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Then again, they may not be experiencing the same trends.In the US, overall incidents of sexual violence have fallen by 63% since 1993, according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network.Of course, sexual assaults related to online dating may be on the rise just because online dating itself is on the rise.But here’s one telling, albeit only suggestive, comparison: The Pew Research Center found that between 20 the proportion of American adults using dating services tripled.Decisions to meet arise from limited information: A convenient location; a sultry glance captured in pixels; a mutual interest in “banter.” In 2014, Tinder users were spending as long as 90 minutes a day on the site.But fake profiles abound, sexual predators use the sites, and some common online dating behavior—like meeting alone after scant acquaintance, sharing personal information, and using geolocation—puts users at risk.Dating companies are being pushed to better protect users, but some seem reluctant to do more— or even to talk about whether there’s a problem.John Leech thinks the situation is new, and dangerous.
At a matchmaking event he organized in 1998, Rabbi Yaacov Deyo brought along a gragger, the noisemaker Jews use during Purim.
Victims, as well as perpetrators, hide crimes: Only an estimated 17% of all rapes, app-linked or not, are reported to police, the NCA said.
Nevertheless, while app-related assaults were still rare, they were rising fast enough for the NCA to flag the emergence of “a new type of sexual offender.” Usually a man, he’s less likely than other sexual offenders to have committed any kind of crime before, but instead exploits the “ease of access and arm-chair approach” to meeting people that dating sites enable.
Is this scaremongering, or is online dating truly putting users in danger?
The trouble is that statistics on crimes linked to online dating are sparse.
A total of 58 people were victims of online dating-related crimes in those four years, some of them sexual. For context, in 2012 the area had an overall average of 243 sexual assaults and rapes every month.)Many apps offer a page of advice for safe dating.