In a computer-age world, dating has become a bit tricky. Meeting someone through friends or employment can work sometimes. Finding love in a bar or other awkward social setting where you’re thrown into a sea of strangers can be challenging.
Then there’s the world of online dating. Today there are so many dating sites to choose from that it’s nearly impossible to pick one, and many people don’t. They pick several and place their personal details out there for the entire world to see and use to manipulate them. In fact, 40,000,000 adults (single, married, and somewhere in between) use dating sites. Here are some other interesting statistics to bear in mind:
- Ten percent of sex offenders use online dating to meet people
- Approximately 3% of men using online dating are psychopaths
- More than 25% of rapists use online dating sites and apps to find victims
- Internet predators commit over 16,000 abductions, 100 murders and thousands of rapes annually
Despite these frightening statistics, dating sites are raking in the bucks as more users go online every day looking for companionship. Even more startling is that California ranks as the 9th most dangerous state in the country for online dating according to a recent study.
How to stay safe when online dating
Dating when you know someone before embarking on a romance is hard enough. Tying to garner enough information about a complete stranger to know whether they’re legitimately safe to meet is a whole different level of difficulty. You may worry that you’ll risk them finding out that you’ve been digging around, but your safety has to come first.
Ask questions, especially their name
Having a first and last name will allow you to search Google to see whether your date cheerfully volunteers every week at a homeless shelter, or whether your impending love interest enjoys abusing children and animals. At the very least, you should be able to tell whether your date gave you a real name. If not, don’t risk it. He or she is not under cover, or hiding from a crazy ex. He or she is hiding from everyone, and that’s a bad sign.
Speaking of Google
Do a username search with the name they go by on the dating site. A lot of people use the same names for multiple websites, and you’d be surprised at the information that may surface. Additionally, information about former romantic interests may appear and you may not like what you find.
Slow and steady wins the race and keeps you safe
So many people are too comfortable with meeting strangers after just one or two chats on an app. You can tell a lot about someone from having an actual conversation so don’t meet anyone you haven’t spoken with by phone a couple of times. If they’re reluctant to give out their number, or they shrug it off suggesting video chat instead, pay attention. They’re avoiding providing personal contact information for a reason.
Keep it public
Some people seem comfortable with giving out their address. Someone might suggest driving together for convenience, or coming over for a drink before heading out. Don’t do it. Even if nothing happens during your date, your place of safety – your home – is now on your date’s radar. Some people don’t pick up on an uncomfortable feeling about someone else until you’ve spent time together in person. If you pick up on red flags, and possibly picked up someone who intends on committing sexual assault, you have now made it easier for them to make you their victim.
Rape catches every victim off guard. You go out expecting to have an enjoyable night with someone and it ends with you being sexually assaulted. Nobody can predict that and even when you try to safeguard yourself, it’s not a guarantee. If you have become the victim of date rape, you have legal options to hold your attacker responsible.
Taylor & Ring provides zealous legal representation for those suffering from sexual assault. To speak with one of our Los Angeles injury attorneys about standing up against your assailant, schedule your free consultation by calling us at 310-776-6390, or tell us your story by reaching out to us through our contact form. We proudly serve clients all across California.