#datingscams | Unsolicited d**k pics, pressure for sex and rape fears


LOOKING as her date’s face twisted in anger as she, once again, turned down his request to go back to his, Jenny Carter’s gut instinct took over.

She pretended to get a text from a relative and ended their meet-up quickly, all the while terrified as she felt so unsafe.

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Jenny Carter opened up about the dark realities of dating during lockdownCredit: Supplied

It is just one of many stories she has about attempting to date during the pandemic, with the 25-year-old customer executive for a law firm from Gillingham, Kent, claiming aggression, unsolicited ‘d**k pics’ and pressure for sex is increasingly prevalent.

This is, perhaps, unsurprising given the stats around dating over the last year. In April 2020, messaging on Tinder had soared 52% globally since the beginning of March.

Other apps followed suit, with the reason people were on them altering too – more and more people wanted to find that special someone after realising what life in lockdown on your own was like.

Since March, two-thirds of people on Hinge said they’d rethought what they were looking for in a partner.

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Jenny said aggression, unsolicited ‘d**k pics’ and pressure for sex is increasingly prevalent in lockdown datingCredit: Supplied

So a hotbed of singles looking to mingle but unable to emerged, with some women noticing a real change in how some men behaved.

Before coronavirus you might get chatting online, agree to meet in a bar or restaurant – with others around – and take it from there.

Not so now, with lockdown walks in quiet parks becoming the norm.

In fact, police recently reported a ‘substantial’ rise in internet dating scams, such as catfishing, money fraud or worse. So-called ‘romance fraud’, where scammers target people for money or personal information, has risen 26% in the last year.

In December, a woman in the West Midlands was punched in the face and stomach then robbed by three men after arranging to meet a date on an app.

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Jenny has met countless men online who insist on meeting in cars or at her placeCredit: Supplied

Charity Safeline, which supports anyone who has been raped or sexually abused, has seen a sixfold increase in reported rapes and sexual assaults on online dates in the past five years – and lockdown has made that worse.

For Jenny, feeling nervous and scared for her safety on dates has almost become the norm.

She has been using online dating apps, including Tinder, Hinge and Plenty of Fish, for around a year, and insists things have changed during that time.

“Before lockdown, I’d meet dates in places I felt totally comfortable with such as restaurants or cafes. But then coronavirus hit and that all changed. During the first lockdown, when the rules relaxed a bit, I decided I would meet guys outside,” she says.

Safeline’s tips to stay safe

  • Check your date out: Do some Google searches, check their social accounts, try and run background checks;
  • Meet in a public space – Choose a busy park or public area. Do not get in the person’s car or go to their house;
  • Don’t let the person pre-order you a drink or coffee – it could be spiked
  • Tell a friend where you are;
  • Take a charged phone;
  • Create a codeword that means ‘help’ that you can text or call a friend with if things are going wrong;
  • Drive to the date separately;
  • Trust your gut – if it feels wrong, terminate the date immediately.

www.safeline.org.uk helpline: 01926 402 498

Jenny went on a few dates going for walks. It seemed safe enough as there were people around.

Then, in October 2020, she met a man online who seemed kind, handsome and polite. She didn’t have a video chat with him but decided to meet face-to-face. 

“We decided to meet by the coast and walk by the beach,” she says. “It was a nice weather day and I knew there’d be plenty of people around so I agreed.

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For Jenny, feeling nervous and scared for her safety on dates has almost become the normCredit: Supplied

“He was friendly, nicely dressed and smiley. I had no bad feelings whatsoever,” she says.

They walked for a while along the beach but then she noticed the date wanted to walk to a less crowded place. “I kept veering us back to where more people were,” she recalls.

“He suddenly said he’d had enough of walking and wanted to just sit and talk.

“He invited me back to his place. He seemed quite insistent, saying he wanted us to just relax and that because bars and cafes were closed, there was nowhere else to go.”

Staying safe while online dating

If dating during lockdown:

  1. Check their profile is verified, or has linked social media accounts. This is a good way to check they are who they say they are.
  2. Don’t cut the small talk. Get to know someone before you meet them. If something feels off, un-match or block.
  3. Why not consider a virtual date first?
  4. Tell a friend. If you do decide to meet, make sure you tell a friend where you are going and when, and agree an exit strategy should you need one.
  5. Meet someone in the daytime or in a well-lit place, with other people around.
  6. If something doesn’t feel right, trust your instincts. End the date.
  7. In an emergency, call 999.

Source: South Yorkshire Police

Jenny knew lockdown rules meant she shouldn’t go to his house – and she was concerned about what might happen if she did.

