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September 17, 2018 | by  | in Mauri Ora |
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Mauri Ora

How to online date – safely!
I’ve worked for a long time in our local sexual assault service, as a medical forensic examiner. Over the last few years especially, I’ve heard countless stories from patients who have experienced sexual harm as a result of an online dating experience that went wrong. I’m not trying to suggest that everyone who uses Tinder or FindSomeone is either a predator or a “victim”, but I am saying that the cyber world of hook-ups has created a huge opportunity for potential offenders. So don’t let this put you off if swiping right is your thing… but please be careful, and follow these basic steps to protect yourself:
Firstly and probably most importantly, if something doesn’t feel quite right, then it almost always isn’t. If you can’t put your finger on it, but have an uneasy feeling, listen to your gut and bail out.
Secondly, protect your identity at all costs. People can appear however they like online – charming, witty, attractive… the reality may be the polar opposite. Do you really want someone who is actually boring, needy, married, and broke, knowing where you live or work? If the answer is no, then don’t hand over ANY personal details until you have met them and sussed them out face-to-face.
Never meet for the first (or even the second) time at someone’s place. There is safety in being around others. I’d also suggest meeting somewhere a little distance from your “hood”, so they can’t find you again easily if it doesn’t work out.
Don’t drink too much. Alcohol loosens your inhibitions, and you are more likely to make rash decisions. Stick to one or two drinks – if the relationship blossoms, there will be plenty of time to share a bottle or two of wine together.
Make your own way there and home again – on a first date, you want the independence of knowing that you can leave when and how you want to. Don’t accept a lift from your date.
Lastly, and obviously, tell your mates where you are and who you are meeting. Check in with them halfway through the night so they know you are okay.
You would do the same for them I’m sure.

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