It’s not known just how common “dating sites” stalking is, but there’s no doubt about its frequent occurrence. I’ve gleaned this through local examples, newspaper articles, singles forums and reviews, and consumer affairs complaint records–which are copious to say the least.
Although some men may see and experience these sites as a way to meet, and not as a place to use or abuse women, others view it as a marketplace, a “hook-up,” a place to score and to score frequently, to scam, to haunt, to rape–and yes, to murder. And many others, as the forums make clear, see females as divas, and “castrating bitches,” charged with choices far exceeding men’s, and who call all the shots in the dating game.
And then there is the online Incels (“involuntary celibate”) group, made up of males, who frustrated by women’s failure to service their romance and “sex needs,” resort to woman hate, violence, and murders as we saw with Elliott Rodgers in Santa Barbara, with the Toronto van attack which killed 10, and in the Santa Fe. Tx. school shooting; but much more commonly, as their posts indicate, stalking women online and off, threatening and intimidating them. They are also known as PUAs or pickup artists who practice their “manipulative craft” online and off through a combo of charm and cruelty.
Inured to coercive tactics learned from online porn, sex videos, video games, and the music industry, all these predatory men assume a kind of gross entitlement to women’s bodies and to women’s lives. Once they get a foot in the door, “no” is irrelevant because consent has been won. The invasion’s success equates to the claim’s success.
Personals sites are hazardous for women because they are the stalker’s prey. Of the billions in profits made by these often exploitative businesses, very little or nothing, is put back into security. Convicted sex offenders, and countless more un-convicted, rove un-screened on many sites. And these men either often run women off these sites with online stalking or, through actual encounters, right out of their own lives.
Add to the riskiness that “personals” are impersonal. They offer a way to meet strangers who, even worse, often live in distant towns and cities.This is a whole new element in the dating game. It means the elimination of the critical role in dating of trust and trustworthiness, which the stalker can use to his full advantage. Unknown in the way of individuals (male profiles are often fabrications) and in the way their community views them, they can operate from a purely anonymous base.
And despite all the gains made by the Second Wave feminist movement, many of these sites enforce female passivity by establishing policies that prompt men to pay memberships that permit non-members to reply for free to their initial message. Which, in turn prompt women to forego costly fees when they can simply wait to be tapped on the shoulders as at a 1950s high school dance.
These date site stalkers are a combo of spy, cop, and criminal. In the early phase, the idea is to fixate their date on romance, humor, and impressive talk; or seduce, and deceive her into a blithe unaware state. But even before the first encounter, and with each subsequent one, the stalker is accumulating every bit of info, every detail about his prey’s private life, anything detectable that will give him the air of omnipresence and an uncanny ability to intimidate, threaten, blackmail, and control her existence.
The cop in him is the guy who tracks her, and monitors her movements; the guy who questions her fibs and excuses, who deprecates her choices in dress and friends. If he cannot get close to her, he must close in on her, cutting her off from the outside world, and from her own life and experiences. He shows up unannounced at her home or apartment, gains access either by a demanding knock or by the key he has obtained by sleight-of-hand. All his contacts with her, most of which occur in private spaces, or by telephone, are arbitrary– search warrants being assumed.
The criminal in him is what he does. Out to revenge the rejection from a lesser human form, breaking the law is of little consequence to him. His game plan is to execute possession through his warped desire. He stalks, he controls, invades, and takes ownership of another life. And in executing it, he lies, harasses, bullies, manipulates, dupes, extorts, and debases his victim.
Her “no,” to him must become a “no” to all men. She blew her chance, and now she must be taken and had. To him, she’s the “b word” of the pornified culture he has absorbed, and colluded with. What he’s committed to and engaged in is a slow rape. He gets off on a power difference which the prolonged act of stalking strokes, eroticizing the violation of her life and space as a male sex act.
From all the women’s accounts I’ve read, experiencing this stalker–if he’s not cut off at first chance, is a living hell. Fear, disruption, dislocation burst into and occupy an otherwise normal life. Lock changes, phone number changes, cell and computer carrier changes, e-mail address changes, address changes, name changes, job changes, bank changes, credit card changes, and appearance changes. These may represent an aggregate, but certain single accounts contain all of the above.
The certain outcome of this enforced anonymity is an exile from self and from friends and relatives. There’s no appeal
to the personals site, no women’s board to report the guy to, discuss the case, compare experiences or strategize solutions. Some women report getting orders of protection, but no matter, she no longer can lead a life because hers has been put on hold. She’s been silenced, invisibilized, and pressed into an underground existence… all of this over one dating meetup initiated by one more cocksure male in an army of such.