Misogynistic harassment is a serious issue for online dating services.Violent threats, hostile outbursts and being blackmailed into sending explicit images, are just some examples of the potential fall-out a woman might face – even for just ignoring or rebuffing a would-be suitor. Finally, people can find people with common interests, no matter how specific they might be. Sure, it is great for you to meet someone who is as into Russian literature, the Wu-Tang Clan and snuggling as you are, but maybe some tastes aren't meant to be satisfied.If you delve a little deeper into the online dating landscape, past your OKCupids and your Match.coms, you'll find a world where people are seeking and finding inmates, sugar daddies, and vampire hunters with the click of a mouse.caused by being so thoroughly ignored by so many women.” A male participant from a study on young adults’ sexting was more unequivocal still, comparing those who send unwanted images with a “flasher in a raincoat”. In the UK, a conviction under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 can lead to a two year prison sentence.
Do senders really hope to woo a potential date with the equipment on display? In a piece from online lifestyle magazine Refinery29, several of those men interviewed who had sent dick pics said they assumed women would want a nude image of them, because they would be more than happy to receive one from a woman.Perhaps they should have taken note of a survey by which concluded receiving “sexts” is a turn off for women who use online dating – presumably because there is something very unsexy about ignoring the requirement to obtain consent first.But to assume that these “misguided” attempts at seduction explain the rise and rise of such cyber-flashing tells only half the story.When it comes to the internet, it seems common sense to think that the physical distance and anonymity the online world provides allows, even encourages, people to do things they wouldn’t normally do “in real life”.If you don’t believe your actions hold any consequences for you, then there is no fear of the social ramifications which might normally keep certain behaviours in check., like, “a guy told me he was looking for a girlfriend by next year so he’d have someone to split rent with.” Then there was the charmer who told his date about the time he “got wasted, peed and mopped it up with his clothes, and then wore them.” Um, yeah., we’d like to assume you know better than to make mistakes like these.The unwanted dick pic appears on this spectrum of behaviour.A hypothesis I’m exploring concerns men’s responses to rejection on dating sites.This disturbing juxtaposition suggests an intended reading of the penis as a weapon, with the ability to hurt or “punish” this woman for her apparent “transgression” by rejecting him.Quite clearly this person meant to frighten and intimidate her.