Dating sites are they really worth it

In the US, overall incidents of sexual violence have fallen by 63% since 1993, according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network.

By contrast, the UK’s Office for National Statistics has recorded an increase in sexual assaults since 2012.

All the same, the NCA noted that the incidents had a lot in common.

But fake profiles abound, sexual predators use the sites, and some common online dating behavior—like meeting alone after scant acquaintance, sharing personal information, and using geolocation—puts users at risk.

Dating companies are being pushed to better protect users, but some seem reluctant to do more— or even to talk about whether there’s a problem.

In 2011 began screening US members against a database of known sex offenders, after a woman who said she had been raped brought a class-action lawsuit against the site.

In the UK, Match was also implicated in the case of serial rapist Jason Lawrence, who in 2016 was convicted of raping or assaulting seven women he met on the site, after contacting thousands.

In the US, the FBI collects data about so-called romance fraud and about online “sexploitation,” but data about physical assault linked to dating sites is scant.

The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, conducted by the US government, last collected data in 2011 and will publish an update this year, but doesn’t ask questions about online dating.

The online environment could also lull users into thinking they know someone, and therefore making themselves vulnerable.

To date, much of the research on online dating has been conducted by dating companies themselves.

That’s despite dating advice that stresses the importance of meeting new people in public. A 2016 study of 666 students in Hong Kong found that about half used dating apps, and those who did were twice as likely as non-users to suffer “sexual abuse” of some kind (defined on a scale that included, for example, being coerced into unprotected sex, and rape).

The study didn’t prove that apps led to abuse, the authors wrote, but they found the association “alarming.” They hypothesized that app users might expose themselves more to people who are sexually coercive.

Not all countries in which sites operate have databases such as Match’s, however, and even those that exist tend to have incomplete data.

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