Harassment & Abuse on Online Dating Sites

The other day, I wrote about AWOL, the upcoming women’s movement that is a week-long protest against gender bias in dating apps and social media platforms. Today is the first phase of the movement, where women are changing their social media profile photos to the AWOL logo to bring awareness. I am participating in this event, and this post will give a pretty good explanation as to why.

Being on and off dating sites for the past six years of my single life has given me a poor outlook on dating altogether, as I have mainly found it to be a complete waste of time. Spending hours sorting through profiles which may or may not be real or current is exhausting, not to mention the back and forth texting and lack of communication. Discovering the person you’ve been talking to is completely different in person is another downside to online dating. Even worse are the sexual messages received, oftentimes unsolicited dick pics, and overall insulting garbage.

As an experiment, I joined Plenty of Fish for a few reasons: a) I hadn’t been on there in several years; and b) it’s free. While I never actually expected to meet anyone on the site in person, I was open to the chance of possibly meeting a new friend. Given what I experienced, however, I now highly doubt that.

This time, I only have one visible full-body photo of myself fully dressed, not showing any skin whatsoever, my face visible but not that distinguishable. (I wasn’t sure what one photo would elicit, but I have a feeling that no photos at all would still have baited plenty of sharks!) I’d stated specific things in my profile that I knew would disqualify most of the men in my area. That wasn’t done on purpose; it’s all the truth about myself and what I’m looking for, and most simply aren’t on the same page. The messages I will be posting here were received within my first 24 hours of being on POF.

Since my horrible experiences with dating Trump fans takes up half of my blog, I specifically stated “no Trump fans” at the end of my profile, which seemed to have really pissed off some men. The fact that they took the time out to send me rude messages told me they are immature, abusive, control freaks that have no place in my life. The very first message I received from POF was from Ray, who thinks he’s a keeper but isn’t intelligent enough to keep his children off of his main photo. No one asked for his opinion, and the site is for meeting people to date, not to argue politics like people do on Facebook.

Instead of just going about their business and moving along, women get harassed online daily by men like Ray on both dating and social media sites. It’s men like Ray that a lot of women would never give the time of day, and they know it, and they use the opportunity to insult women behind their keyboards in order to boost what little self esteem they have. Ray was reported, but I’m unsure if he still has his account.

I never replied to Ray, however, after a certain amount of messages like these, it becomes hard to ignore. I am not the type of woman to “sit back and take it,” because if I allow them to treat me this way and don’t stand up for myself, it gives them a motive to continue their shitty behavior and do it to more women. I am the type of woman to put someone in their place, so I decided to start replying to these unsolicited messages. This is from another extremely unattractive man:

At least mpc65 understood he was being inappropriate, but there is no excuse to do this in the first place when you’re looking for love (obviously in all the wrong places!) Other inappropriate (and frankly, just weird!) messages when I politely decline men that I have no interest in dating includes being called names, such as a racist, when race has nothing to do with it. This man’s profile stated he was located in the UK (my profile specifically states to be within an hour of my location), so even if I was interested, it would never work. Besides, I got the feeling it was probably a fake profile.

I know I am not the only one that has experienced being called a racist, as SareyTales and several other women have also been called the same thing for not being interested in a man of another race. I recall one of her posts recently from an Asian male that played video games and had interests that most grown women don’t. When she politely declined him, he called her a racist and then went on to continue insulting her. It’s just another frightening way that men often project their insecurities to women online.

In my profile, I state that I have a 3-month rule for dating before having sex, as I know this will weed out any players. Apparently, some men had a real issue with that and sent me some pretty nasty messages. One I appropriately nicknamed the “Russian Asshole,” since he fits the stereotypical type that treats women like second-class citizens sent this barrage of mysogyny. Notice that he gets through the POF messaging system by spacing out the letters when he calls me a bitch.

I felt that Russian Asshole’s messages were extremely demeaning, antagonizing, and downright disturbing. After reporting Russian Asshole on Twitter, his profile magically disappeared from POF. However, I don’t know if that means he was blocked from my profile and still allowed to harass other women.

Even when I am online, my intuition picks up on things that seem shady or weird, even if I can’t pinpoint exactly what it is. This guy was interested, then suddenly thought he was “better” than me when I turned him down.

Even though “Better Than You” Dan has no opinions of me, he thinks he’s better than me with all of his world travel, success and money.

These are just a few of several messages I’ve received from men I’ve turned down – and this was only the first 24 hours! Out of approximately six pages of messages, about 20% of them were like this. To think that 1/5 of the men on dating sites are this awful is pretty discouraging, especially when the apps enable them by allowing these abusive men to keep their profiles and punish the women that report them instead. Women are fed up, and as a result, AWOL has been formed.

How I Lost My Virginity

Seeing the patterns of sexual abuse…

Free the Burden

This is probably going to be somewhat disturbing to some readers, so this is fair warning.

When I was 16, I worked with a guy that went to my school. For about a year he begged me to date him, but I wasn’t interested. Eventually, I gave in to him and he was my “first love” so to speak. He had a car, so we’d sneak off and park in wooded areas or parks to make out and have sex.

One night when I was babysitting he came to the house. We were on the living room floor (the person I was babysitting for was in her room asleep by then) making out. He was acting like an asshole, which was typical of him anyway, but here’s where this gets disturbing… All of the times I thought we were having sex, he wasn’t actually inside of me. I think maybe the…

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Excerpt from Unheard: a Memoir – Chapter 7

Excerpt from Unheard: a Memoir – Chapter 7 – told from a child’s point of view

Marcus makes up lies about everything. At first Mom doesn’t believe him, but he has a way of manipulating and convincing her that the sky is green, even though it’s blue. If she doesn’t believe him, they fight all night. It is a never-ending battle with him.

