'Swiping right’ this weekend, B.I.T.C.H?
*** This is a Protect ‘Be A Real B.I.T.C.H’ (Babe In Total Control Of Herself) broadcast! *** By Corrina (Protect instructor and women's self defence expert)
'Swiping right’ this weekend, B.I.T.C.H?
Good for you! Have a great time! Heads up though ladies, keeping yourself (and your mates) safe, is at the heart of having a great time when you’re out to have fun, so please take a couple of minutes to fuel your B.I.T.C.H engine by checking this out.
Recent high-profile cases in NZ have highlighted once again the darker side of dating apps (Tinder, Bumble etc)...Specifically how some dangerous men use them as a tool.
Don’t worry. We’re not going on some rant about how dating apps are bad and blah blah blah. We’re realists and we live in the real world too, but early recognition is at the heart of women's self defence.
Dating apps are part of the world we live in and are, in most cases, fine. They can be a useful tool! However, unfortunately this tool can be used differently, for different outcomes by different people.
There are many things to discuss from a safety aspect when using apps, or just dating in general, so we will just choose one today; Intuition. This is super important, because though apps can make it easier to meet people, they can put up an initial block to some of intuition’s important messengers.
Intuition is our powerful inner voice, conditioned to scan for danger constantly and warn us using a range of messengers when something seems it could threaten our safety. It is one of the most powerful and important safety tools we possess as women.
Some of the most powerful intuitive warnings are triggered by a person’s physical behaviour and/or voice tonality or voice patterns.
Electronic communication reduces us to only ‘what they are saying’. It robs us of the gifts of how they are saying it and what they are doing while saying it.
There are some very common, obvious and predictable manipulative behaviours which act as early warning signs over electronic media. But we need to learn these to recognise them. The physical (body language, facial expressions, change in voice tone or pitch, eye contact, pauses or hesitations, distance, unwanted or inappropriate contact, and a lot more) are already programmed into our intuition- we learn these instinctively from a young age.
We sub-consciously recognise these things and they send us the messengers of intuition when they need to, when something seems wrong or ‘out of place’.
If our first interaction was face-to-face, for example in a bar (you know, like the ‘old days’) we had the benefit of being able to interpret everything they were doing, saying, and how they are being, in a public and safe(er) environment.
If we felt something was wrong, we had the chance to withdraw from him.
With dating apps, someone can pretend to be whoever they want to be. They can hide their manipulative behaviours. The ways they hide them are signals in themselves, but we need to learn what to look for consciously for that to be useful (we teach these things).
Most men are great guys, but as we all know, not all men are. Some are downright dangerous.
We need to keep our intuitive tools sharp to spot the awesome guys from the ones who mean us harm.
Dangerous men use a wide variety of tactics to gain power and control over another person. These tactics are normally the sole domain of men. Women rarely use them. So, this mainly applies to women or men (or any other gender) who are dating or meeting men.
Often at first, he turns on the multitude of charm tactics. But, charm is simply an ability to act a certain way, not necessarily a trait, and he will use a variety of carefully crafted manipulative tactics to make us feel safe and comfortable. Before we know it, we feel we ‘know’ this person.
We might feel we ‘know’ them enough to meet up with them pretty quickly. Very often that meeting may be for a date, or it may be for sex, or both. Sometimes that means an isolated environment with only the two of you present, which is usually not a good thing for the first meeting.
For many girls and women it will mean an initial meeting at a cafe or pub or other public environment which is a smart thing to do of course. Just keep in mind that by this point in the game, we already have an image of who this person is in our mind, and all he needs to do is keep playing that role and often we will over-ride any intuitive feelings we may now get as we believe the charade.
This means the first ‘real’ interaction we have with this person may be alone and in an isolated place, or in a situation where we are less likely to listen to the warning signs.
Only now our intuition will have a chance to read the full spectrum of information, except now our denial has been additionally fueled with greater power because of ‘confirmation bias’ (the need to only see what we feel makes us feel ‘right’ and justified in our original belief that he was safe) and many other factors.
Then we might choose to have sex with him. Only now, in this vulnerable environment we might meet the real person behind the screen.
If our first interaction was face-to-face and in a public place, we would have had all of the tools available to us to get a good intuitive read on this person, but not with our new-age methods. We have been robbed of some of our tools, so the ones we have left need to be kept sharp and ready to use.
If we do feel danger at the point of the first ‘real’ meeting, not all women will have the tools to know how to escape it now. And rest assured this guy will be ‘upping his game’ considerably at this point, looking to continue the charade and/or gain control.
Add in some alcohol to take the edge off the nerves of the meeting, and our ability to see the signals is further reduced.
This is a high-risk situation and one which hundreds of women will be placed in just today alone in NZ. Most of them will be fine. They will be safe and it will not result in a horror story. At least a few though will be horrible on many different levels.
So what is the answer?
It starts with awareness that this is even a thing.
Like a magician pulling off the most incredible magic trick which will ‘wow’ most of the audience, it will not work on someone who has learned the same trick and how it is done. The trick becomes transparent and obvious.
You are that audience member. And you are dealing with hundreds of magicians on dating apps. Many are genuine people with good intentions, and a few are almost magic in how they hide the fact that they are not.
To be able to see the tricks we need to accept that a trick may be being used. To prepare for something we need to predict it. And to predict it we need to believe it can happen. The more we believe it can happen...The more prepared we will be.
One of our adages here at Protect is:
‘You may know me...But you have no idea who I am’.
Dating apps give dangerous men an effective opportunity to make us feel we ‘know them’.
Remember this: We don’t.
And we’re not even close to being able to until we meet, and in many cases still even then it takes time to see behind the mask, sometimes too late. The early warning signs are so important.
Let’s face it, apps aren’t the problem. Dangerous men are the problem. But the apps help bring those two things together and make it harder for us to see the warning signs early. So, awareness and preparation are important.
Remember, predators don’t look like bad guys. They don’t wear a ‘bad guy’ costume like we see in the movies. Only their behaviours can alert us to their true intentions and to who they really are.
You’ve read this far. You’re awesome. You care about this or you would have stopped reading. Take one extra step and have a think about your safety strategies when using dating apps.
Does someone else always know where you are and who you are meeting? Have you made a ‘check in’ plan with them?
Do you know how the emergency app on your phone works and have you practiced with it? Do you have basic Self-Defence skills? Can you be a real B.I.T.C.H when you need to?
It’s wrong and unfair that we should have to worry about this even being a thing. But it is a thing and always will be. So rather than deny it, let’s deal with it together.
Be a B.I.T.C.H this weekend. You deserve it. And please share this with other B.I.T.C.Hes in your life. We’re all in this together.
Questions on this? Ask away here or over at our Facebook page