What dating apps can do to protect users

By on November 22, 2022 0

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Lily Goldberg is a Columbus native and a graduate of The Ohio State University. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a specialization in health behavior.

If you already have dating apps usedyou know swiping almost feels like a game.

It’s fun to see who you partner with and where these matches can take you. But that’s the problem with dating apps.

We treat them like a game, and with games there are no serious implications involved. However, this assumption is wrong.

I suffered alarming consequences using dating apps on independence day 2020 when I was raped by a man I met on a dating app.

After:What to do if you are being harassed on dating apps

I started showing signs of post-traumatic stress disorder after the assault, my depression got worse and my anxiety escalated.

Unfortunately, I am not alone in my experiences.

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sexual violence, an umbrella term for assault, abuse, harassment, rape, stalking and other abuse is disgustingly common on dating apps, with women and members of the LGBTQ+ community be disproportionately affected.

In a recent study from the Journal of Sex Research, 88.4% of students surveyed had experienced at least one instance of sexual violence on a dating app. The Australian Institute of Criminology found similar results in their study, with three out of four respondents having experienced sexual violence on a dating app.

After:Child Sexual Assault And Abuse Is More Common Than Ohioans Think

These data are alarming.

Even with these startling statistics, there is only one well-known dating platform that has looked into the harmful effects of sexual violence on dating apps. Bumble recently teamed up with Blooman app that provides trauma-informed care to survivors of sexual violence.

When a user experiences sexual violence on Bumble, they can contact the company and get a free access code to use Bloom’s healing resources.

Those who receive the code can take three courses at their own pace:Healing from sexual trauma, “Society, Patriarchy and Sexual Trauma” and “Encounters, Boundaries and Relationships”.

Person looking at another person on a dating app.

These courses allow for maximum flexibility, as they are self-paced and address financial constraints, which can be a significant barrier to receiving any type of mental health treatment.

Unlike Bumble, Match Group (parent company of tinderHinge, Match.com and others) do not offer resources for victims of sexual violence.

Match Group has resources on Tinder as a panic button which can be used if the user feels they are not safe on a date. However, after an incident of sexual violence, Match Group does nothing for the survivor.

In fact, there was testimonials users who haven’t even heard from Tinder after alerting them to a sexual assault.

After:Are you a Tinder or a Bumble type? The clichés of ‘big dating’

The lack of response and inability to address the issue of sexual violence shows how little Match Group cares about the safety of its users.

That’s not to say that Bumble solves the problem perfectly.

In fact, I think all dating apps need to be more innovative in their sexual violence prevention strategies, but at least Bumble is ready to address the problem and aims to help survivors heal. Creating sexual violence prevention strategies will likely take some time, so until then, providing resources to survivors is a step in the right direction.

In the United States, one in six women and one in 33 men have been victims of rape or attempted rape in their lifetime.

Match Group should partner with an organization such as Bloom to make changes to their management of sexual violence.

Addressing sexual violence in the app not only means preventing it, but also dealing with it when it occurs. Without having the resources in place on the app to deal with what will inevitably happen when strangers meet strangers online, it’s dangerous for all users.

Let’s stop ignoring victims of sexual violence and start blaming apps that do nothing to address the intensive issues survivors are facing.

Until Match Group adequately addresses sexual violence on its app, I urge you to use Bumble, an innovative app in providing resources to survivors.

Lily Goldberg is a Columbus native and a graduate of The Ohio State University. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a specialization in health behavior.

Editor’s note: Goldberg did not report his assault.

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