Every year on February 14th, people all over the country anticipate the excitement of what love may bring them. For those who have found love already the day is special because it is another day shared with their beloved. However, for others, the wonder of who cupid may find for them on St. Valentine’s Day is a mystery.
First dates are exciting, and can even lead to love; however, you should always take safety precautions – posted below are tips to help keep you safe when dating:
DATING SAFETY TIPS:
- Know who you are meeting! Try to learn everything you can about someone before meeting them in person.
- Background checks and criminal background checks are always beneficial. If they have previous violent offenses in their past, you could be at risk.
- Always drive your own car to the date until you are comfortable with the person. This ensures you have a safe way out.
- Always meet in a populated place and stay in public for the duration of the date. Never go into a secluded place.
- Let your friends or family know where you are going, who are you are going with, and the time you should be home.
- Make sure you keep your cell phone with you, and on, at all times!
- Keep conversation light and fun. Don’t give out personal details that may flag you as vulnerable or easy to target.
- Stay sober. Also, do not accept a drink you didn’t watch the staff make. This will help you avoid any type of unwanted addition to your drink that may be slipped in (i.e. drugs or alcohol).
- If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe at any time during the date or if your date shows any signs of anger, control or wants you to do something you are uncomfortable with, these are all red flags. Know what red flags are and how to get out of a bad situation.
- Never accept a ride home or invite someone over on the first date!
Think you are being “too cautious?” When looking for love, one must be aware of the possibility and know the signs of abuse. Take a look at these dating violence statistics:
- 53 percent of domestic violence victims are abused by a current or former boyfriend or girlfriend.
- Women ages 16 to 24 experience the highest per capita rates of intimate violence.
- In America every 2.5 minutes someone is sexually assaulted. (Rape is the most underreported crime, with an estimated 62 percent of sexual assaults unreported.)
- 60 percent of acquaintance rapes on college campuses occur in casual or steady dating relationships.
- 1,006,970 women and 370,990 men are stalked annually in America. (Stalking includes harassing or threatening behaviors such as following a person, appearing at a person’s home or work, repeated phone calls, repeated text messages, or vandalism. With the increased availability of information on the internet through social media and online dating, cyberstalking is becoming a problem as well.)
With these statistics, it is important that individuals looking for love be aware of the possibilities of danger that can come along with dating. If you are in a dangerous situation call 911 immediately. When seeing someone new always have a safety plan and know the red flags!
If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship please call the Hubbard House 24-hour domestic violence hotline at (904) 354-3114 or (800) 500-1119. Hubbard House can help.
ABOUT HUBBARD HOUSE: Founded as the first domestic violence shelter in Florida in 1976, Hubbard House is a certified, comprehensive domestic violence center providing programs and services to more than 5,000 women, children, and men annually in Duval and Baker counties. While Hubbard House is most known for its emergency shelter, the agency also provides extensive adult and youth outreach services, school-based education, therapeutic childcare, batterers’ intervention programs, court advocacy and volunteer and community education opportunities. Visit www.hubbardhouse.org to learn more.
By Hannah Johnson