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is disappointing." Vancouver police say they've seen an increase in recent years of reports of sexual assault in connection to online dating, but it's hard to say for certain whether that's due to the nature of online dating or simply its increasing popularity.
Marina Adshade is a UBC economist and author who has done extensive research into the perils of modern love.
She says many of the situations identified by the VPD can just as easily happen when people meet through more traditional means.
"There's nothing new about women being scared for their safety," she said.
The survey, carried out by researchers at online wedding planner The Knot, interviewed over 14,000 engaged or recently married men and women to learn about their relationships and how they popped the question.
According to The Knot’s press release, 19 percent of brides said they met their spouse through an online dating site or social media this year; up from 14 percent in 2016.
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What is new, says Mac Dougall, is that dating apps provide a new environment explicitly focused on romantic interactions, which can embolden some people.
"There's a real sense of escalating the conversations to sexual content early in the conversation ...
that wouldn't happen in the physical environment," she said.
"That creates a context where the sexual coercion can escalate to sexual assault easily and quickly." "The men that are doing sexual violence ... They are everyday men that are finding a way to use the more trusting environment." Advice from the VPD included chatting with potential matches before meeting in real life to get a sense of who they are.