Ah yes, Tinder. The Godfather of app dating. Tinder was first launched in 2012. First popular among college kids it has since expanded in popularity to every living generation with a user base at any given time of 4.3 million. Other dating apps that use the swipe method to match subscribers have since followed suit.
What has also grown exponentially since 2012 is reported cases of sexual violence. Correlation doesn’t always justify causation. Current statistics tell us very little. Even though the FBI’s annual crime report highlights a 20% increase in reported rapes since 2013, the definition of rape used by the FBI to categorize these reports has changed several times and has been split into subcategories. The publicly published data we have now isn’t comparable to previous data which makes investigating the mechanisms perpetrators use to find victims even more difficult.
Our best hope for answers is at the level of local law enforcement. In early 2019, Denver, CO PD released data from the previous year directly linking 53 crimes initiated from dating apps, 18 of which were rape. Unfortunately, I was unable to find previous published data to compare trends so I compared them to the total rapes reported in Denver by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to get some context. In 2018 the total amount of rapes reported in Denver was 546 which means only 3% of those rapes were associated with an unspecified dating app.
This data demonstrates that the bulk of sexual predators aren’t relying on dating apps to carry out crimes. Breathe a little easier ladies, but don’t hold it waiting for Mr. Right. It doesn’t mean there aren’t creeps, jerks, and myriads of men, who never grew up, prancing around in leotards publicly exposing their d*ck root to anyone who will look. This investigation is far from a man bashing sesh though, so I sought to counter my inherent bias of being a straight, elder millennial woman. I even went so far as to interview my matches on Tinder to get a man’s perspective. I asked them four empathetic questions.
1.) What is your perception of women who use Tinder?
2.) Do you consider Tinder only a hook-up App?
3.) Have you experienced fraud or harassment from women on Tinder?
4.) If anything, what would you change to improve Tinder?
In three hours I had 95 matches. I asked all 95 men the same questions. Out of 95, 40 responded, but only 8 of those responses were geared towards answering my questions. The other 32 declined to freely participate.
Out of those eight, five men said they generalized most women on the app to be either superficial and obsessed with money, scam bots, or women looking for instagram followers. Two men said they try not to generalize because it depends on the woman. One man mistook me for a bot, asked me to ‘f*ck’ and when I said no thank you, he apologized furiously explaining that he assumed I was a bot and subsequently unmatched with me. Only one man said he had been harassed and stalked by previous dates. Despite being stalked he said, perhaps to his naïveté, he never felt unsafe. **but between you and me, that gentleman gave my intuition a Ted Bundy sized punch to the gut.** Psychopathy affects 1% of people so to have that feeling after 95 matches seems likely enough to validate said intuitive feeling.
If this were a scientific study the sample group that responded was too small to be of any real significane so I turned my attention to the 32 men who responded, but didn’t freely participate. The majority of the men in this group wanted something physically from me before answering any questions. By physical, they wanted me to agree to a meeting. Some specified they may answer during a date, others said they would answer after said date, and three wanted to forego the questions altogether and just, “f*ck.” All of aforementioned offers I politiely declined.
This concept of wanting something for nothing, or in exchange for answers to a simple survey that could have been leveraged as an excellent ice breaker left me with a harsh realization. It’s a jagged pill to swallow. I can summarize the behavior of the majority of matches I made on Tinder in one word. Entitled.
I used to not believe the consistent reporting of millennial entitlement in the media, however the data doesn’t lie. Those men felt entitled that I owed them something before they were willing to give up anything. It changed my entire thesis going into this investigation. The majority of men on dating apps AREN’T predatory. In fact acting entitled is the antithesis of predatory. It’s actually profoundly lazy.
At the end of the day, one of these 100 matches went so far as to report me and eight hours later my account was banned. I want to add that this entitlement is not exclusive to men. The few men that did respond to my questions all confirmed my findings were also present in the majority of women using the app.
Are millennials and elder genZ’ers really that bad? The unfortunate answer is yes. In conclusion, should you be fearful of encountering a sexual predator on a dating app? Of course. Don’t disregard personal safety, but the real threat lurking on dating apps is trying not to drown in sea of f*cking losers.