Movies like Lust Stories and Boy Next Door might be considered a work of fiction, but have you ever wondered what happens when these horror stories come alive? A youngster who is fascinated with older women experienced it first hand when he swiped right with a lady on a dating app; a week later, she stood in front of his class to his utter dismay, addressing students from the Addition English course.
According to an earlier study, physical threats, theft and sexual harassment are widespread online with nearly 40 per cent adult Internet users saying they’ve faced such attacks. The study says that young women are the most likely targets of some of the more severe forms of online harassment.
Aarya, a student says, “My friend had met a guy on Tinder whom she trusted and gave her address to. Everything went well until one day, when he started demanding money and gifts; she didn’t pay heed to his demands. He started coming to her house and threatening her. That’s when we got involved. My friends and I went to her house when he came next, and warned him to leave her alone if he didn’t want to get into legal trouble. She is still traumatised by the incident.”
Even claims about being careful and safe by conducting background checks, or knowing the person for some time before you trust him are not fool proof.
Shefali, a student says, “I met a guy on a dating app. He was well-educated and chivalrous. After I did a background check, I met him a couple of times before I went over to his house. We did mess around a little but after a point, he started getting aggressive. I asked him to stop. He insisted that this is how he likes it and tried convincing me but I didn’t want to go ahead with it. Things got messy after I left from there. He messaged me on multiple social media sites. After I told him that I never want to meet him again, his girlfriend began texting me, enquiring why it was so. I had to block both eventually.”
The popular assumption that it is only women who are subjected to such harassment falls apart with this incident that Rafeeq, an architect recalls, “Once I swiped right for a girl who would speak about a guy she liked in her office, and all the things that she fantasised about. After talking to her for a month, we decided to meet. The only thing she spoke about was how she wanted to live her fantasies about him through me. My absolute lack of interest didn’t bother her. She was very persistent about getting physical with me. I managed to get out and away from her but she didn’t stop until I completely blocked her.”
Nisha Menzies Rao, a Psychology professor at St Joseph’s college, when asked to comment on why people continue using dating apps despite the risk factors, says, “More often than not we have a tendency to overestimate our abilities. It isn’t so much that we underestimate freaks but we overestimate our ability to handle such a situation.” Nisha is also of the opinion that youngsters today socialise mostly on social media sites. “There is some amount of awkwardness with approaching someone who could potentially reject you, connecting with someone online lowers that inhibition. It allows them to be free and present to you the best version of themselves. Another very important reason could be the thrill factor. Online, there is so much potential with regards to the kind of people you want to meet when compared to the people you are surrounded by.”
* (Names have been changed to protect their identities)...