The past year has shown that even in the 21st Century, the treatment that women receive at the hands of men, particularly men in powerful positions, can be shocking in its nature. The Harvey Weinstein case catalogued an horrific cycle of abusive behaviour by a man who was in a serious position of power, and systematically abused it for a long, long period of time, destroying the life and careers of many young actresses and models in the process. But Weinstein was just the tip of an enormous iceberg that has led right up to the President of the United States himself, accused of paying a porn actress to keep quiet about a tryst that happened whilst married to his current wife Melania.
The stories of abuse and sexual exploitation have led to the rise of the ‘Me Too’ movement, where ordinary women have shared their own stories of abuse that occur every single day in our modern society. These range from inappropriate comments at work, catcalls when out on the street, to sexual assault, abuse and rape. Solidarity has been shown at Awards ceremony’s across the world, and women are finally feeling encouraged to talk about their experiences and, in some cases, to out their abusers.
With all this a major news story, there are implications for those who are currently using online dating sites, particularly adult dating sites which offer no strings sex dating. The highlighting of the ‘me too’ cases has given even more importance to the need to stay safe, and combat sexual harassment and abuse on adult online dating platforms, and while out on dates. But the negative stories do not mean that women should not be able to date in the manner that they choose, forcing women to conform an image where every women wants a date that leads to marriage and children is just another abuse. Consenting adults should make their own choices, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a need to stay safe.
- Be careful with oversharing. When you first go online keep your chat light and general, so avoid giving away details about where you live and work until you have got to know someone and are feeling comfortable with them. You may even choose to not give you real name but to use a user name instead – a much safer option.
- Think about how soon you meet up with someone. You’ve just met online and had a brief chat. He seems really nice, but it is too soon to meet up with someone you’ve only e-known for 10 minutes. Get to know the person a little before you meet in person.
- If you feel that you are receiving messages that are inappropriate, abusive or menacing when using any form of dating site, you need to block and report the user. Do not continue to engage with the user, trust your instincts and remove yourself from the situation. Similarly, if you get an uneasy feeling during your chats, it may be better to trust those instincts and to stop the contact.
- When you do meet up, try and stick to popular, public places where you can see and be seen, and where you could make a quick exit if the date isn’t going how you would like, or if you get that uneasy feeling. Let a friend know where your date is taking place, and use your toilet break to let them know if you move on to a new place, or decide to take it further.
- Make sure you keep your phone with you, and keep it charged. An extra power bank could be a useful addition to your handbag.
- Watch what you drink on your date, and keep your eye on your drink at all times. Being drunk can put you in a range of situations you may not be in control in. Plus., although your date may be wonderful, date rape drugs are a very real threat that should not be ignored.
Ultimately, enjoy your date and whatever it is you want to achieve from it. Follow simple steps and you can open a whole new world of fun and excitement.