Introduction to “Staying Safe” Series: Every single person deserves the right to safety and to be free of harm. We, at DOVE Center, believe full heartedly that eradicating domestic abuse and sexual violence starts with holding perpetrators acc\ountable and that prevention-focused topics — like consent and healthly relationships — need to happen at an early age and need to happen often. However, we still live in a world where these issues exist. That’s why we have created this new blog series in hopes of addressing safety considerations in a variety of applications. If you have a safety topic you would like to see addressed in this series, please email your idea to [email protected].
In a world where technology and social media are a part of our everyday lives, it’s inevitable that people sometimes meet online before meeting in person. Online dating can be fun and quite frankly, easier and less awkward. But sometimes online dating can leave the importance of safety on the back burner.
When interacting with someone new online or searching for a significant other using apps, like Tinder, Hinge, Bumble or others, there are steps you can take to feel more safe.
Below are some safety tips to consider when connecting with someone online or meeting someone in person for the first time. These are tips compiled from resources, such as RAINN and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
Tips for meeting online:
- Be wary of suspicious profiles — If someone has no bio, no profile photo and very few posts, it may be a fake account.
- Block or report suspicious users — With personal interaction online, it’s always a possibility that who you’re talking to is misrepresenting themselves. According to RAINN, these are some suspicious behaviors to be aware of:
- Asking for financial assistance
- Claims to be living in the U.S., but is studying or working abroad
- Claims to be recently widowed with children
- Gives vague answers to your questions
- Requests your home or work address
- Is overly complimentary or romantic too early in your communication with them
- Don’t be afraid to block someone who isn’t respecting your digital boundaries — If someone sends you a sexually-explicit message right away without your consent or asks you for sexually-explicit pictures, this is a red flag.
- Do not give out your personal information — Never give out your personal information, including your social security number, address, bank information, etc.
- Trust your gut — If something seems off about the person you’re talking to or you have a bad feeling, trust your instincts!
Tips for meeting in-person for the first time:
- Video chat or FaceTime before meeting in-person — According to RAINN, this is a great way to ensure your match or date is who they claim to be in their profile.
- Tell a trusted friend or family member where you’re going — Before meeting your date in-person, tell someone you trust when and where you’re going. You can even share your location with them once you get there and tell them to check in on you if they haven’t heard back from you by a certain time.
- Meet in a public place — For your first date with this person, avoid meeting them at your house or theirs. By meeting in a public place, you both may feel more comfortable and safe.
- Be in control of your own transportation — By driving yourself to and from the date, you are able to leave if you start to feel unsafe or uncomfortable.
Although these tips are meant to make you feel safe while dating online, abuse and sexual assault still happen. It’s important to know that if you are assaulted, it is not your fault. If you have been assaulted after a date and would like to speak to an advocate or access DOVE Center’s services, please call our 24-Hour Helpline at 435-628-0458.
This blog post outlines only some of the tips you can follow to feel safe when dating online. We, at DOVE, would encourage everyone to do their own research and follow tips that make them feel safe when dating online or meeting someone new.
Written by Communications Manager Markee Pickett