Things That Matter

Major Investigation Reveals That Most Popular Dating Apps Aren’t Keeping Users Safe From Sex Offenders

A 16-month investigation conducted by Columbia Journalism Investigations found that the Match Group which owns 45 popular dating apps like Tinder, Plenty of Fish, and OK Cupid does not screen for sexual offenders. Match Group does audit users for sex crimes on their namesake property Match.com, but admits that on its free platforms it expects users to police themselves. 

The CJI report found that the policy leaves users vulnerable to sexual assault, and multiple victims have reported rapes because of it. Tinder, the company’s most successful app, has 5.2 million subscribers. Altogether Match Group is worth $1.7 billion in revenue. Many feel the publicly-traded company owes its subscribers more protection. 

Susan Deveau says her Plenty of Fish date raped her. 

When 54-year-old Deveau met Mark Papamechail on Plenty of Fish in 2016, she had no way of knowing he was a three-time convicted rapist. In Massachusetts, he was listed as a dangerous registered sex offender. After going on several dates, Deveau reported to the police that Papamechail raped her. She was the second woman to report Papamechail for rape after meeting him on a dating app. 

According to the app’s terms of use subscribers must “promise” they haven’t committed a felony, sex crime, or violent crime by agreeing to it. Thus the only method of screening is an honor system that assumes any user would actually read through the lengthy agreement. The company does not try to verify or screen for whether users are being honest or not. 

There’s a reason why Match.com screens for registered sex offenders.

Before Match Group bought up its competitors and became publicly traded, it agreed to screen for sex crimes on its flagship property Match.com. When the company expanded it didn’t extend this policy to its catalog of 45 apps. Match.com only agreed to check its users against the government’s sex offender registries after a public complaint from Carole Markin in 2011.

Markin says she was raped by a man she met on the platform on their second date. Afterward, she discovered he was convicted of rape six times. Markin was able to make her lawsuit public having been an entertainment executive herself. Under pressure, Match.com’s lawyers revealed they had begun implementing the screening process that utilized the government registries. Eventually, Markin settled.

A Match Group spokesperson told CJI that the free platforms don’t collect enough data to create a uniform screening policy. 

“There are definitely registered sex offenders on our free products,” the spokesperson said

CJI found at least 157 incidents of sexual assault across dating apps. 

Most of the assaults happened within the last 5 years. Almost all of the victims were women who met their attackers on a Match Group dating app. 

“In 10% of the incidents, dating platforms matched their users with someone who had been accused or convicted of sexual assault at least once, the analysis found. Only a fraction of these cases involved a registered sex offender,” according to the investigation. 

However, what was most notable was that Match.com, which does have a screening policy, had no assault cases. Match Group’s spokesperson said that tens of millions of people use their platform, therefore 157 cases aren’t enough to warrant an overhaul. 

 “[Match Group] takes the safety, security, and well-being of our users very seriously,” the company said in a statement. “A relatively small amount of the tens of millions of people using one of our dating services have fallen victim to criminal activity by predators. We believe any incident of misconduct or criminal behavior is one too many.”

Some employees told CJI they don’t think the company goes far enough to protect users.

According to the investigation, many who worked at Match Group feel the company doesn’t equip or train them to deal with sexual assault complaints. Some said the process also fails to prevent more harm even after an incident has been reported because banned users can easily make new accounts.

“The problem has grown as the popularity of online dating has soared — in 2015, 12% of American adults were on a dating site, compared with 3% in 2008,” according to the report. “In 2016, the UK National Crime Agency reviewed police reports over a five-year period and found online-dating sexual assault had increased as much as 450% — from 33 to 184 cases.” 

CJI surveyed 1,200 women who used a dating app with the last 15 years. A third of the women surveyed said one of their dates sexually assaulted them, half of these women said it was rape. Match Group refused to comment on the questionnaire. 

Only five states have regulations to protect online daters, but those measures largely exist to prevent scams. With little pressure for the industry to change and as more victims come forward the future of online dating remains uncertain.

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Women Are Talking About Why They Settled For Partners They Knew Weren’t “The One”

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Women Are Talking About Why They Settled For Partners They Knew Weren’t “The One”

So often we hear the words “never settle” from our own mamas and father. Never settle. Not on our dreams and hopes, not on our hearts’ most desires. And while, oftentimes, settling isn’t an option for those without certain privileges a recent post on Reddit is highlighting what happens when you DO settle in love. When you settle for someone who isn’t The One.

Like Mary Fiore almost did for Massimo in The Wedding Planner, these women settled on love.

Check out their feelings on it, below.

