Imagine fearing for the safety of yourself and your children every time the doorbell rings. That's what a young mom in Canada is dealing with right now, after more than 30 men showed up at her door under the assumption that she would have sex with them.
The woman, who anonymously told CBC her story, believes that her ex-boyfriend set up fake dating profiles using her picture to send these guys to her house.
Although she says that all of the guys so far have been "pretty decent," the woman still fears that her ex will end up sending a guy who doesn't accept a "no."
"My main concern is my safety, because if he sends the wrong sex-crazed maniac to my house … and he forces his way in, who knows what could happen," she told CBC.
She also has to worry for her two kids, who are eight and nine-years-old. Within a day after she took a restraining order out on her ex, who she said was "very, very abusive," the men started showing up at her home.
The woman told CBC that she hasn't slept in a week.
A police investigation into the woman's reports found that her ex was actually responsible.
"You see it all the time, whether it's bullying or relationships gone bad. The internet just gives people the tools to do these kind of things," acting Sgt. Phil Hawkins with the local police cyber crimes investigation unit told CBC.
The woman's ex apparently used the fake profile to tell men that she "got really turned on when people damaged her stuff, raped her and beat her up," according to CBC.
While Plenty of Fish, the app he used, told CBC that they've discontinued the fake accounts, there are still lasting effects of the harassment this woman faced. She's planning to move her family to a new apartment.
This may seem at first to be a cautionary tale about the anonymous nature of the internet, but this woman's story isn't about misuse of online dating platforms. It's about men who feel that they have power and ownership over women. Because she broke up with him and took out a restraining order, he felt the need to "punish" her.
That was made easier by the internet, sure, but abusive men have found ways to punish their ex-girlfriends even before online dating existed. So instead of blaming the internet for this, let's place blame where it really lies — with a patriarchal society that raises men to believe that the women they date owe them something.
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