Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a HUGE fan of online dating. I’ve met three of my last boyfriends online. Yes, three! Let’s not get into my problem with commitment in this post mmmkay? Until recently, I was never concerned for my safety when it came to online dating. I did all the things everyone tells you to do: Meet in public, tell a friend where you’re going and who you’re meeting, and call said friend when the date was over. I always assumed online dating was safe. Unlike the tales that have been burned into my mind of people getting raped, robbed and assaulted via Craigslist hook-ups, mostly everything I’ve heard about online dating has seemed, well, perfectly cool (except for a few crappy dates of course). I never had a creepy experience until very recently.
I met up with a guy for drinks a few months ago, I wasn’t really into him so we never went on a second date and I didn’t think about him again. Well, just a few weeks ago, I’m watching my local news and whose picture do I see on the screen for being arrested for having child porn on his work computer? THAT GUY! I was shocked and disgusted to say the least. I’m so glad we never went on a second date! It made me question whether or not online dating was as safe as I thought it was.
It turns out, I wasn’t the only one. In light of a horrific lawsuit that was brought on by a woman who was raped by a man she met on Match.com last year, three dating websites are now screening prospective members for histories of sexual assault, violence and identity theft. After reading that lawsuit and other similar suits, I guess it’s about time!
Match, eHarmony, and Spark Networks have all signed an agreement to vet their clients before letting them log on. This way, every client can feel safe and like they’re not going to get stabbed on the walk back to the car. Sounds good.
While I’m surprised that this hasn’t been in order since the start, I honestly didn’t think twice about it when I signed up for my Match account. It’s definitely a costly undertaking — and giant companies can’t be responsible for every aspect of their clientele’s life — but still. We’re talking a matter of safety here. Never mind the fact that the company’s reputation is on the line.
I’m glad these sites are taking steps to make their business more safe now. Hopefully, people will feel safer logging on and keep the sickos away. For me, I’m taking a long hiatus from online dating. Hopefully I won’t meet any more creeps out in the real world.