Situational Awareness For Everyone & Personal Safety Education - SAFESavesLives

First Date Danger

Caution is key when using online dating apps

These days, it’s not considered weird or embarrassing to meet people online. Most young women know how to avoid a dangerous situation but sometimes people may convince us to trust them when they are not trustworthy at all.

Over 50% of Americans feel dating online is safe

Dating apps were fun and exciting for Cara. She was newly single and only wanted attention and someone to hang out with when her friends were busy. She took time to scroll through all of the eligible bachelors in the area. Cara matched with a man who was slightly older than her but not too old. Mike Jameson was thirty-three, enjoyed hiking, and loved to visit rooftop bars on the weekends. Mike looked warm, friendly, and interesting. After a week of surface questions and light jokes, Mike asked Cara to meet him at a coffee shop twenty minutes from her. Cara agreed and was excited to see if he was just as funny and charming in person as he was over the app. This wasn’t the first time Cara met someone offline, so she wasn’t too concerned with safety since they were meeting in a busy space during the day. 

Red flags appear early but are often overlooked or ignored

Cara and Mike continued their conversations through text which made her feel even more comfortable. Mike mentioned that he also contributed to a local park by creating a graffiti piece. Cara loved art, so she agreed. As time got closer to the coffee date, Cara felt nervous but excited as well. She arrived a few minutes early to use the restroom and look at the menu. Cara looked up to see Mike standing by the door, scanning the scene. She put on a warm smile, and he walked towards her with excitement. He reached out to her for a hug. “Wow, you smell great!” Cara gleamed with joy, Mike was so much better looking in person, and they seemed to have a lot in common. They talked about their childhood, politics, and vacation plans. An hour went by, and Mike asked if she wanted to head over to the park to check out his previously mentioned artwork. “We can drink a few beers and explore the park nearby where my artwork is placed.” Cara loved art and readily agreed. 

As they walked to the car, Mike gently wrapped his arm around her shoulders. “I think we might be soulmates. I hope you don’t think it’s too soon for a kiss.” 

Cara laughed and moved in to hug him more. “No, not tonight.” Mike looked away and smiled as he opened the car door and motioned for her to get in.

Mike mentioned that the park wasn’t far from where they met up, so the excitement hadn’t worn off. 

“Nice, I’ve never been there, “Cara said, “but I’ve always wanted to go.” 

Mike shook his head. “Yeah, it’s pretty exclusive.” The two walked around a narrow trail to an open space with park benches and a gazebo with canvas and statues. Cara looked around, mesmerized by the beautiful statues and artwork. 

“This took me about two weeks to complete,” Mike bragged. 

“This is beautiful!” Cara was impressed. 

Mike smiled and pulled her in for a kiss. “It’s just you and me now. Let’s get closer.” 

Cara turned her head. “Not right now. I like you, but tonight’s just a chill night.” 

Mike was persistent and wouldn’t let go. Cara started to panic and asked Mike to stop, but he continued to grope her. Cara fumbled for her keychain alarm to text her friends and family members that she was in trouble. She pressed the button and continued to ask Mike to stop. An ear-piercing alarm went off, and Mike backed up, looking confused. 

“What the hell is that?” 

Cara didn’t answer him; she ran back to the entrance of the park. She nervously grabbed her phone to see her best friend was already calling her. She answered the phone frantically. “Molly, I need you to come get me!” Molly didn’t hesitate. 

“Ok, are you still at the place that you sent me?” 

“Yes, I’m at this secluded park with Mike, and I don’t feel safe.” 

“Ok, I’m on my way,” Molly replied. 

Cara felt relieved but a little embarrassed. She was thankful for that keychain alarm her mom forced her to carry around. She was hopeful that she’d never have to use it again.


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