Safe Dating

It seems as if everyday we hear about dates gone horribly wrong, and while sometimes these stories have funny or just plain embarrassing outcomes, they can also be far more serious. It is very important to use your head and take the necessary steps to stay safe when going out on a date. Especially with the development of new dating and social networking sites everyday, you don't always know who you might be meeting. While there is nothing wrong with dating someone that you meet online or anywhere else for that matter, there are some dating rules that everyone should follow to ensure their safety.

Often times when we think of dating violence, we think that it must have occurred during a date with someone that was met online or perhaps a blind date, however studies have proven that the majority of dating violence that occurs, happens between people that already know each other. So even if you think you know your date very well, it is still important to use your head and follow the simple dating tips that will keep you safe. Based on whether you know your date, or whether you are meeting them for the first time, there are some different rules that you should follow to ensure your safety. Whether your date is a friend or a stranger you are meeting for the first time, you should always keep in mind the following dating tips:

  • Make sure to tell someone where you are going, and an approximate time that you plan to return

  • If you are attending a first date or blind date, make sure to meet in a public place, and always make sure to have your own transportation, or enough cash to get a cab if you should need one

  • Trust your instincts, if your date is acting strange or makes you nervous, chances are something is off and you should go with your gut and get out of there

  • Never leave your drink unattended or accept a drink from a stranger

  • Drugs and alcohol are likely to cloud your judgment so it is better to only have one drink or none at all

If you are dating someone that you have met online, it is important to follow the above rules. However with online dating, there comes a whole other set of rules that should be followed to ensure your health and safety. Most of the following rules are common sense but some of them you may not have known and they could end up saving your life in the case of a dangerous situation.

  • Never give out your home address, phone number, or even your last name (with all of the technology available these days it is very easy to track someone down with just their name)

  • You should never meet your date anywhere but a public place with lots of people around

  • Always carry a cell phone with you

  • Never go to the house of a person you just met, even if they seem nice

  • If you meet someone on a dating site that seems suspicious you should report them right away

  • Carry pepper spray with you, especially at night

Whether you are dating someone that you know, or someone that you are meeting for the first time, it is important to be aware of your surroundings, and follow the necessary steps to ensure your safety. Unfortunately, no matter how cautious people are, there is still a real possibility that they could end up getting hurt. If you go on a date that turns dangerous, you should immediately contact authorities, and if you are hurt or violated in any way the following resources are available to help you, along with therapy, and counseling.

  • RAINN – Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network offers help, support, and information

  • NCVC – The National Center for Victims of Crime

  • Rape Crisis Center – an organization that provides help and support for victims and families

  • NDVH – The National Domestic Violence Hotline, offers resources in all 50 states

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