Safety Precautions While on a Date

Ten Safety Precautions While Dating

 

Part 2: Precautions

10 X 10 Rules for Safer Dating

Dating can determine compatibility, which may ultimately lead to intimacy; preferably consensual. Women who do not want to have sexual relations with their date and wish to avoid date rape will benefit from following ten safety precautions listed below. When properly prepared, you will enjoy safer dating experiences.

As part  two of the 10 X 10 Rules for Safer Dating, these ten precautionary dating techniques can safeguard against sexual assault. These safety tips are listed in order of their probable occurrence in dating situations.

Ten Don’ts of Safe Dating Precautions
1. Don’t compete with other women.
2. Don’t text, talk on or peruse your cell phone when on a date.
3. Don’t disclose too much personal information.
4. Don’t leave your drink unattended.
5. Don’t get drunk while on a date or at a party.
6. Don’t go to an isolated location, especially bedrooms.
7. Don’t rely on pepper spray, other gadgets or weapons for self-defense.
8. Don’t violate your values and ground rules.
9. Don’t have sex before you are ready.
10. Don’t stay in a situation where you feel uncomfortable; it only gets worse.

This section supplements the Ten Do’s While on a Date in Part 1, along with the Ten Preparations Before Dating.

Ten Reactive Safety Tips While on a Date

1. Don’t compete with other women.
Women describe how they compete against other women for attention when they go out. Women can also be the harshest critics of other women’s attire and behavior. Behavioral competition increasing the risk factors of sexual assault may involve attire, drinking, interaction, location, and challenges to one’s values and personal comfort. This first point is more than attire, and the other competitive factors are address later within this page as a date progresses.

Getting ready for a date involves choices. Appearance is a significant part of that same gender competition as many women compete to attract more of what men prefer to see in order to gain attention. To men, women communicate greater sexual availability when they wear skin tight tops, pants, miniskirts, micro-minis, low cut blouses, and display lacy undergarments, or do not wear bras or underwear. Most men appreciate the womanly shape, especially when women partake in competitively revealing appearance, but most men do not commit sexual assault.

The lack of clothing on the female body increases neuro-chemical stimulation in the male brain. Appearance is skin deep aided by what clothes can cover or reveal. Clothing options that are sexually distracting to the average male can place a higher emphasis on physical sexuality rather than getting to know who you are.

Appearance, clothing on or off, is not the reason for assault. But some males correlate less concealing attire women wear with lesser respect. In the criminal mind, opportunistically, they will take from those whom they disrespect or resent.

When dating to get to know someone better, dating safety is enhanced with the understanding that abusive males, especially rapists, have cognitive distortions, impulse control problems,  social irregularities, and resentment toward women that affect their thoughts, perspective, and behavior. Abusive males seek justification for their abusive behavior because they know their behavior is wrong. Revealing clothing is a strong sexual stimuli for men, but for the abusive male, attire can excite their dysfunctional cognitive processing and behavior. Combined with other socially competitive factors that could involve alcohol, drug use, isolation,and other expectations can create greater opportunities for sexual violence.

Other considerations for attire should relate to where you plan to go and what you will be doing, as well as how you plan to get to and from your event. Consider clothing, especially footwear, that you can move freely for personal protection, such as kicking and moving quickly to safety. Attire is a personal choice. Dress in a manner that defines you, not what other women are doing. You have a date interested in you. If he is just sexually interested in you, better to find out sooner than later.

Additional competitive behaviors relate to the other 10 X 10 rules of safe dating include drinking alcohol, avoiding isolation, and bending personal values. To males prone to sexual violence, similar to attire, these behaviors also can signal greater sexual availability or willingness, and are addressed in other safety sections.

Most importantly, BE YOU, when deciding what to wear and what activities you feel comfortable doing while dating.

2. Don’t text, talk on or peruse your phone while on a date.
Technology can sometimes impair personal safety. Generally, during a date, texting and talking on the phone is rude and disrespectful. More importantly, focusing on your smart phone distorts awareness about what is happening around you, your date’s reactions, and especially degrades your intuition for identifying danger or acquaintance rapist behavior. He could become agitated and more resentful toward you.

3. Don’t disclose too much personal information.
Do not reveal personal details and data. Individuals with abusive personalities can be easy people to talk to, and entice women to reveal sensitive and private information that they later use to threaten, manipulate, and control.

They often want to know about your finances and resources to determine whether they can economically leach on you or your family. They may ask about your work location and schedule for unannounced visits, or to spy on you.

Rapists seek to learn about with whom you live and when a roommate or family member is at your residence day or night. They may inquire about what you like to do in order to coordinate being with you coincidentally in an isolated place. More often they may ask for another date when your roommates or family are not home to achieve consensual isolation. Date rapists do not always assault on the first date.

