Internet Dating: Staying Safe

Internet dating is now the most popular way among singles of all ages of searching for Mr. or Mrs, Right. Unfortunately, not everyone out there is genuine in their intentions and there have been an alarming number of incidents recently where women have been the victims of sexual assault and even rape by men they have met through online dating sites.

Staying Safe:

It should be stressed here that the majority of internet dates are fun, safe and happy events; many lead to long-term, fulfilling relationships and even marriage, but in the early days it’s wise to be a little wary until you feel totally at ease.

Take the time to get to know someone online and over the phone before you arrange to meet them in person. Don’t allow yourself to be pressured into a date before you feel comfortable, no matter how keen the other person is. Arrange to meet somewhere public and make sure you’re aware of your surroundings at all times while you are on the date. No matter how pleasant and courteous your date seems, remain cautious during your first few meetings and avoid dark, isolated places.

If you are meeting in a bar or going out for a meal, drink alcohol only in moderation and preferably not at all. Keep your drink where you can see it and do not leave it unattended. If you think your drink tastes odd, don’t drink it.

What is Sexual Assault?

If your date becomes over-friendly at any time, you must make it absolutely clear that you are not comfortable with his actions and that you want him to stop immediately.

Any form on unwanted and uninvited sexual contact or attention is generally defined as sexual assault. Inappropriate touching, kissing, harassment, groping and of course rape is included.

Rape is when you are forced to have full sex against your will. This could be with a stranger but is usually perpetrated by someone that you already know or are acquainted with. You can say “no” at any time if things get out of hand and are progressing faster than you intended or want them to.

If you feel frightened or unsafe in any way, make a polite excuse and end the date right away.

Date Rape Drugs:

Date rape drugs are an unpleasant and dangerous modern phenomenon. The drugs render the victim unable to resist; the perpetrator then carries out an attack and later claims that the victim allowed him to have sex with her. The drugs used are so powerful that sometimes the victim has no memory that an assault even took place.

The most commonly used date rape drugs are usually administered in a drink. As these substances have no particularly strong odour or taste, they often go undetected especially if the victim has already been drinking alcohol and is off her guard.

The most commonly used date rape drugs are Rohypnol (also known as Roach, Rophies or R-2), GHB (AKA Cherry Meth, Liquid Ecstasy or Easy Lay) and Ketamine (aka Kit Kat, K-Hole or Special K).

Getting Help:

Many women are reluctant to make an official complaint if they have been sexually assaulted. This could be due to embarrassment, concerns that they will not be believed, or because they fear reprisals from the perpetrator if they report his actions.

If you are assaulted, you must report the crime to the police. Do not blame yourself; always remember that your attacker had no excuse for what he did. If you do nothing and he gets away with it, he may well see this as the green light to assault someone else.

Confide in a friend, family member or your GP and tell them how you feel. Your GP will be able to put you in touch with a counsellor who will talk through your ordeal with you and help you cope with what has happened.

Conclusion:

It should be emphasized that date rape and sexual assault is rare. Enjoy your date but be sensible. Stay safe, and help to make it rarer still.

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