The age of first marriage is now in the late twenties, and more people in their 30s and even 40s are deciding not to settle down.The rise of phone apps and online dating websites gives people access to more potential partners than they could meet at work or in the neighborhood.More recently, casual dating hook-up apps like Tinder and Grindr emerged.
You have one of the most unique data sets about modern romance. Well, one of the first things you have to know to understand how dating — or really courtship rituals, since not everyone calls it dating — has changed over time is that the age of marriage in the United States has increased dramatically over time.Rapes related to online dating increased by nearly a factor of six -- from 33 in 2009 to 184 in 2014 -- according to a report released Monday by the UK's National Crime Agency.That's a small fraction of the number of online encounters, to be sure.A survey it conducted in 2015 showed that rape is still chronically underreported, with crime statistics generally accepted to represent only 26 percent of the real figure. "A rape victim is never at fault, and we do not want the circumstances in which these assaults take place to cause any victim to doubt that," said Sean Sutton, head of the National Crime Agency's Serious Crimes Analysis Section."Sexual assault is a crime, full stop, and we want victims to feel confident reporting it to the police." Guidelines for staying safe during online dating are available from nonprofit Get Safe Online.Instead of interacting with the people around her, she chose to search for a companion elsewhere online.I wondered to myself, is this what online dating has done to us?In more than half of online-connected date rapes recorded between 20, communications of a sexual nature preceded a real-life meeting.In spite of the safety warnings issued by dating services, police and rape-prevention groups, many people choose not to have their first meeting in a public place.The date-rape statistics show that in 41 percent of cases, the victim and offender started their date at a private residence and that 72 percent of the rapes were committed a private residence.The National Crime Agency is also concerned that the number of assaults reported aren't actually a true reflection of the number of crimes that have taken place.