Saturday, May 17, 2008

Assaulted in Second Life

I woke up in the middle of the night this morning and when I can't sleep, I usually end up wasting away hours on the Internet. Among other places I visited last night was Second Life, a virtual world on the Internet which gets millions of visitors every year.

I had already chosen my avatar/identity last month and so that was set, I just had to download the software and get started. The first thing a newcomer has to do is go through an orientation phase at "Orientation Island" where you learn how to navigate, move around, change your outfit, appearance, etc. It's like a sandbox where you can experience the world and get your bearings.

But almost from the outset, my avatar was pounced on by these male avatars hanging around the place. I understand a quick "Hi! How are you?" but I was actually pursued by one guy who kept spooning me and wouldn't move away. But at least this creep had clothes on. Other, naked guys would just come up to me and bump up against me and it was difficult to get away. Sometimes, I'd turn a corner and see a couple of male avatars and just backtrack to avoid having to even pass by them.

What sucks is that you have to go through this Orientation phase before you can go anywhere else in this virtual world. And to file an "incident" report, you have to provide the specific identity of these aggressive perverts. By then, I'd already checked out. And it wasn't just an individual, it seemed to be a hangout for some men to hassle new female avatars to don't know what they are doing in this unfamiliar world.

I hope that my experience was partially the result of my middle-of-the-night wanderings and this isn't business as usual at Second Life. I don't put up with this crap in real life, why should I have to deal with these hassles in a virtual world?

What is really weird is that these guys don't even know if I'm a dude or actually a woman. Hell, I could be their grandmother they are bumping their naked white butts with. All I know is that it was very creepy and the stink has stayed with me all morning long. I'm still undecided whether to ever go back again.