Your dating life is a movie. You’re the star, along with a cast
of assorted characters, and – because of your career – you film in some pretty
amazing locations. Before you get wrapped up in the glamour of dating
vacationing bankers, surfers, artists or fellow yachties from halfway around
the world, take some time to consider your safety.
After all, you don’t want your movie to end in tragedy.
Sexual predators hail from every country and every walk of
life. They don’t come from central casting as overweight dullards with excess
hair, pasty skin and creepy manners. They can be well-dressed, articulate,
handsome, clever heartthrobs. And, unfortunately, the yachting environment
can be extra-attractive to these creeps. The constant coming and going of
vessels means there always is a new crop of young women who need a break and maybe even a drink after 10 days of demanding guests.
But a little bit of smarts and some intuition can save your life…and your epic
movie plot. A key to keeping yourself out of harm’s way is to engage your brain
(generally, the last organ we want to include in romance).
So, the scene starts with you meeting Mr. Handsome on the
beach, at the gym, at happy hour or at Le Grande Marche. The sparks are
evident. A date is offered, accepted and planned. You’ve even picked out an outfit, now
1: Background check. Use social networking…on and off
the computer. Someone’s online persona can be very different than who they are
in real life. There is no Facebook profile field to indicate perversion. Do
your own research. Does anyone on your crew know him, anyone from the boat next
door, maybe your friends in a different marina or even the
marina/gym/restaurant staff? When you ask about him, are people effusive with praise,
do they raise one eyebrow and bite their lip or maybe he is an unknown
quantity. The more you know about your date, the more prepared you are.
2: Don’t go it alone. Arrange to meet Mr. Handsome in a busy,
well-lit restaurant or bar or go for a group setting, during which your friends
or fellow crewmembers can keep an eye out for you. Avoid getting in a car alone
or going to secluded locations with your date. Have a friend call or text and
check on you.
3: Don’t go hungry. This may be a silly sounding suggestion if
you are going on a dinner date, but it’s easy to get sidetracked. A few drinks
before dinner on an empty stomach can hit you quickly. Then, not only are you
likely to make poor decisions, you also can be easily coerced or overpowered.
If you have been in the sun or worked all day, some nuts or cheese will help
keep you on an even keel.
4: Better yet, keep the drinking to a minimum. Go ahead and
have a glass or two of wine with dinner, but maintain control.
5: Keep your eye on your drink. A practiced hand can spike
your Cosmo in the time it takes you to read a text message. Once in your
system, date rape drugs take only minutes to kick in. Then you will begin losing
muscle control, feel dizzy, drowsy, nauseous and possibly black out or pass out.
Rohypnol, “roofies,” can be obtained legally anywhere outside the U.S. GHB is
colorless and odorless, but can be slightly salty, which is easy to mask in
fruit drinks. Ketamine, the fastest acting of the three most popular, is
undetectable and comes in powder or liquid form.
6: Bring taxi fare.
7: Trust your gut. Only you know how you feel. If something
seems wrong or weird, it probably is. Get out quickly.
If you feel you have been a victim of sexual assault,
contact your local authorities immediately.
Remember, this is your movie. You aren’t just the star, you
are the director.