Law enforcement, as well as a woman who was allegedly victimized by an ex-contestant of “Millionaire Matchmaker,” are asking potential victims to come forward and tell their stories.
According to the alleged victim’s story, she had been communicating with the suspect over a dating website for two months in 2015 before they finally decided to meet up in person. Once they met, the victim allegedly endured physical and sexual assaults and abuse at the hands of the suspect, and was deeply traumatized as a result.
She claims that the severe emotional damage she incurred during her time with the suspect has lead to losing her job, her home, her friends, and has caused her to develop severe social phobias.
The suspect is about to go to trial on charges related to drugging and raping three other women in 2014 and 2015. Those charges include sexual penetration by a foreign object, attempted sodomy by use of force, forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, rape by use of drugs, rape of an unconscious person and administering a drug to commit rape.
This story, and others like it, are an all-too-common occurrence when it comes to online dating. Most people don’t have ill intentions, but others can be quite the opposite. Below are a few precautions you should take into consideration if you ever decide to meet someone in person who you previously met online:
Tip #1: Always meet in a public place. Never, ever go directly to someone’s home, and always meet somewhere in which there will be a lot of other foot traffic. A restaurant, the mall, anywhere that you’ll both be seen and heard. If the person to whom you’re speaking doesn’t want to meet in a public space and instead prefers to meet somewhere private, you may want to rethink meeting with them at all.
Tip #2: Tell someone where you’re going, when you’re leaving, and when you expect to be home. Ensure that your friend or family member also has the contact and identifying info of the person you’re dating (name, phone number, address, etc.). If your plans change mid-date, be sure to update whoever it is you’ve been contacting.
Tip #3: Drive yourself to the date, and drive yourself home. You don’t want to be at anyone else’s mercy as to when you can leave or return home. If you’re getting bad vibes for any reason, you can always leave.
Tip #4: Don’t drink. Alcohol weakens your inhibitions, and you may do things while under the influence of alcohol that you wouldn’t do sober. If you’re meeting someone for the first time, you’ll want to have your wits about you. If things go well on subsequent dates, you can choose whether or not you wish to consume alcohol then.
Above all, the most important thing to remember is that you are in control. You don’t owe your prospective date anything, regardless of whether they’re paying or not. If for whatever reason you feel uncomfortable, you have the right to get up and leave.