With the ever changing world of technology and dating the introduction of apps like Bumble, Tinder, OkCupid, etc have become the go to for those who want to find love. However, with the ease of these dating apps comes the caution of not knowing who you truly meet or are talking to. This caution is now known as one of the biggest cons of using dating apps, given that individuals can create a profile with pictures and details of their lives that is not theirs, to give the impression they are someone that they are not. On a dating app until you meet in person all you know is the online persona of the individuals you are matching with or swiping right on. With this caution comes studies that have zoned in on the link between dating apps and sexual assault. Results of these studies show that there is a heightened chance for sexual assault to occur during the first in person meeting between individuals who met on a dating app. Another, little known fact when using dating apps is that those who sign up do not have to go through any screening or check process to create their profile (Valentine, et. al 2022).
Personally, I have never used a dating app, other than downloading the apps to have a laugh with my friends. However, I know so many of my friends, peers, and coworkers who do. That is why I wanted to write a blog during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, to shed a light on something that many individuals over look when using these apps. That said, always be careful and pay very close attention when using a dating app, to ensure your safety and the safety of those you care about who may be using them as well. Ways to do this include:
Utilizing online video chatting sites before meeting in person
Choosing to meet in a public place for the first time.
These steps will allow you to either see who you are matching with and speak with them before actually seeing them in person. In addition, being in a public setting ensures there are others around you when meeting up.
Now, I did not write this blog to tell individuals how to run their dating lives by using dating apps or not. I wrote this blog to spread awareness on a side of Sexual Assault Awareness that has become increasingly important as the popularity of online dating also increases.
Valentine, J.L., Miles, L.W., Hamblin, K.M., & Gibbons, A.W. (2022). Dating app facilitated sexual assault: A retrospective review of sexual assault medical forensic examination charts. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, DOI: 10.1177/08862605221130390