“Finally ended it just under three years ago, after a decade of on and off. Now living a happy life with someone, who is definitely the one.”- messyaurora

“Similar situation. Spent many years in a meh relationship, on and off. Finally ended it and now I am very much in love in a healthy relationship. Ladies, don’t settle! On the long run is better to change.”- Messageinabottle17

“Decently well. We have some communication issues to work on (as well as emotional maturity on my partner’s side), but otherwise it’s functional and I’m mostly happy.”-GoddessOfPlants

“I’m kinda in your camp. I don’t know if I really fit in this question. Let’s just say… I had doubts. Serious ones. But I also thought he had strong potential to be a really great dude for me and I knew I loved him so I married him 6 months after we met.

3 years in we’re still going strong. We started a business together, got two dogs, went through infertility together, moved into a new house that were in the process of turning into our dream home. He’s really worked on fixing the parts I had doubts about, and we’ve really worked on our communication. I also work on not being so demanding and being better about my admittedly short temper. We still have struggles from time to time but every month gets easier.

He’s kinda like Captain America. He isn’t a perfect husband but he’s a good man, and that makes him work to be the perfect husband and as long as he’s putting in the effort (and I am too!) we’ll make it.”- frostysbox

“I kinda relate. I love my significant other and I know he loves me but we clash and see life in two different ways. He is more down to earth and stays to himself while I may be more likely to be caught in a spontaneous adventure. We do go well together though and coexist well. Sex is far and in between but I have adapted to that. We do show random appreciations, or obviously celebrate birthdays and milestones together but Sometimes we seem more like roommates than lovers- but it isn’t a bad thing. Being friends with your significant other over romantic isn’t the worst thing on the world is it?”-idk_about_this_J

“I will be amicably divorced and officially single on 4/19/21. It’s insane to think I’ll be single again after 13 years. I’ve been living alone for the last year and once I get my second dose in a week or two I will be back on the dating scene (that is scary!)

But overall, I’m so excited to see what comes next!”- EarthtoLaurenne

“Same. I thought my ex-husband was a good person. Turns out he wasn’t. I was finally able to get away 9 years ago. Soon after realizing that I deserve better I did meet someone who I knew I was meant to be with and we have been happy ever since.”-princessducky11

“Same. I never thought he was “the one,” but I would have stayed with him till death do us part had he remained a good, kind, caring person. I think my “one” was an ex from a while back, but I was unwell and he had a drinking problem. Perhaps I will meet another one in the future or perhaps I will find a man who stays good.”- DeSterrennacht

“This is what I’m trying to do. We have a cat that I absolutely adore and mostly care for and I’m terrified that I might have to leave her with him, which is honestly one of the main reasons I haven’t been able to move forward with this.”-Selthien

“It became clear after 8 months in that he never wanted a relationship, just a girlfriend as a sign of successful “adulting” and to not show up at family functions alone anymore. All the time, I was completely committed to the relationship even though I knew he wasn’t the one from the get-go.

My saving grace was that I found my dream job roughly 2 hours away from where we lived (we lived in the same town, just not together). I was eager to move away and finally pull the plug. I still would have broken up with him anyway, but I was glad to be moving far (enough) away.

Two weeks before I officially ended it, he told me that if one of his friends was dating someone like me, he would tell him to run and never look back. So I quoted this in the breakup and asked him what exactly he thought would happen? If he felt that I would want to stay after being told something like this? He said, and I kid you not, that he thought that by saying this to me that I would try to be a better girlfriend 

The audacity.

Edit: he was otherwise a decent guy, but he wasn’t honest with himself. He does not want to make the effort to build and maintain a relationship. My interactions with his family especially made me realise that there was some pressure or expectation for him to be in a relationship and have children. But I never got the idea that this was what he wanted for himself.”- Watto_007

“My dad married my mom for the same reason – he was insecure and just wanted to show off to the world that he could “score” a smart and beautiful woman. After they got married and had three kids together, my dad became increasingly controlling and abusive until my parents got divorced 15 years later. The deadbolt on my mom’s bedroom door is still there today and reminds me of the terrifying nights when he’d pick the lock and beat and rape her in her room. You dodged a huge bullet, friend. I’m glad you saw the red flags early enough.”- TheYellowBuhnana

“Don’t get me wrong, my SO and I definitely make fun of each other, but we would never make fun of each other for being a bad partner. That’s a serious disrespect and boundary issue, I’m glad you got out and found someone hopefully who treats you the respect.”-alilminizen

