Remember the simpler times, when Bruce Willis still had hair and mostly appeared in comedies? Back then the most important question in online dating consisted of only three letters – A/S/L. Once that was out of the way, daters were ultimately on their own, using their best judgment and instincts in steering virtual and real relationships in the right direction.
All that could change pretty soon. Quite possibly, clients of dating services will be forced into answering a growing number of uncomfortable questions about their pasts, revealing Social Security information, and exposing other private data just to get into the game. All supposedly in a good cause.
Last year two people met online over at the web-dating giant Match.com. They liked each other enough to agree on a real date. That one also went smoothly and the happy couple moved on to the date number two. And that’s when the proceedings took a turn for macabre. After the date, the man followed the woman home and sexually assaulted her.
Skipping all the details, the victim now sues her attacker, as well as the dating service. She believes that Match.com is responsible for the incident somewhat, as the site does not screen out sex offenders, and, get this, the assaulter appeared to have six prior convictions for sexual battery. The woman, who was first known only as Jane Doe, said she wanted no money from the dating portal. She just wanted it to raise a barrier to prevent similar accidents from happening. This is obviously a very noble and brave move from a strong woman, which can only bring good, right?
But consider this – in April Jane Doe revealed herself as a Hollywood executive Carole Markin, known for authoring two books about bad dates, who also has a reality show in the pipeline. In her own words, Markin considered herself to be ‘savvy about online dating’ and yet she still fell into the trap. Leaving aside all the additional questions this new layer of information raises, the crusade for extra screening no longer seems like a surefire thing. Why? Because the bonus sheltering will only create even more heightened false sense of security – something that got the Harvard grad into trouble in the first place.
Nevertheless, this debacle does raise a serious issue of possible dangers linked with online dating. What happened to this poor woman should not be experienced by anyone, period. Thus the best advice SkaDate Dating Software users can give to their clients is this –
It should be common sense to check on a person before plunging headfirst into a real relationship. Markin herself was able to find out the grim history of her attacker right after he left her house. The info was literally just a few clicks away. Essentially, it does not matter whether you met your potential date on a website with a pre-screening registration or at a church. For all we know, the person might not have a prior bad rap at all, and still be dangerous. Yet, even basic research is bound to produce more clear understanding of what to expect.
Once again, daters’ best friend is their intelligence. As prudent adults we must be wise enough to realize the key risks of meeting strangers online or otherwise. No amount of web protection, or even a balding Bruce Willis double-wielding his trusty guns will be able to save us, unless we’ll take the responsibility seriously ourselves.