Contributed by Mr. Wyatt O’Brian Evans
EDITORS NOTE: Mr. O’Brian Evans’s article specifically speaks about Grindr, but this information and tips are relevant for ALL dating/hook-up apps. Please use caution when meeting strangers on-line. Your safety should be your PRIMARY concern.
Ahh, Grindr! That “Portal to Pleasure.”
When it was introduced in March 2009, Grindr was one of the first geosocial apps for homosexual and bi men. It since has become the largest and most popular gay mobile app in the world.
So, for countless gay men, Grindr is their go-to way of reaching out and touching each other. (And I ain’t talkin’ about anything related to the Diana Ross classic, “Reach Out and Touch Somebody’s Hand.” LOL.) The app is a mainstay for “gittin’ yo’ freak on.”
But a dark side has emerged: as a result of Grindr hookups, there has been an alarming increase in the incidences of sexual assault and violence. The following are a few of the more disturbing, glaring examples:
- Houston, Texas. In February of this year, Benjamin Davis, 29, was charged with the capital murder of Victor Najera Betanzos, whom he met on Grindr with the actual intent of robbery. After entering the victim’s apartment, Davis knocked him unconscious and then strangled him. Previously, Davis served two years in prison for choking a family member.
- Lafayette, Louisiana. In March of this year, a federal grand jury indicted Chance Seneca, 19, on hate crime charges with the attempt to kill, two counts of kidnapping, attempted kidnapping, and possession of a firearm. The charges stem from Seneca’s attempted murder of Holden White, also 19, and his targeting of two other males the day before he brutalized White. According to an unsealed affidavit, Seneca referred to Grindr as his “hunting ground.”
- Dallas, Texas. This past June 24, three of four men (all in their twenties) who used Grindr to lure gay men for robbery, carjacking, kidnapping, and hate crimes during a week in December 2017 were sentenced to up to 22 years in prison. The fourth male is scheduled to be sentenced on October 6.
According to Safer-America.com’s “Sexual Assault & Online Dating Apps: What You Can Do to Stay Protected,” Brenda Elazab wrote, “Online-dating-related sexual assault has multiplied over the years. According to Phactual, 1 out of every 10 sex offenders uses online dating to meet other people.”
Elazab added, “A study pulled by Statista portal of statistics and studies also found that 61% of Americans ages 18-29 have used an online dating App within their lifetime, which has nearly tripled in the past decade.”
Therefore, how can a hearty, horny, and (over) heated guy protect himself? Here are THREE basic, easy and REALISTIC tips to help keep your body and other valuables safe from harm.
First and foremost, be aware of the power and influence that sex and drugs can have on your decision-making process. If you don’t, you just might end up in a whole heap of trouble.
Steps to safeguard yourself:
· Vetting Before Meeting.
“Have a conversation before agreeing to meet; preferably, Facetime with him. Pay close attention to verbal and visual cues that could be warning signs that something is not quite right, that something is off. Is he slurring his words? Is he a tad more than ‘eccentric’? See if his app profile is synced to his social media profile. And make sure you get a real phone number!”
· Before the “Main Event.”
“Make sure to give a trusted buddy all of the pertinent details about the encounter—the who, the when, the where, etc. Text/call that buddy just before you enter your hookup’s domain…or right before he saunters into yours. And when the main event’s over, contact that buddy to let him know you’re okay. Food for thought: having a can of pepper spray ain’t a bad idea!”
· Listen to Your Gut.
“Always remember: your instincts can be the most potent weapon in your arsenal! When your gut tells you something ain’t right, you gotta listen! Bottom line: Don’t let your desire to get laid overwhelm and then overrule your instincts.”
REMEMBER: these tips are for all dating/sex apps–not just Grindr!
So Y’all, go on and “git dat freak on!” But do it thoughtfully and carefully. That way, you can live to freak another day.
For over 25 years, Mr. Evans has been a journalist. His work has been featured in print and online media outlets including the Advocate, Huffington Post, Washington Post, Baltimore Gay Life, Bilerico, Washington Blade, and BaltimoreOUTloud. Wyatt is the founder, editor-in-chief, and writer of Wyattevans.com, a leading online news, features, commentary, and entertainment media outlet for the LGBTQ Community and its allies. Nearly 100 countries visit Wyattevans.com regularly.
Wyatt is the author of the groundbreaking “Nothing Can Tear Us Apart”(ethnic, masculine romance) series of novels; Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse, which is domestic violence and abuse within the LGBTQ community, is its overarching theme. “FRENZY!” is the latest installment in the series.
Follow Wyatt on Twitter @MisterWOE and view his podcasts at Wyatt O’Brian Evans, on YOUTUBE.