“Fairly well, ups and downs for six years now. He works long hours and I love spending time on my own! It’s harder when we have his kids as I have no desire to be a mother, but I’m better at organizing than him, so take on a child minder role anyway. Hoping for the world to open up soon, as one of the things we enjoy is a romantic get-away. I love him, but I’m not in love with him. But that’s enough for me, as he is one of three men I have ever been interested in. I don’t(and have never) get crushes. I think I’m a bit asexual. Oh and even greater now as we found a rental house instead of a flat and I have gotten cats!!!”-SunshinePipper

“Married for 28 years! We have had our ups and downs, but to be honest he was the one, I just didn’t know it at the time. Sometimes “the one” is an ideal based on youthful priorities, but with maturity, you realize some of those qualities aren’t as important anymore. My husband is my best friend, but whether you marry “the one” or someone else, a good relationship requires hard work and give and take. We have been through many events together, and we grew closer as a result. We are a team!”- LoopyLadyCA

“Something my therapist said to me a while ago completely changed my perspective on my current partnership: “usually what makes a relationship exciting and dramatic is not what makes a good long term partner, those are the tradeoffs.” A lightbulb went off in my head, and that put to rest so many of the lingering demons I had about whether my partner and I were good matches for each other.. or if he was my “one.” Now that I’ve let those obsessions go, our relationship is so much better. I’m so, so happy.”-wabisabister

“I don’t like the idea of “the one”. When I met my ex, our eyes literally met across a crowded room, it felt like he had a spotlight on him, and the world stopped still and moved at the same time. I knew I had met “the one” I was going to marry.

Turns out my gut feeling is a pretty bad judge. We lasted a couple years, mostly because I was so hung up on not losing the one. He isn’t even a bad dude, just not somebody with my life goals, my sense of humor or anything that would be compatible with me.

When I met my fiancé in grad school I didn’t even notice him until we had to do a project together. Now I couldn’t wish for a better partner, I’m so much in love with him and so excited to go through life together.”- AlternativeCover3379

“It went bad. Staying in a relationship like that for me felt like giving up a piece of me. It’s mature to compromise yes, but do it for the rights reasons with the right person for you. If your truth is to feel safe, if that’s the most important always, then go for it. I personally felt a void, something missing..I felt ultimately lonely and we broke up.”- tinaple

“Hmm to offer a different perspective — my partner (of a little over a year) recently told me that he doesn’t feel intensely in love with me/sexually infatuated with me, and hasn’t since after about a month into the relationship (which is when we began cohabitation, thanks covid). But he does love me, very much, and of that I have absolutely no doubt.

We are definitely best friends, have no shortage of emotional and intellectual intimacy, go on countless adventures together. We both really think our partnership is awesome and want to build lives together. Which means we are having a lot of tricky conversations about what this (intense romantic/sexual attraction imbalance) means for us.

Practically, we are monogamous (each has gone on a date or two since meeting) but are more philosophically aligned with ethical nonmonogamy.

This has spurred on a lot of conversations about “the one”. For people struggling with this, I really recommend the book “Designer Relationships”. Even if you’re monogamous, it’s a hugely helpful book (& short! Like 120 pages) for reflecting on your various relationships.

A takeaway is that the invention of the romantic ideal as our life partner is a fairly new one, like as recent as the last century. Prior to this, marriage and life partnership was often based around a “shared goal or project” and romantic fulfillment was sought beyond the relationship (helloooo affairs).

There’s another really good book on the conflict between the domestic and the erotic, called “Mating in Captivity” and it proposes that often times familiarity can cause difficulties in erotic spaces in the relationship and that maintaining a strong sense of independence allows you to maintain erotic energy.

Anyhow, we are both in therapy but have a lot of working theories about the imbalance. Part of it is due to me being attracted to what I can’t have (I could always tell he was a little less sexually thrilled by me, we’ve had some difficulty where he wants sex every couple weeks and I could go every other day, it’s not due to a low libido on his part hahah), part of it is the guilt he put on himself for not being “as in love with me”, part of it is that we spent every freaking minute together since this pandemic started and while familiarity and platonic love breeds sexual desire in me, he likes distance in his erotic relationships.

But honestly, I’ve never grown so much from a relationship. We continue to amaze each other with our ability to navigate this. I’ve cried a good bit, because yeah, it hurts, but our conversations always end with each of us feeling more emotionally intimate and empathized with.

