Modern romantic relationships and interactions have evolved significantly since the dawn of social media and mobile apps. Online dating apps and platforms have increasingly become viable means for matching up and meeting with new people who may have the potential to become future dates, or even long-term romantic partners.
But with these technologically aided advancements also came new threats and dangers related to sexual harassment and assault. Are dating app users protected against unwelcome advances and other forms of sexual violence from the practically random partners that they meet through these novel platforms?
Here’s what you need to know about reporting sexual assault cases to your online dating platform:
You always have support nearby
The first and perhaps most important thing to know if you were sexually assaulted by a partner that you met on a dating app is that you always have options to report and speak about it.
The trauma of the incident may cause victims to isolate and feel too overwhelmed to speak up, but it’s always important to remember that emotional support is always close at hand. If you are hesitant to talk to friends or family about the incident, you can get in touch with the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network by calling 800-656-HOPE (4673). For LGBTQ, tailored support services are provided by the LGBT National Help Center.
Reporting sexual assault to a dating app
Local law enforcement and medical facilities should be on top of your list when reporting and seeking aid immediately after an incident of sexual violence, particularly rape. It’s also important to get the attention of your local law enforcement if you feel that you are in danger of a repeat incident after the assault.
However, if time has already passed since the incident happened, you can still report the perpetrator to the dating app or platform where you met. This way, the platform can take appropriate actions such as identifying the accused user (and possibly working with law enforcement to pursue necessary legal actions), as well as removing or blocking them from the platform to prevent future attacks on other users.
Be prepared to provide comprehensive information to facilitate action on your report. These may include details such as:
- Your phone number, email address, and other primary contact information
- Your age and/or birthdate
- Your general location, as well as the specific location where the incident happened
- Pertinent details related to the incident
- Your social media or dating app page or profile
- The perpetrator’s username and other identifying information
One complication to anticipate when reporting sexual assault cases to an online dating platform is inconsistency. Some services offer reporting mechanisms available directly on their app or website, while others will require you to submit your report via email. In addition, only Match.com offers a dedicated customer service hotline.
For your guidance, below are the reporting methods in place for today’s most popular dating apps:
- Tinder – Use the in-app “Report” function if you haven’t blocked the user yet. In case you were blocked by the perpetrator, use the “Help and Support” function in your app or submit your report here.
- OkCupid – You can report users on the app, even if their profile is no longer available. Go to “Settings,” select “Help,” and look for “Reporting a profile, photo, or message.” You may also submit a report here.
- Match.com – Contact the customer service hotline, [ai_phone href=”+1.800.926.2824″]800.926.2824[/ai_phone], or report users directly on the app. Your in-app report can be categorized as
“Inappropriate Behavior” when you block the offending user.
- Bumble – Go to the offending user’s profile page and click the “Block and Report” button at the bottom. You can also access “Block and Report” through your conversations with the user. If you have been blocked, send an email to [mail_to email=”firstname.lastname@example.org”]email@example.com[/mail_to] instead.
- Grindr – If you or the perpetrator haven’t blocked each other yet, you can file a report directly on the app. If you’ve been blocked, click on profile to launch “Settings.” From here, you can find “Support,” which will lead you to an option to “Start a Conversation.” You can write your report here or send it via this link.
Work with a dependable sexual assault attorney
Another way for you to regain peace of mind is by seeking assistance from a lawyer who specializes in sexual assault cases. This will be useful especially if you have enough personal information on the perpetrator to pursue legal action.