Auckland woman issues online dating caution after rape, assault

Warning: This article discusses rape.

A woman who was strangled and raped on a date seven years ago has finally broken her silence on the ordeal, because she wants to prevent it from happening to others.

The Aucklander in her 50s, who did not want to be identified, says it's critical we educate our young people about how to safely use dating apps and keep themselves safe when meeting people.

She's coming forward to share her story now because she hopes it can save someone's life.

She met a man in 2011 on the dating site He was charming and erudite, and they met half a dozen times before she went for dinner at his rural home.

She brought a bottle of her own wine, but he offered her some from his fridge. He drank from a different bottle.

"We proceeded to have dinner, then the next thing I remember was waking up to being pulled off the couch and my head slamming against the ground while he was pulling my trousers off," she remembers.

"The next time I woke up, I was in bed and he was raping me and strangling me at the same time."

She says she has no doubt that he could have killed her that night.

Terrified that running away would excite the man more, she forced herself to stay put until morning, when she left the house and ceased all contact.

Her doctor urged her to report the attack to the police, which she did.

The police said it was a serious murder attempt and wanted to press charges, but she decided not to pursue it, believing she'd be "ripped to shreds" in a trial and wanting nothing more to do with the man.

"This guy was a psychopath," she says.

"I didn't want him in my life, I didn't want to attract him to do anything that could do harm to my child."

Her child is now a teen, and she's now urging young people to take steps to protect themselves.

For example, only going on a date in a public place, telling someone where you are, using a code word to text someone if you're in trouble, and having the app Find Friends on your phone.

"You buy your own drink, you keep your eye on your own drink; if you go for a dance you put it up high so you can see it - that was where I went wrong," she said.

"I let my guard down, this chap got his bottle of wine out, clearly it was drugged and it was all over."

After the attack, the woman contacted the dating website who took down the man's profile, but she says he was able to make a new one under a new name.

She wants dating sites and apps to be more responsible about verifying users' identities.

"It should carry a drivers licence, and if somebody isnt prepared to put their drivers licence on the table with their photograph, it raises the question - why not?"

And she says when you have a gut feeling that something isn't right, it's OK to say no and to leave.


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