“I’d never gone to a man’s house I didn’t know on a first date,” she says. “I didn’t think lockdown should change that just because cafes were shut. I said so, but he got more insistent.”

The date kept pushing for her to go to his house and it was clear he was only after one thing.

It’s horrible, they seem so much more aggressive in lockdown. There’s no romance, or taking out or dating. It’s just sex.

Jenny Carter

“His face completely changed and my gut instinct just kicked in,” she says. “I knew I should not go there. I pretended to get a text and said I had to see a relative then left the date.”

She didn’t hear from him again. But since then she’s met countless men online who insist on meeting in cars or at her place. 

“It makes me feel really unsafe,” she says.

If she refuses, men often send her ‘d**k pics’ telling her, she should “enjoy it”.

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If she refuses to go back a man’s house they will often send her ‘d**k pics’Credit: Supplied

“It’s horrible, they seem so much more aggressive in lockdown. There’s no romance, or taking out or dating. It’s just sex,” she says.

Neil Henderson, CEO of the charity Safeline, warns that sexual abuse on online dates is really common – especially now.

“Lockdown means there are fewer safe places to meet and so people are meeting in cars or in people’s houses. At Safeline we are supporting people who have been raped or violently abused on these dates. This has always been the case but the coronavirus crisis has exacerbated it,” he says.

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Jenny said dating in lockdown has no romance and it seems to be all about sexCredit: Supplied

Neil says that because people feel lonely in lockdown, many are seeking contact with others. 

“The trouble with these sites is that anyone can get on them. You don’t know if the person you are meeting has a criminal record, or is on the sex offenders’ register. We are lobbying government and these sites to make it harder for these people to sign up,” he says.

Every single one of Neil’s therapists at Safeline is now dealing with women – and men – who have been raped or sexually assaulted during an online dating app date. 

“It really is very common and is one of the biggest causes of sexual abuse that we come across,” he says. “Not just for women but for men and even children too.”

Angel, 22, a student from London, has also experienced aggressive online dating through the pandemic.

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Angel also had men pushing to meet at their placeCredit: Supplied

She started online dating on Tinder and Bumble just before coronavirus hit. Back then, men were happy to meet in restaurants or bars and date ‘slowly’ and have a few dates before trying anything more. 

Then when lockdown was enforced everything changed. 

“I carried on dating online because I didn’t want to break rules and meet in person, so I did video-dating first and chatting,” she says.

“But men seemed to change. Some men got angry if you refused to meet. I cited lockdown, and the law, as a reason, and a couple got really aggressive, calling me ‘prissy’ ‘prude’ or ‘frigid.’

“Men seemed angrier and more pent up in lockdown and wanting to go faster.”

Angel also had men pushing to meet at their place. 

“One guy said I should come to his place as he was ‘moving soon’ and then it would be too late. He was pressuring me saying we’d never get the chance again if I didn’t go,” she recalls.

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Now Angel has stopped dating for the foreseeable and will restart once Covid is overCredit: Supplied

And, as lockdown progressed, more frustrated men seemed to come out of the woodwork on dating apps.

“I’d chat to guys who seemed nice and really polite. Then on the second chat, one asked me to meet. I refused and he got angry. Then he started messaging insisting I send him naked photos to ‘tide him over’ otherwise he’d ghost me. When I refused, he called me awful abusive names,” she says.

“I’ve had other guys suggesting I meet in their car, in a park and all sorts. It’s scary.’

Now Angel has stopped dating for the foreseeable and will restart once Covid is over and she can meet in safe, well-lit places.

“Men definitely seem more aggressive in the dating game during lockdown. They seem to want to get to sex more urgently and it seems just a place for sex, not meeting a partner. I’m so glad I never met any of these guys or who knows what might have happened?” she says.

Police advise checking a prospective date’s profile is verified, or has social media accounts linked to it, as a first step to ensure they are who they claim to be.

Try to speak to them a lot before meeting in person – a virtual date is always a good idea.

Always meet in a well-lit area and let a friend know where you will be.

Neil adds: “People are often pressured into sending inappropriate photos but this should send alarm bells ringing,” he says.

“But often these people are vulnerable or feeling lonely and can be coerced. If someone is making these sorts of demands, then it’s not the sort of person you should be meeting.”

Previously, women revealed how lockdown has altered their love lives – here’s a guide to dating, 2021-style.

And we spoke to singletons looking for love in isolation to see how the lockdown has put romance back into online dating.

Woman shows off the spreadsheet she made of everyone she’s ever hooked up with





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