Seeing all of these comments, I’m really wary of people believing they need to find “the one”. No relationship is perfect and takes absolutely no work, and oftentimes, you can cultivate a relationship that is fulfilling and adds a richness to life for both parties. The expectations we put on finding a life partner are honestly ridiculous and downright damaging.”-toomanyblankspaces

“I was convinced the one was going to give me butterflies and be overwhelmed by my presence, when I met my current partner none of those things were true. I kept questioning it being like somethings wrong I don’t know if he’s the one. We’ve been together for a while and I’m glad I didn’t listen to those shreds out doubt. Butterflies are overrated, my partner shows up for me everyday and we have built a really strong and solid foundation. He isn’t overwhelmed by my presence, and turns out it’s a good thing. He pushes me to be a better person everyday and is willing to push himself to be better too. He’s completely changed my understanding of what love is and is supposed to be. I never grew up with a good role model and took my understanding of love from mass media. Turns out that mass media love isn’t real for a reason. I’m incredibly happy with my partner now even though there were times in the beginning where I really thought he wasn’t the one. I’m not saying stick with people you aren’t right for, but that definitions of love change as you get older. And passionate flame sparking loves with no foundation don’t last for a reason.”- killerwheelie

“You are so right with the statement it’s “easy after every issue to think I knew I never should have stayed with him”. There’s something in our brains I think as humans that really makes us goto to that negative area ABOUT US. Like, your husband does something to hurt the relationship intentionally, or unintentionally, and your first thought is to be mad at yourself because you didn’t leave X amount of time ago? Why do our brains do that?!

This is something that my husband pointed out to me was a really unhealthy way that I think. Its not only hurting the relationship because it if we voice that, it seems like we’re always one foot out the door…. but it’s beating me up AND letting him off the hook for any responsibility in the matter, when it should be us against the issue.

It’s been a struggle to recondition my brain to stop thinking like that, and I’ll admit I still struggle especially during big issues (we struggle from libido mismatch as well! I’m so sorry and feel your pain!!) but I’ve got to tell you, working on that has been one of the single biggest improvements on my side for my self worth, our relationship, and well being.”-frostysbox

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NFL Lineman Justin Herron Saved A 71-Year-Old Woman Who Was Being Sexually Assaulted

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NFL Lineman Justin Herron Saved A 71-Year-Old Woman Who Was Being Sexually Assaulted

Fans of the New England Patriots offensive lineman Justin Herron know by now that he’s got a thing for being in the right place at the right time. After all, his career relies on it.

Still, most likely didn’t know that the 25-year-old football player has a hero’s spirit as well.

This week, the lineman was honored by an Arizona police department for his role in saving a 71-year-old woman from being sexually assaulted.

On March 21 a 71-year-old woman was taking her daily stroll in Kiwanis Park in Tempe, Arizona when a 30-year-old man attacked her. The man, now identified as s Kevin Caballero, threw the woman to the ground in the park and attempted to remove her pants.

Herron and a Phoenix resident, identified as Murry Rogers, were present during the assault attempt and intervened.

“It was a crazy experience,” Herron stated during a news conference on Wednesday, according to NBC affiliate KPNX. “It was something that I never dreamed that I thought I would see. You see it in movies and TV all the time but you never think it’s gonna happen in real life until it does. In that moment, I was in shock. It was 11, it was in the middle of the day, not one cloud in the sky, and in a very open field, and the fact that it happened there at that time was very shocking.”

At the time of the incident, Herron was working out by the lake and Rogers was getting ready for a birthday party in the park for his 15-year-old daughter.

“I’m a football player, I’m kind of big,” Herron who is Herron, who is 6-foot-5 and 305 pounds, stated during the news conference. “I try not to be too aggressive with people knowing I could potentially hurt somebody. I do have a loud voice. I yelled, told him to get off of her, and then yanked him off and I told him to sit down and I told him to wait until the cops come.”

For their actions, Herron and Rogers were presented with Outstanding Service Awards by the Tempe Police Department.

“These two individuals stepped forward and really, truly saved her life,” Tempe police chief Jeff Glover stated during the ceremony.

According to the Today Show, “Herron has been in Arizona for offseason training ahead of his second season with the Patriots. The team’s sixth-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft out of Wake Forest University said he was just reacting when he saw the woman being attacked.”

“And in the moment, I wish I could tell you what I was thinking, but I just knew that someone needed help,” Herron said. “… All I could do was just rush myself over there and make sure and help the victim, and make sure that I comfort her and be the best person I can be.”

Herron and Rogers were able to meet with the woman who has yet to be identified.

“Over the past several days, I have thought about her and pictured her face, so it was really nice moment, and I’m really glad I got to meet her,” Rogers said during the ceremony.

“My parents always talked to me about it, if there’s someone in need, make sure you can help them and be the best you can be,” Herron added. “I don’t want this to happen again, I don’t want to have to save someone else’s life again, but I’m glad I was able to save someone’s life on Saturday.”

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