Annotated Bibliography on Issues of Virtual Assault

Abrahams, Nick. (November 3, 2008). Virtual crime is on the rise. Available at

The writer digests a series of cases from many jurisdictions and the issues of “Theft,” “Sex and Relationships,” and “Fraud.”

Arendt, Susan. (March 3, 2008). UK politician claims games feature virtual rape.
Available at

This blogger for Wired magazine attacks claims by MP Kenneth Vaz that certain video games allow rape.

Author Unknown (Dec. 28, 2009) Community: Incident Report. Available at

The 25 most recent Second Life infractions as compiled by Linden Lab.

Author Unknown. (June 28, 2004). Game includes virtual rape. Available at

The game Sociolotron features sexual fetish gameplay and claims it is “among the darkest and most depraved secrets of the world.” A parents’ group complains of the ease of access available to minors.

Author Unknown. (May 7, 2007). Virtual rape: Seriously? Seriously. Available at

This blogger considers whether virtual worlds have no real-world effects -- touching upon sexual harassment and saying that “No one volunteers for sexual harassment, or to be exposed to it.”

Author Unknown. (May 7, 2008). Ban ‘Second Life’ in schools and libraries, Republican
congressman says. Available at

An Illinois polician and Linden Lab debate over educational institutions’ access to Second Life, the medium’s content, and minors’ access to the adult areas of the site.

Author Unknown. (October 20, 2008). Group reveals more than 8,000 disturbing hate sites
on the Internet. Available at

The Simon Wiesenthal Center considers the growth of hate sites online.

Author Unknown. (December 17, 2008). Second Life Harassment – Caged! Available at

An account follows of harassment in Second Life. An online griefer tries to get Linden Dollars from an experienced Second Lifer and a new user, putting them both into virtual cages.

Author Unknown (no date). Virtual crime in the 21st century. 
Available at

Legal analysis about incidents of virtual crime, including online sexual assault.

Balik, Rachel.
(September 5, 2008). The ethics of a sex life in your second life. Available at

An article about avatar sex and whether real-life partners are harmed, noting how participation online affects real world actions.

Clark-Flory, Tracy. (May 7, 2007). Is virtual rape a crime? Available at

A commentator continues the discussion on virtual rape, referencing other commentators, and notes that extreme online sexual harassment should be punished but not confused with actual rape.

Douglas, Nick. (Feb 10, 2008). Trendsquatting: Okay, which Second Life employee is
sleeping with the entire NYT tech section?
Available at sleeping-with-the-entire-nyt-tech-section.

Mainstream media coverage of Second Life is described as “finally receding” from its hype, referencing a Forbes article about virtual sex.

Dibbell, Julian. (October 18, 2005). A Rape in Cyberspace. Available at

Virtual worlds are not strangers to griefing behavior. This article from 1993 describes one such incident in the text-based LambdaMOO.

Dibbell, Julian. (January 18, 2008). Mutilated furries, flying phalluses: Put the blame on griefers,
the sociopaths of the virtual world. Wired Magazine. Available at

An account of “a mass of undiluted digital jackassery” on Second Life. This group of griefers rejoices in “ruining your Second Life since 2006.”

Fate, Artemis (Nov. 27, 2006). Problems of Gor—Part I. Available at

This article describes the Gorean slavery/domination community on Second Life. Goreans have existed on Second Life since 2005.

Feisler, Casey (January 2009). This Is Our World Too: Preventing Real Victims of Virtual Rape.
Available at

An analysis of real vs. online rape and the challenge of freeing the virtual world of harassing behaviors.

Humdog. (February 22, 2006). Confessions of a Gorean Slave, Part 2. Available at

A person with “abandonment experiences” describes the Gorean slavery/domination community in Second Life.

Kerr, Orin S. (Feb. 26, 2008). Criminal Law in Virtual Worlds. Available at

A legal analysis on real-vs.-virtual crime and how the latter lacks physical attributes, making it difficult for criminal prosecution with punishment best left to gaming administrators.

Konrad, Rachel.
(July 26, 2007). IBM guidelines govern virtual employees. Available at

This writer for the Associated Press cites the increasing amount of commerce taking place in virtual worlds and issues of harassment and regulation online.

