An unidentified female Hollywood executive and match.com member has joined a number of other female members in filing a civil suit against the dating site. The executive has alleged that she was brutally sexually assaulted by a man she met on Match.com after their second date. She released a statement through her attorney saying, “This horrific ordeal completely blindsided me because I had considered myself savvy about online dating safety.”
This story is a cautionary tale that EVERY WOMAN who meets and connects with men through an online dating site needs to pay attention to. The victim in this story is a mature, professional and apparently responsible and “street smart” woman who ended up alone and defenseless at the hands of a predator. How could this happen? Easily ladies, easily. Date rape is all too common- just ask any female college student at any college or university in America. It often goes unreported, and many of the victims blame themselves for putting themselves in the situation in the first place. Talk about blaming the victim.
Risk is inherent in all dating- like it or not, until you really know a guy, you don’t know him. Even in the more “classic” way of meeting and dating when singles connect through friends, work, neighbors, their church or a social group- bad guys are introduced to women who don’t have a clue about who they really are. Imagine how the odds of meeting a potentially dangerous man go up when you meet virtually. You have no friends, shared institutions or activities in common- you only know what he tells you and how he appears when you finally come face to face. Remember Ted Bundy was in law school, dressed nicely, was attractive and normal looking and often wore a sling to gain sympathy and trap women by getting them to help him to his car.
Expecting Match.com or ANY dating site to guarantee your safety on any dates that may result from using their site is unrealistic. They can’t because no matter how many background checks they do there is a first time for every offender -and as I said before, many women don’t report when they are attacked.
If this lawsuit results in a new way of doing business for these sites that requires these checks and other safety measures- it could result in contributing to a false sense of security- which can get you assaulted and maybe even killed.
The bottom line is that every woman has to be vigilant in safeguarding herself when dating. This requires following some very basic rules about not giving out your address, too much personal information, meeting in a public place the first FEW dates and taking a taxi if necessary in order to not end up parking somewhere you can be ambushed. It also means paying attention to your INSTINCTS. If I were to have a conversation with this victim, I’d ask her if at any point she felt something was off, experienced unease, or just “had a feeling” that she couldn’t quite pinpoint. I would be willing to bet that somewhere in the process of reading his ad, getting and answering that first email, talking on the phone to arrange a date, meeting for the first time, agreeing to a second date- some red flag was thrown. It may have been subtle and something she believed she needed to write off in order to be fair- but I would bet it was there.
Don’t let your guard down. Take as many precautions as you feel you need to. Don’t agree to a second date because you feel pressured or as though you need to give the guy another chance when it doesn’t feel right. In this case, if she had even taken a cab to her second date it may have made a difference. There are never any guarantees in life- you can do everything right and still become a victim. What I am talking about here is decreasing your odds for being one of the 1 in 4 women who will suffer a sexual assault sometime in their lives. Stay safe.