D*ting App Warnings: S*xual Predators Use These Sites As “Hunting Grounds”

D*ting applications have revolutionized how people interact, making it simpler than ever to locate a partner locally and abroad. Today, the greatest options for many singles looking for a date on a Friday night are apps like Tinder or Bumble.

However, worrying new research from Brigham Young University is exposing the negative aspects of online d*ting. Researchers’ findings indicate that violent s*xual predators utilize d*ting apps as “hunting grounds” for defenseless victims.

A nursing team from Brigham Young University examined the medical records of victims of s*xual assault in Utah between 2017 and 2020 finding that 14% of 1,968 documented r*pes by acquaintances occurred during an initial rendezvous planned using a d*ting app.

Sadly, those cases also stood out differently: the attacks were much more violent and it appeared that people with mental problems and other vulnerabilities were particularly targeted. This was the largest study to date on this awkward but crucial feature of contemporary d*ting customs.

According to Julie Valentine, a nursing professor at BYU, “What we observed is troubling.” “We wanted to determine if rapes facilitated through d*ting apps differed from previous acquaintance r*pes because we had noticed a rise in the number of victims reporting being r*ped after meeting someone on a d*ing app. They truly do differ greatly.

Prior studies have shown that those with a mental disorder are already more prone to experience s*xual assault. According to this most recent study, 47 percent of the victims of non-d*ting app acquaintance r*pe acknowledged a mental disorder. The percentage was higher, though, with 60% of those assaulted in a first meeting arranged via an app disclosing a mental disorder.

Dating App Warnings
Dating App Warnings

People can “configure themselves any way they want to in a d*ting app to appeal to vulnerable victims. According to Prof. Valentine, those who suffer from mental diseases like depression may be more vulnerable to predators who, for instance, might lavishly praise them and convince them to meet in person.

Are Certain Users Of Dating Apps Most At Risk?

College students were thought to be more susceptible to an assault made possible by a d*ting app. In comparison to other acquaintance attacks, app-related assaults had almost twice as many male victims.

Dating App Warnings
Dating App Warnings

Once more, r*pes made possible by d*ting apps were remarkably brutal. More people were hurt in these assaults than in other acquaintance r*pes. For instance, breast injuries were present in 25% of these individuals. 33 percent more people claimed to have been choked. Comparatively, strangling was recorded by 22% of victims who did not meet their attackers for the first time using an app.

The authors of the study contend that better methods for users to screen prospective matches or partners ought to be developed by d*ting apps. In the past, d*ting was preceded by some level of screening when people met through common friends, at work or school. That process has been eliminated by d*ting apps, says Prof. Valentine.

Better Safety Is Crucial, But You Don’t Have To Quit Swiping

D*ting apps already provide their users with a written list of “rules for safe dating.” This strategy, according to researchers, is insufficient since it places the responsibility for safety on potential victims. Many victims may come to blame themselves for agreeing to meet because they were coerced by a predator and this self-blame may prevent them from reporting the assault or r*pe.

Dating App Warnings
Dating App Warnings

“D*ting app providers may improve artificial intelligence to identify criminals, impose stronger identification criteria on users, conduct free criminal background checks and interact with other businesses to make sure that perpetrators aren’t merely switching between apps. Additionally, they can enhance how to attack victims can file reports and increase the number of victim support services, suggests Prof. Valentine.

Theoretically, these alterations will soon become a reality, say, researchers. A Utah House bill titled “Online D*ting Safety Requirements” was recently drafted by the BYU team in cooperation with several dating app providers and lawmakers to enhance safety in dating apps.

Angela Romero, a representative, is the bill’s sponsor. The authors of the study are hopeful that the legislation will pass during the ensuing legislative session and would like to see other states follow their lead.

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