Leominster, Sigmund (January 28, 2009). Cybercrime and Fantasy Crime: The Law in Virtual Worlds.
Available at

A legal analysis of real vs. online acts that may or may not pose harm, including virtual rape.

Leopold, T.
(November 3, 2008). Second Life not immune from real-life vitriol. Available at

This correspondent for CNN interviews users, surveying incidences of flaming on Second Life.

Leopold, T. (November 3, 2008). #@*!!! Anonymous anger rampant on Internet. Available at

The correspondent continues, this time, interviewing academics. He concludes that the subjects and content of online anger is widespread – from online games, college sports, MySpace, and Second Life.

Lynn, Regina. (May 4, 2007). Virtual Rape Is Traumatic, but Is It a Crime? Wired. Available at

This commentator for Wired admits that “rape in virtual spaces is not unheard of,” but goes on to question whether its investigation is a matter for law enforcement.

Manjoo, Farhad. (July 28, 2008). Even Lamer Than Second Life. Available at

Google’s attempt to create a virtual world is evaluated, noting that people who take to virtual worlds tend to be looking for cybersex, among other things. Author also notes that "Second Life has been held up as a bastion for disabled people, who use it as a way to fantasize about life in other bodies."

Marsden, Rhodri. (October 29, 2008). Can we call in the law about virtual ‘crimes’ in online worlds?
Available at

This commentator considers compensation culture for in-world crimes and virtual appropriation of other users’ data.

MacKinnon, Richard. (1997). Virtual Rape. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 2(4).
Available at

This theorist provides a thoroughly comprehensive analysis of online sexual assault.

Massiel, Myrrh. (June 6, 2007). Robin Linden’s Broadly Offensive Behavior Office Hour. Available

Linden Lab’s avatars interact with users regarding the company’s new policies of intolerance. The idea of standards for offensive behavior is discussed. Linden Lab emphasizes, "We have tried to create a world where everyone takes responsibility for their own actions, within some broadly stated guidelines called the community standards."

Michels, Scott. (November 19, 2008). Alleged MySpace hoaxer on trial today. Available at

Technology’s interaction with society is discussed in coverage of the Lori Drew trial concerning a hoax perpetuated on an insecure 13-year-old girl who committed suicide.

Mistral, Pixeleen. (February 15, 2007). Intersexed Avatar Children Hard to Find. Available at

A study by the Second Life Herald considers members involved in “fetish-oriented ageplay” and groups dedicating to acting out various incestuous, pedophilic, or hermaphroditic sexual fantasies.

Mistral, Pixleen. (March 9, 2007). AgePlay Sex Groups Grow 1% per Week. Available at

An evaluation is made of Linden Lab’s attempted crackdown on certain fetish-related groups.

Moore, Matthew. (February 13, 2009). Rapelay virtual rape game banned by Amazon. Available at

A report on Amazon's banning a virtual rape game that not only simulates the crime but also forces women to have an abortion.

Morris, Steven.
(November 13, 2008). Second Life affair leads to real life divorce. Available at

A correspondent for The Guardian covers the consequences of action for a married couple in the virtual world.

Neva, Prokofy. (July 14, 2007). ‘Broadly Offensive’ Raid in Blister; Lindens Review Teen Anime
Paintings. Available at

Virtual child pornography and Linden Lab’s response are discussed.

Shaw, Gillian. (November 7, 2008). Predators use children’s websites as playgrounds, says group.
Available at

A report for Canwest News Service quotes groups saying online safeguards to protect children have been subverted.

Stewart, Colin. (April 16, 2008). Second Life Needs Kindergarten Lessons. The Orange
County Register. Available at

The article identifies four keys of online conduct which the author finds analogous to kindergarten. The article includes an anecdote about a Cisco Systems employee who was fired but could still access Second Life over the weekend and whose avatar was "running around partly clad, sexually harassing people."

Tennesen, Michael (July 2009). Avatar Acts: Why Online Realities Need Regulation.
Available at

An analysis in Scientific American about legal consequences of acts, including rape.

NOTE: The above document compiled by Michael Bugeja and put into bibliographic format by
Bugeja’s research assistant Sam Berbano, should be cited as follows: “Annotated Bibliography of
Virtual Worlds,” Bugeja & Berbano, April 2009; retrieved [Date/Month/Year] from”