If asked to present identification at a bar or restaurant, make a purchase or gain entrance to an event, be extremely cautious about allowing your new date to view your driver’s license. He may note your address, and unexpectedly arrive at your door, or initiate stalking behavior if you choose not to see him again. Getting a PO Box is usually beneficial when being stalked, but has short-term advantages when beginning to date someone new.

Both of you should ask questions to determine mutual chemistry and compatibility, but be careful about what you ask and share. If you inquire about his residence, finances and routine, he may ask, and expect the same from you.

4. Don’t leave your drink unattended.
Use the restroom or wash your hands before sitting down at a table to order drinks or food. Avoid getting up to use the restroom in the middle of a meal. If you use the restroom, take your beverage with you or order another upon your return. Food can also be dosed with tasteless, odorless drugs, so wait until you have eaten before leaving the table. When at a party or bar do not drink from an unattended beverage (alcohol or other).

5. Don’t’ get drunk while on a date or at a party.
For most women, being drunk will consist of consuming about two to three drinks (beer, glass of wine, and a shot of hard liquor) within a couple hours. Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is dependent on many factors, but cognitive and physical capabilities deteriorate rapidly after just two drinks. Women cannot consume as much alcohol or process the poison as fast as male body can. Thereby, even with the best self-defense training, women are vulnerable to sexual assault.

Usually, the amount of alcohol content in two drinks is enough to put a woman weighing less that 140 pounds over the legal limit that would impair her to operate a motor vehicle safely. Comparably, if she cannot drive without impairment, how can she adequately protect herself? Her ability to cognitively select viable options and physically maneuver are similarly impaired if confronted by an assailant, especially an acquaintance rapist.

Many sexual predators use alcohol as a means to facilitate their assaults or watch for vulnerability in potential prey. The more intoxicated the prey, the easier she becomes to victimize. Drinking more alcohol because others are drinking more increases vulnerability. Additionally, using drugs because others are doing so has been come life threatening.Predators will visit establishments where women are drinking. A date may continue to offer her more to drink.

Stop at two alcoholic drinks. Continuing to drink alcohol or use drugs to “socially keep up” to stay competitive with others increases the dangers of sexual assault.

6. Don’t go to an isolated location, especially bedrooms.
Going to his place or your place is likely to be interpreted as an indication that you want or are willing to have sex. Remain in public venues, and refuse any offer or attempt to relocate to a private place. Going to an isolated location justifies rapists’ cognitive distortions and better enables premeditation and planning to coerce you into having sex (rape), or force you when you object to his sexual aggression. In rape trials, defense attorneys often persuade juries that the victim willingly went to the rapist’s house or isolated location as implied consent to have sex (with him).

Don’t go into bedrooms: his, yours or anyone else’s. Rape occurs in many other locations, but consensual isolation within bedrooms increase sexual expectations. If you do not want to engage in sexual activities stay out of all bedrooms. Women who lie on a bed next to a man sends signals that they’re interested in sexual activity. Sitting on a bed because “there is no other place to sit” means going someplace else to be with him and socialize. Find a neutral place to socialize. Beds are for sleeping or sex; not a place to become acquainted with “friends.”

When attending a social event and you meet someone you would like to get to know better, do not move to an isolated location even if others from the group are doing disappearing together. First, consider your comfort level, and assess the situation, such darkness or barriers where others cannot see what is happening, distance to safety, how many people are around, loud music, alcohol or drugs, and what others are doing.

7. Don’t rely on pepper spray, other gadgets or weapons for self-defense.
Pepper spray, gadgets and weapons may not be in your hand or at your disposal if you are assaulted by your date. Predators pick the time and place to attack. Additionally, stressful situations create anxiety, and loss of fine motor skills making the effective application of a defensive device less accurate. During the stress of an assault, you may forget how to operate the weapon, be physically unable to deploy it properly, or other issues of ineffectiveness.

It is a good indicator that he is someone you should not be dating if your intuition prompts you to hold a device in the ready during the date. Look for ways to end the date and create distance from him. If you are able to get it out when a date gives you the creepy guy feeling, he may be taken away and used against you as you are getting it out or trying to use it. Proper self-defense training can provide you more realistic options for physical personal protection when dating, or in other situations.

8. Don’t violate your values and ground rules.
A warning alarm should sound as an indicator that your date is a potential rapist, intimate batterer or abusive when he pressures you into violating your values, beliefs, or ground rules. As described in pre-date preparations, a date who insists upon breaching your boundaries is not someone who is truly compatible. He may be testing whether you can be manipulated for his selfish gain.

