Date-Safe in the 21st Century
Have a dating partner you met on the Internet? Make sure to know your date — do a quick, free background check by Googling your date’s name, and by making sure your date is not listed as a sex offender. Try to avoid serial Internet daters — they may not be interested in a serious relationship, but are very good at getting dates online! Photos that appear outdated or unchanged are a warning sign.
Have a Safety Plan that includes friends who will bail you out of a bad date, like in the free Circle of 6 iPhone/Android app.
21st Century Stalking
Know about 21st century stalkers. Stalkers may become interested in you just by seeing your picture on Facebook. Stalkers then “scrape” social media information to learn more about you.(e.g. the notorious Girls Around Me application.)
Although Girls Around Me has been pulled from the web, there are plenty of applications taking its place, such as the disturbingly-named “Creepy“. These programs help stalkers learn about you so that they can approach you from an informed position — for example, a stalker may know you recently took a trip to Italy and start a conversation with you about Rome.
“Creepy” and similar software searches your social media for personal pictures, facts, and the geolocation of places that you like to hang out.
Be very careful of devices like shoes that record your jogging routes and software like foursquare that “checks in” when you arrive at your favorite spots — stalkers use this social media information to track you.
Drugs in the 21st Century
We live in an era of designer chemistry. There are now common drugs that can knock you unconscious or groggy and cause you to lose the details of your memory. A victim of these “date rape drugs” may never remember all the details of what really happened, but may remember the pain, horror, and helplessness.
The three most common drugs are Rohypnol, GHB, and Ketamine, also known by nick-names like Ruffies, Liquid Ecstasy, and Black Hole, among many others. The drugs are not uncommon or difficult to buy, particularly for someone who frequents clubs or raves, and can even be made in a “home lab”.
The drugs most commonly come as a white pill or powder, or a liquid, and will dissolve into any drink. The effects will happen suddenly and powerfully and cannot be avoided once you are drugged.
It is important to never leave a drink unattended. Also, never trust someone else to watch your drink, even someone you trust — a stranger might be able to take advantage without your friend noticing.