The Scoop: Dating can be scary, especially for women. Your emotional and physical safety can be on the line. Fortunately, GoGuarded is there to help women protect themselves, no matter the circumstances. Its line of self-defense products offers effective ways to stay safe while going on a run, walking to your car, or leaving an uncomfortable date.
It’s no secret that online dating comes with risks. In a survey, 57% of young, female online daters said they receive unwanted sexually explicit images, and 36% of daters report having upsetting interactions online — and that’s before they even meet up with their dates. Scheduling an in-person meeting with somebody you discover on an app makes you vulnerable to sexual violence, no matter how thoroughly you research your match before the date.
It can happen even in a safe neighborhood. I recently read a headline about a waitress who was abducted and killed while trying to fill up her tank at a gas station right by the restaurant I worked at in college. I never felt unsafe in the area, so it was an awakening for me. There are scary people who want to harm women everywhere. Tinder and other dating apps don’t screen for sex offenders, so you never really know what you’re getting into when you agree to a date. It’s up to you to protect yourself.
That’s why it’s so important to take precaution and invest in reliable personal protection devices. Jodi Fisher is a former law enforcement worker and the CEO of GoGuarded, a company that sells self-defense products for women and runners. Jodi said she knows all too well the dangers of putting yourself in a vulnerable situation, whether it be with a Tinder match at a bar or on a solo run at dawn.
While her products were originally geared toward runners, Jodi said her self-defense devices are useful for women who are meeting up with online dates and want to feel safe the whole time.
The GoGuarded Ring is Subtle and Easy to Use — and it Can Save Your Life
The first thing that deters me when I’m looking into personal protection is, embarrassingly enough, aesthetics. There’s nothing that kills the mood quite like whipping out a pepper spray canister at the dinner table. Jodi took discreteness into consideration when designing her products so they don’t hinder your experience at all — whether you’re using the GoGuarded ring on a run or on a date.
The GoGuarded ring is a tiny, serrated-edge device that slips over your finger and can be adjusted to fit perfectly. When used with a bit of force, it can significantly harm an assailant. The best part is: it looks like a fun accessory. It won’t bang around if you take it on a run, and it can be disguised as a standard ring if you’re bringing it on a date.
Jodi started GoGuarded after taking a wrong turn on a run and finding herself alone in an unfamiliar place as the sun rapidly set.
“It just made me very aware of how I was not protecting my personal safety,” she said. “From there, I started looking for options for self defense.”
Jodi’s running mishap inspired her to make something that she knew would keep her safe on her solo runs, no matter the location or time of day. “I had zero intent to create a product or to become an entrepreneur — I was just looking for something for me, and I did not find it,” she said.
The result — the GoGuarded ring — is more reliable than pepper spray, in that it doesn’t depend on wind or require you to dig it out of a fanny pack, and it does more than an alarm.
Jodi told me about one user who reached out to her and shared her story. “She was running early in the morning and heard footsteps. So she turned around, and this assailant jumps out and knocks her on the ground… trying to rape her. And she was wearing the GoGuarded ring,” she said.
The runner used the ring to stab her attacker in the face, and he was so stunned he dropped his phone and ran away. The police were able to identify him from the DNA on his phone and from the stab wound on his face. Not only did this runner survive, but she can also sleep well at night knowing that her attacker is serving an eight-year sentence. It’s all thanks to GoGuarded.
Don’t worry, though — you’re not going to hurt yourself with it, even if you’re clumsy. The product was intentionally designed using heavy duty plastic rather than metal, so it’s not sharp enough for you to accidentally scratch yourself or your running buddy but is effective when used with intention.
Dating Safety Shouldn’t Start With Self-Defense Products
Remember that using a self-defense product on a date should be a last resort. Before going on any date, you should be doing your research. Google your date’s name so you know basic information about them and can detect lies when you’re out together. It’s also a good idea to let trusted friends or family members know where you’re going and give them an expected return time so they can get help if you miss your curfew.
Perhaps most importantly, don’t agree to a ride from your date, no matter how trustworthy he looks. Meet in a public place, and get there on your own.
When you’re on the date, keep an eye out for red flags that could potentially be indicators for sexual violence. “If they badmouth their former wives, or the mother of their children or their former boss…” Jodi said. “If somebody is just so negative about the people in their lives… major red flag.”
The line between a red flag and an instance of genuine abuse is very thin, and a man who harbors rage toward the women in his life should be setting off alarms in your head.
If you don’t detect red flags and still find yourself in a dangerous situation, or can’t figure out how to get yourself out of a date with a scary person, a solution is on the tip of your finger or hidden in your purse, thanks to GoGuarded.
The online store also offers a tiny pepper spray canister to stow in your purse, a personal alarm you can attach to your car keys, and a hand-held device that’s a combination of the GoGuarded knife and a stun gun. The latter can save your life as you go back to your car from the restaurant, and the alarm can attract the attention of other people on the street if you feel threatened.
Know Your Self-Worth
Self-defense goes hand in hand with self-confidence. “Know you’re worth fighting for,” Jodi said, “And always trust your gut.” Even a low-stakes date can be deadly if you don’t take precautions, and protecting yourself on dates is a reflection that you know your self-worth.
A Tinder match is never worth compromising your safety and potentially your life, and neither is a late-night trip to get gas or a walk across the parking lot.
“I never go anywhere without personal protection,” Jodi said. “Whether it’s a GoGuarded ring, or GoGuarded handheld – otherwise, I just feel naked and vulnerable.”
Invest in yourself, and make sure that you’re never leaving home without a personal protection device stowed in your bag or on a keychain. It doesn’t hurt to be overcautious.