“See? See? That kid is making us fight again!” he tells her.

When I was eight years old, Marcus accused me of calling him a son of a bitch, which was a lie. He claimed he’d heard me say it when he was in his garbage truck one day when I was on my way to school with Rebekah. Passing him on our bikes and waving, we yelled, “Hi Marcus!”

But he ignored us. Instead, when I got home from school he claimed that one of the guys on the truck heard me call him a son of a bitch. No matter how much I swore that I never said that, and his story changed from one of the guys hearing it to hearing it himself, I was still in trouble. It didn’t matter what the truth was.

The truth was this: I hadn’t called him a son of a bitch at all; I actually called him an asshole, and it was under my breath so that no one could hear me. But I wasn’t about to tell him that.

* * * * *

I walk in from school and go to my room. I notice something on my bed – on my pillow. A gift? I am excited until I realize what it is.

“What is that on my pillow!?” I storm out of my room, down the steps.

I look at Mom.

“What’s on your pillow?” She is clueless.

“There’s a maxi pad on my pillow!” I yell.

Mom thinks it’s a joke, looks at Marcus.

“Did you put a pad on her pillow, Marcus?” Mom asks, puzzled.

“You left it on the bathroom floor. I stepped on it and blood came gushing out,” he lies. “I almost got sick.”

“You’re a liar!” I scream. “A big, disgusting liar! I hate you!”

I storm back to my room. He is the biggest liar I’ve ever known. There is no blood on it at all, but it doesn’t matter what the truth is even if the evidence is in plain view. I don’t think Mom believes him, either, because she knows I am not on my period. But instead of speaking up to him, she tells me not to worry about it.

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Excerpt from Unheard: a Memoir – Chapter 4

Excerpt from Unheard: a Memoir – told from a child’s point of view

I liked visiting Nana, but I didn’t like Grampa because he was grouchy and said weird things and repeated himself. Every time I saw him, his funny white fuzzy hair on top of his head looked like he just woke up. He wore plaid shorts and either a white t-shirt or a button up collared shirt if he were going somewhere, and he always had a glass of beer in his hand. I don’t think he liked kids much, either, because he yelled at me a lot.

“He’s a drunken jerk,” Gramma said.

He wasn’t her real father. She never knew her real father.

On our way back from Nana’s, Gramma took me to visit my Great Aunt Gabby. She owned a neurotic poodle that always jumped up and scratched my legs, barked incessantly, and peed on the floor. She was a very intelligent woman that enjoyed crossword puzzles and playing her piano, but she was always nervous and she seemed to shake a lot. Gramma said Aunt Gabby never left the house after dark because she was afraid of getting raped.

Aunt Gabby seemed very tall compared to Gramma, and she always wore white flat old lady shoes and flowery dresses that looked like nightgowns. I thought she might be pregnant because her belly stuck out even though she was skinny everywhere else.

“Is Aunt Gabby going to have a baby?” I asked Gramma.

Gramma laughed, “Noooo….”

“Why does her belly stick out like that?”

“That’s what happens when you get old.”

I overheard that one time Aunt Gabby had a baby and lost it, and I figured maybe that was why her belly still stuck out. It was lost somewhere in her belly.

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Chapter 1 – Excerpt from Unheard: A Memoir

Excerpt from UNHEARD: A Memoir

As soon as I hear the weight of his body touch the first step, I silently but quickly scamper back to my bed, crawl under the covers, and pretend to be asleep. My heart pounding in my chest like a jackhammer, I pray he doesn’t hear me or open my door. I hear his foot reach the third step from the top, the one that annoyingly creaks when anyone touches it, and my body tenses even more. It is difficult to breathe noiselessly, but by now I am used to trying my best to be unheard.

The split second it takes him to reach the top of the stairs and make his way to the bathroom seems like an eternity. I hear the bathroom door shut and feel a sigh of relief; I can breathe again, at least for a short time. I lay watching the second-hand of my electric clock rotate its face. I listen to the clink of the toilet seat hit the cover, the waterfall of beer-urine hitting the toilet water, and the old pipes sucking it all up when the toilet flushes.

Then I hear the elephant. The elephant, as I call it, is the loud air in the old pipes when the sink or shower water runs to the second floor. The elephant stops, and I tense again, knowing he will be coming back out and wondering if he will go back downstairs. Or will he do what he often does and stand in front of my door listening for me to make a wrong move?

The bathroom door opens so quickly it startles me, and I almost gasp for air loud enough to be heard. I watch for his feet near my door, listening intently to determine where he is going. I don’t think he knows I can feel his negative presence on the other side of my door – nor does he realize that I can see the reflection of his feet on the wooden floor. Although they are mostly unexpected, I am aware of his games, and I am not about to let him beat me. I have to be sure that in order to survive his mind games, I need to be two steps ahead of him.

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What is the Point of Spamming a WordPress Page?

I’m certain I’m not the only blogger that is annoyed with spammers in the comments section of their posts. WordPress does a pretty good job at putting them in the spam folder, but their “blacklist system” doesn’t seem to be doing its job. After not logging in for about two weeks, I had 12 spammers basically saying the same thing about how to improve my website. Today I had another 8 or 9 spammers saying things that didn’t make any sense, and one or two spammers posting nothing but links to junk.

I just don’t get spammers. What is the point? I don’t know of anyone that ever clicks on their sex links, purse and shoe ads, or SEO advertisements. Even if they do, I doubt they’d buy anything. It’s like the junk mail I get in my snail mail box to buy car insurance I already have – goes straight in the trash without any consideration whatsoever.

So can someone answer my question – what is the point of spam? Does it actually work? Do these people actually make money? Or are they just trying to be annoying little bastards?