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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

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    Can Online Dating Lead to Sex Abuse?

    In the late evening of Tuesday, Feb. 10, a female student made acomplaint to the university police that a male student had sexuallyabused her by inappropriately touching her.

    The students had met through e-mail, gone on a date and were ina room in Toscanini College when the incident occurred, accordingto Douglas Little, deputy chief of the university police.

    ‘She refused to press charges against him,’ Littlesaid.’ ‘But she can always press charges against himlater.’

    Little did not release the students’ names, citingconfidentiality. He said the police report didn’t state onwhich e-mail ‘dating’ website the students had met eachother.

    Stony Brook University has one e-mail ‘dating’website, called Stony Brook LoveShack, which was officiallylaunched last year.’ One of the founders of LoveShack, Joe X.,a Stony Brook graduate, said he didn’t know if those studentsmet through his website.

    ‘I am unaware of the situation you mentioned,’ JoeX. said.’ ‘It does raise concern, but I cannot verify ifthese people or anyone else ever met through LoveShack.’ LoveShack is one of thousands of ‘singles’ websitesavailable on the internet.’

    LoveShack is an addition to Joe X.’s other website, StonyBrook Sucks (www.stonybrooksucks.com) which contains news andinformation about the university, some of which is critical of theadministration.

    Joe X. admitted that there were concerns about meeting peoplethrough ‘dating’ websites but added that problems couldalso occur when meeting people through other means.

    ‘[The LoveShack] site is no more dangerous than meetingsingles at a bar, a classified ad, a classroom, a dorm party, orthe cafeteria,’ he said.’ ‘Unfortunately, we livein a world where there are enough wackos out there that we all needto proceed with caution.’

    Joe X. said that there are good and bad qualities to’dating’ websites.’ ‘Running this site forover two years now, I’ve seen it all from my webvisitors,’ he said.’ ‘I’ve seen the worst ofhuman nature, the profanity, racism and perversion.’ And I canhonestly say I’ve seen the best of it as well.’ Just afew weeks ago, a string of messages showed up on my site: afrustrated freshman on the verge of depression in deepconsideration of suicide.’ This message was followed by overthirty replies, [from] fellow students who showed her that she hadfriends she hasn’t met yet.’ On a side note, she thankedeveryone for the support and [wrote] off the idea ofsuicide.’

    Carol Carlson, academic advisor in the undergraduate office ofthe department of psychology, questioned the judgment of the femalestudent who made the sex abuse complaint.’ ‘The girlshould have known better,’ she said.’ ‘She shouldhave met him in a public place, such as a mall ordiner.”

    Laura Kathleen Williams, director of the Wo/Men’s Centeragreed in part.’ ‘It’s a good idea to meet in aneutral space,’ she said.’ ‘But it’sdangerous to blame the victim.’

    ‘We’re asking the wrong question,’ she said.’We should be asking ‘Why do some men rape?’ or’Why do some men not hear ‘No!?’

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