I'm sure you have all heard of the murder of Ingrid Lyne, a divorced mother of three in the Seattle area who went missing after a date. Her dismembered body parts were later found in a recycling bin.
When the story first broke, social media was abuzz with folks claiming it was an internet date and how dangerous internet dates are. And as usual, the actual facts of the story finally came out that the murderer was indeed someone she had met on a dating site but they had been dating for 6-8 weeks. While yes, there are some risky behaviors that should be avoided when it comes to the internet but I want to let you all know that a woman could meet her death from someone she met at church or even her high school sweetheart whom she'd been married to for 20 years.
Abusers, killers, and violent people hide in all walks of life. There is no fool-proof method to avoiding violence. You can take every precaution in the world, yet still encounter someone who could snap... or pre-meditate, whatever the case may be. I encountered violence from my ex-husband and I even met him through friends of mine that he went to college with.
My point is... yes, there are warning signs of violent behavior. And... sometimes there just... aren't. Either way, I get really tired of the victim blaming and shaming. A lot of people are quick to blame a female victim of violence, saying she must have seen the signs or maybe he had already done something and she stayed with him. And then, of course, all of the "domestic violence prevention" focuses on what women should do. How about focusing on preventing the men from being violent?! I would really like to know why that is never addressed. Where is the class on telling guys not to batter or rape women?
I digress... (but I'm still angry about it) I have actually found internet dating to sometimes be safer than encountering a random stranger in a bar or supermarket or library. Provided you haven't met the person on Craigslist and agree to meet in his hotel room, I'm willing to bet you're taking a bigger risk there. As a matter of fact, I highly advise against it. No matter what the purpose, always remember safety rule number one - first meetings should always happen in a public place. In fact, dates two and three, you might want to have in public as well until you are really sure of who this guy is. Anyway, at least when a guy has a profile online, you can check out his other social media, provided you get his real name. I suggest trying to get his last name as well before you meet. Then you can Google him 'til your heart's delight!
I actually think it's much easier to vet (make sure they are on the up and up) a date these days. I mean really, have you ever watched the show Catfish on MTV? It's where the hosts come to the rescue to find out who the real person is behind a victim's an online love interest. So with all the resources available, I can't see how anyone even gets to the point where they need to call the dudes at Catfish. Google, reverse phone lookup, image matching, etc. We all have several means in which to fact-check at our fingertips. Use it. As soon as possible. But let's also stop blaming the victims, as I said before murderers come in all shapes and sizes and from all walks of life.