In a world where sexual harassment has been declared a “shadow pandemic” by the United Nations and women are forced to change their everyday behaviors in order to protect themselves, it’s easy to see how ghosting can provide a secure and lower risk out for dating app users.
Freedman’s research ultimately found that participants were more likely to choose to “ignore them until they get the picture” due to their concerns of what might happen once the relationship ends.
Earlier this year, online dating giant Tinder declared that women’s safety was at the heart of their app, announcing safety services through which abusive and harmful messages are now automatically detected, with senders asked “Are you sure?” and recipients “Does this bother you?” According to the company, this led to an increase of 50% in people reporting things that they may not like.
Similarly, in 2021, Bumble launched a joint project with the National Domestic Violence Hotline, to highlight all kinds of abuse within relationships — including digital abuse. However, with 37% of dating-app users having reported someone for inappropriate behavior, there is clearly still a very long way to go until women can say no without fear of the repercussions.