Students may ensure personal safety by dating cautiously

Nedda Pourahmady

Getting a date drunk is a common way to lower inhibitions. He or she may be less able to refuse someone who is making a move. PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY GAVIN JACKSON | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Jason Hall

With her cell phone handy and her friends notified, Nicole Cellura was ready to go on her date.

Cellura, freshman early childhood education major, said she had been set up with a friend’s friend in high school.

She said she carries her cell phone when going on any date in case she may need her friends to text or call her to get out of it.

“Make sure someone knows where you’re going,” Cellura said. “Go somewhere that’s not secluded, like a public place.”

Jason McGlothlin, assistant professor for counseling and human development services, said students should become familiar with a person before going on a date with him or her for the first time.

“Get to know them in a crowd,” McGlothlin said. “Know a little about their friends and what he or she is like.”

Before going on her date, Cellura said she talked with people who knew her date in order to find out more about him.

Preparing for a date takes more than just prior research. McGlothlin said some signs to look for during a date that may indicate danger include a sudden change in the other person’s behavior or excessive drinking.

He also said students may be at risk if their date has had prior relationship violence or agitation.

McGlothlin said students should keep in mind that dangerous things can happen to them when dating. He said students should be aware of sexual assault, date rape, emotional or verbal abuse.

When stress escalates in a person’s life, violence can make its way into a date or relationship, McGlothlin said.

“If you see your partner not handling things well, and he or she is already volatile, then the life situation could bleed into the relationship situation,” he said.

However, Ryan Telzrow, senior justice studies major, said he wouldn’t take a risk dating someone he didn’t know.

“I wouldn’t date them because I don’t really know what they’re involved in,” Telzrow said.

In an uncomfortable situation, he said he’d just try to leave or call his friends to cut the date short.

“I’d go to places that I know, so I could contact anyone at any time,” Telzrow said. “I’d also go with friends and keep my cell phone handy.”

He also suggested female students avoid the bar scene and have their own transportation to and from the date.

“Meet up with the guy and take your car – that way, you’re not stuck with them all night,” Telzrow said. “Let someone know where you’re going.”

Freshman history major David McMullen said he’s never really worried before a date.

“The date is where I see if I like the person,” McMullen said. “That’s where you get to know them very well.”

Ted Urbanowicz, freshman computer science major, said he went out on a double date by a friend’s request.

He agreed that it’s good to go in a group when dating an unknown person.

“Try to make the situation more comfortable,” Urbanowicz said. “Try not to be so uptight.”

Overall, McGlothlin said students should always take precautions and watch for warning signs.

“If you’re in a situation where you don’t feel comfortable,” he said, “find the folks that have your back.”

Contact student life reporter Nedda Pourahmady at [email protected].