Safety While Dating: Exploring Perceptions of Safety While Dating
Whether you are swiping on dating apps or meeting people in person, dating can sometimes be scary. Not only do you have to be cautious with your heart, but you also have to protect yourself while meeting new people.
We all know the best ways to stay safe when meeting someone for the first time, but do people actually follow that advice? In a new study, Security.org asked more than 960 people about their dating concerns, the safety techniques they use while on a date, and how much information they are willing to share when meeting someone new. Here are some of the findings.
With so many people using dating apps to find love, sometimes meeting in person for the first time can be nerve-wracking. There are risks involved with these types of encounters, but how worried are people for their safety?
The study revealed that 82% of the women surveyed thought about their safety while on a date, compared to just 48% of men. The stark contrast between how men and women look at the dangers of dating didn’t end there. Nearly 7 in 10 women were concerned about being sexually assaulted – the issue of most concern to female respondents – compared to less than 1 in 5 men. The biggest fear of more than half of the men surveyed was being scammed (51.8%). Women (46.5%) were also nearly three times as likely as men to worry about being drugged (16.6%).
Men (25.2%) and women (39.9%) agreed that dating a stranger felt like the least safe option. But 1 in 3 women reported feeling unsafe when they met someone online.
Safety Tips and Dating
Research can be the best defense when trying to decide whether to go on a date. Finding pertinent information about the person or finding a safe place to meet for the first time is critical.
The survey showed that no matter who someone chose to go on a date with, women were more likely to research their prospective partner than men. When going on a date with a stranger, women were 23 percentage points more likely to probe into who their date was. Overall, nearly 3 in 4 respondents said they went to their date’s social media profiles.
Some of the top dating safety techniques of those surveyed were picking a public venue for the date (65%), telling someone about the date (62.5%), and providing someone with the location of the date (55%).
The study went even further to reveal that people also researched where their date worked, reduced their alcohol intake during the date, and even researched their date’s criminal history. More than 1 in 3 women also brought a self-defense weapon, such as pepper spray.
But what made people feel safest when meeting new people? Women preferred going on a double or group date (61.6%), avoiding alcohol consumption (60.7%), and picking a public venue (55.8%). Men also avoided consuming alcohol (38.3%) and chose a public place to hold the date (36.1%), but they also felt most comfortable when they told someone where the date would take place (28.2%).
Risky Dating Business
Not everyone has the best intentions. When getting to know someone, the FBI has guidelines people should consider at the beginning of a relationship to protect them from blackmail, extortion, or financial loss due to a scammer posing as a romantic interest.
According to the study, a few things the FBI suggests people should avoid doing is divulging where they currently live, sending sexually suggestive messages or nude photos, and discussing salary or sending money to someone they don’t know.
How many people are taking the risk and giving this information to potential suitors? Men were more likely to divulge where they lived (59%), but women were more likely to communicate with their date offline if the person requested it (35.3%). When it came to sending sexual messages or photos, men were approximately 10 percentage points more likely to do so than women. One in 3 men and 1 in 4 women even believed someone they started dating online tricked or scammed them.
How to Remove Yourself From an Unsafe Date
Nearly 31% of men and 13% of women felt unsafe while on a date but stayed until it finished, according to the study. However, around 6% of respondents called the police on their date because they felt unsafe.
How can you safely remove yourself from an uncomfortable situation? The most popular exit strategies of those surveyed were creating an excuse to leave (71.4%), abruptly leaving (37.7%), and calling a friend so they could meet (27.8%). In more extreme cases, respondents had to order a drink and signal to the bartender that they needed help or a bystander helped (10.3% each).
Taking some of these precautions could not only save someone from a terrible date but could also save a life. There is no shame in ending a date because you feel uncomfortable. Just pay attention to how the person makes you feel and act accordingly.
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