to get upset about is it? I’m truly surprised you felt strongly enough to write anything. Some consistency of thought would be appreciated.

  46. Darkfoxx

    Oct 31st, 2007

    “Sexual Ageplay was banned, Rape should be too.
    If Rape in SL is acceptable then so is Sexual Ageplay.”

    Hearhear, I couldnt agree more. This is just silly. we’re talking about pixels people.

    Katrina Eales, one little fact: one cannot rape the willing.
    And in SL, where there is ALWAYS the option to TP away or log off, one CANNOT be raped. On SL< as opposed to RL, there’s always an escape.

    And seriously, if being shot at in a computergame is traumatizing for you…. Go back to your Sudoko games. Seriously.
    And seek help, clearly you have trouble seein the difference between reality and fantasy.. and that’s not normal.

  47. Mr Catchpole

    Oct 31st, 2007

    1. Beyond Absurd.

    2. I am currently sitting in your house; it is an absolute mess. Terrible textures, furniture suspended in mid-air, and more importantly, you have full permissions set.
    Turn off build permissions then he cannot fire anything at you.

    3. Are you serious?

  48. Buretin Peart

    Oct 31st, 2007

    Many people, including myself, commented that this article was silly and that Katrina’s reactions were way overblown. As a result, many of you posted that you were shocked that the griefer was being shown sympathy. Not being outraged at this incident does not automatically equate to supporting the griefer, sympathizing with them, or condoning their actions.

    I hate griefers with a passion, and what happened to Katrina sucks. Personally, I can’t wait until the day where there are no more griefers in SL. However, the reality is that they are in SL, so we’re going to have to deal with them in the best way that we can. The negative comments are not because we sympathize with the griefer or think griefing is acceptable- it’s because we disagree in the methodology in which she dealt with her griefing incident.

    Katrina’s reaction to her incident and the subsequent article that she posted only empowers and encourages griefers that are reading to continue with such prepubescent behavior.

  49. ricercar

    Oct 31st, 2007

    It seems that most of the replies here are unable to conceive of rape without physical penetration of real vagina by real penis. More’s the pity.

    The mental trauma of real-life rape is almost invariably longer-lasting than any physical injury. Consider that mental trauma can be fully-mapped to a virtual world, and then re-read the article. This article has almost no relevance to penises and vagainas. This article is relevant to the trauma of being violated.

  50. persephone kirkorian

    Oct 31st, 2007

    “The mental trauma of real-life rape is almost invariably longer-lasting than any physical injury. Consider that mental trauma can be fully-mapped to a virtual world, and then re-read the article. This article has almost no relevance to penises and vagainas. This article is relevant to the trauma of being violated.”

    FFS, you are not your avatar, and even the avatar cannot be injured. If someone is THIS easily traumatized, then they need more help than anyone here can provide.

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