“If the person you're talking with continues to press you for more or can't seem to accept your answer, then you are being harassed. I know that sounds hard for people-pleasers to accept, but it's true. No means no.” ― Suzette Hinton link
Do women *owe* men a date?
Recently there was an interesting and short debate on Twitter.
I happen to agree with Rachael Starke. A woman does not owe a man a date any more than a man owes a woman a date. If one is not attracted to the individual or sees *red flags* it is perfectly appropriate to say "No thank you" and move on. Going on a date with someone that makes you feel uncomfortable is potentially dangerous. Always trust you instincts. The following is a story about one woman who wisely trusted her instincts.
How Linda Met Joe
Linda is a very bright, well-spoken college professor in her early 50s. She became a Christian when she was 23. Besides earning her advanced degrees, Linda also hoped to marry a Christian and have a family. Linda is also a Christian egalitarian and found TWW through Christians for Biblical Equality. She has a passion for children and has been a long time foster mother. Then 11 years ago, she became the foster parent to a wonderful baby boy. When he turned 4 years old, he became available for adoption and Linda became his mom. My married daughter and her husband have just finished a foster training course and will begin to host children next month. We had much to talk about.
Linda stressed that she wanted to share her story so that other people wouldn't have to experience the same sort of troubling interaction she had at ChristianMingle. One observation Linda made at the start of our conversation is that she has met a number of passionate, domineering and outspoken complementarian/patriarchal men at many of these sites. She says they also tend to dominate the conversations in some of the single Christian chat rooms.
So, trusting in the safety promises of ChristianMingle, Linda paid her membership, posted her profile, and met Joe.
ChristianMingle's stated safety policies.
The following safety statements are taken directly from the website's safety section. I highlighted some pertinent sections.
Our Commitment to Your Safety
ChristianMingle.com is the leading online community for Christian singles to connect. We care deeply about our members. In fact, your safety and security is our top priority. Because of this, we take precautions to enhance the safety and privacy of our community members by:
Implementing several proprietary, automated tools to identify questionable profiles
Working to eliminate fraudulent activity in our communities
Having profile-review experts manually review all profile text and photos submitted by members
Yet, when it comes to online dating, singles should apply the same standard dating precautions they would if meeting someone through friends, the workplace, or at a bar. The main thing to remember? Trust your instincts and use common sense!
Use Christian Mingle for Anonymity
Keep your communication with new Christian Mingle matches on the site! By using Christian Mingle's communication tools (such as email, IM and the message boards), you can protect your anonymity as long as you'd like, and control the pace of the relationship until you're comfortable with the next step. This way, we can also help to keep you safe by continuing to monitor all members for suspicious activity. Rest assured, if someone is harassing other members, or asking for money and the activity is reported, we can catch the activity while it's still on our site and remove the profile in question. Remember — once you start communicating outside of Christian Mingle, our team is limited in the measures we can take to help you.
No Is No
Stay away from members who won't take no for an answer, or pressure you for any kind of personal Information.
The problem with the ChristianMingle system.
I have contacted Christian Mingle for a statement but I have not heard back from them. I will post any response that I get.
I am not at liberty to share Linda's area of expertise. However, it would not be wrong to say that she understands information systems way better than the average person. I, however, understand this stuff way less than the average person. So, I am going to try to explain this issue as best as I can. However, I can assure you that Linda knows her way around this stuff.
- If Person A wants to block further contact from Person B, they block Person B's profile. However, If Person A is the first to block Person B, Person B cannot block person A's profile since they can no longer see it. Person A can temporarily unblock their profile, send a message to Person B and then block their profile again. Therefore, Person B can keep getting unwanted messages from Person A. Joe was Person A and Linda was Person B.
- Person B could then block Person A's screen name. However, Person A could keep changing their screen name and still have access to Person B
(I beg Linda's forgiveness for my totally inept explanation of this stuff.)
Their correspondence on ChristianMingle
The only message from Linda in this correspondence is the second one.(#2). She did not keep responding to Joe. The last message is from ChristianMingle. Read Joe's messages and ask yourself:
- Do you think Linda *owes* him the courtesy of a date, ala Collin Hansen, Editorial Director of The Gospel Coalition? (See Tweets at beginning of post.)
- Do you think that Joe sounds stable?
The first message is from Joe to Linda. It got a bit chopped off because i was removing identifiers. (Joe better thank me…)
It appears that ChristianMingle did not help protect Linda from Joe's harassment.
Let's review the following statement from the safety policy.
Rest assured, if someone is harassing other members, or asking for money and the activity is reported, we can catch the activity while it's still on our site and remove the profile in question.
Linda corresponded with the staff from Christian Mingle. Since she was continuing to receive messages from Joe, she questioned their message in which said they took action. They wouldn't tell what action they took except to make sure he was blocked from her list. This was useless since Joe seemed to get around the blocks. Linda requested that she be removed from ChristianMingle and have her money refunded. They reportedly refused to do so.
So Linda left ChristianMingle. But, I guess Joe is still out there,hanging around ChristianMingle and waiting to pounce on the next woman who doesn't buy his somewhat threatening ( in my opinion) expression of his theological distinctives.
My question for ChristianMingle is quite simple: If Joe's messages do not constitute harassment, what does? Also, does ChristianMingle support the theory that a woman's "no" doesn't really mean "no?"
Finally, would Collin Hansen, the Editorial Director of The Gospel Coalition (see tweets at the start of the post), suggest that Linda should go out on one date with Joe as a "matter of courtesy?"