Friday, June 09, 2006

Rape and MySpace

In the mid-90's, the internet seemed like a dangerous place, partly because you frequently heard stories about pedophiles meeting children online. People who were interested in meeting anyone through the internet were invariably seen as suspicious. It seemed like that mentality had fizzled out recently: people my age think little of it when two people meet through Facebook or MySpace, and sites like have just about replaced personals ads. Still not the ideal way to meet someone, but not a reason to be ashamed, either.

The stigma over meeting people through the internet seems to be coming back, though, with a series of news stories about the dangers of MySpace and Craigslist. Most recently, a 16-year-old girl actually flew to the Middle East to meet a 25-year-old man she talked to on MySpace. In another story, a woman talked with a man on MySpace and "invited the man to her home," where she was raped. That second one shouldn't be a news story at all; it's no more interesting than any date rape scenario. And just for the record, it's probably not a good idea to invite a complete stranger, who is a heterosexual male, to your home when you're a woman living alone...unless, of course, you've already decided to have sex with him. Is there any real reason to make a distinction between the internet, bars and cafes in terms of safety? Shouldn't you treat any new potential partner with a certain level of suspicion?


Blogger Tonya said...

I think that there is a way in which it is easier for some people to open up to strangers they meet online (rather than strangers they meet face to face). Their written communications can lead to a (possibly false) sense that they've gotten to know the other person or that there is some sort of emotional connection -- and that the stranger can be trusted. I think that's why we hear of so many cases of people doing risky things (like a woman letting a strange man into her home) with people they've met online.

11:22 AM  

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