Assess whether you use sex as a method to achieve control and power over men, use sex as a coping mechanism for depression and low self-esteem, addiction, or retaliation. Identify if you utilize “token resistance” by saying “No”, but wanting him to continue, or do you pressure your date into having sex. These are indicators that you have not yet defined your personal boundaries and values as described in more detail in Ten Preparations Before a Date.

9. Don’t have sex before you are ready.
Sexual intimacy changes the dynamics of a relationship. Generally, after having sexual intimacy, most couples cannot return to a casual friendship or professional association. Holding hands, caressing, kissing, and sexual contact advances each phase of courtship. For both partners, these changes result in familiarity and future expectations of intimacy.

If you feel pressured after setting boundaries, it is likely an indicator that the relationship is not right for you. Apply the CERTs Model for healthy sexual relationships as described in Communication For Safer Dating. Safe and consensual sex should be the responsibility of both partners.

A date who displays indifference about engaging in safe sex and using birth control is disrespectful to you. Most acquaintance/date rapists are not concerned about pregnancy. They impulsively and irresponsibly seek short-term sexual encounters. To assess your date’s values, use the statement, “I am not willing to accept the responsibility of a pregnancy.” Carefully listen to his response and watch his reaction. The word “responsibility” is a heavily weighted word within the English language. It is a scary word for people without personal accountability. They often insist that it is someone else’s fault. Lacking a sense of responsibility is an undesirable trait in any prospective mate that demonstrates impulsiveness and selfishness.

When a partner refuses to wear a condom, it may be a warning sign that he does not honor your physical safety and emotional well-being. Though a good safe-sex precaution, using condoms are not absolutely guaranteed to protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), AIDs, and pregnancy, because they can break, tear, leak, or slip off. If you decide to engage in sexual relations, provide a condom and make certain that it has not expired by checking the dates.

Sexuality has enormous influence on self-esteem. Many people will engage in sexual activities they later wish they had not done. Assess whether you are getting peer pressure from others within your social circle to engage in sexual behavior. Keep in mind that friends, associates, and team/group members may brag and put on a façade about their sexual experiences. Some people will influence others to engage in sexual acts that they wish they had not done in order to avoid feeling negatively isolated in their feelings and self-image. What they do is their choice. Social pressure to fit in or compete can lead to unpleasant regrets.

When dating, the important personal identifier is assessing your comfort. Does it feel right and does it feel emotionally, mentally, and physically safe?

10. Don’t stay in a situation where you feel uncomfortable; it only gets worse.
The best indicator of a bad dating relationship is if you intuitively feel uncomfortable. Women often use the term “creepy” to describe uncomfortable male behavior such as:

  • Stands too close, and when you back up he further moves forward.
  • Insistent physical contact, even if gently in a “friendly” context, when you step away he keeps his hand on your back or pulls you closer.
  • Comments on your jewelry while reaching out to touch it.
  • Vague about his own life, intentions, plans, but wants to know a lot about your life and whereabouts.
  • Stares at you too long without saying anything, especially without showing emotion.
  • Tries to change your appearance, or dictate what you eat and drink.
  • Brags about his sexual conquests and performance.
  • A feeling or physical reaction that says, “Something isn’t right with this guy.”

End the date sooner before the situation gets worse. If you feel something is not right, do not wait to find out how the situation will evolve. You are running out of time. A soon to be assailant is setting up the situation for his advantage. Create distance and move to safety immediately!

Understanding the threats involved in dating and practicing safety can replace fears with confidence. A small percentage of males habitually victimize women and the goal is to quickly recognize these individuals. Overall, the 10 X 10 Rules for Safer Dating should assist you in naturally recognizing danger so you can enjoy your experiences meeting new people and finding companionship.

Awareness is an important factor in avoiding assault and a principle of the Five Principles of Self-Defense©. Taking action based on one’s awareness is essential for personal safety. The sense of feeling uncomfortable is the recognition step developed in the four steps to self-defense summarized by the acronym P A R R, developed by Robert Koga, which are Prepare, Anticipate, Recognize, and Respond.

Graduates of the Model Mugging Self-Defense Basic course develop increased confidence to implement these ten dating strategies and ten dating precautions. Model Mugging graduates also develop confidence to be more assertive in applying the Tactics for Safe Dating Communication. Their realistic understanding and physical training give them greater confidence to take action. Combined training enhances awareness and preparation to take more effective action for personal safety.

The 10 X 10 rules for safer dating also include Part 1: Ten Safe Dating Strategies while on a date.

 

Dating Safety also involves the following topics:

Safe Dating Communication
Consensual Isolation
Precautions Before a Date
Acquaintance Rapist Behaviors
Abusive Personality Behaviors
Dating Safety – 10 x 10 Rules for Safe Dating
Safety Strategies While on a Date

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