Justice

This Comic Perfectly Breaks Down How Rape Culture Affects Dating

If you're trying to arrange a date via dating app or website with someone who insists on meeting at your apartment or theirs, you may want to send them this comic by Robot Hugs.

Titled "Risky Date," the comic illustrates a problem of modern dating: When one party insists on a first date in a non-public place, and what happens when that request is denied.

Risky Date

Risky Date

"Sometimes, in my head, we have a conversation about this," the main character states. "It goes like this: That’s a really tone-deaf and unfortunate thing to say."

"One thing I have to think about, even though I’d rather not, even when I just want to have a date with someone who seems pretty cool, is risk."

Risky Date

"You will probably be a perfectly fine person," they continue. "But if you’re not… the potential outcomes are bad to severe:"

risks of first date

"In the unlikely event that you do assault me, here’s what I will get when I try to speak up about it to authorities or others:"

risks

"It’s important to remember that society very often places the responsibility for preventing harassment, stalking, assault and abuse on women, femmefolk, and other groups who are likely to experience sexual/intimate violence or assault."

inherent risks

asking for it

"But we don’t get this kind of reaction in other circumstances!"

Driving is one example. "It’s absolutely possible that I will be hit by someone who is driving recklessly. But that’s a risk many of us accept every day, and I’m unlikely to have to shoulder a lot of the responsibility and blame for that accident."

"How come I have to shoulder the responsibility and blame when someone rapes me?"

risk assessment in dating

risk assessment in dating

"That’s the conversation I think about having."

risky date

The comic's conclusion?

let's not bother

The comic was inspired by the artist's own experience.

"This guy, this fucking guy, still sticks in my brain," the comic writes beneath their work. "It’s been years since I’ve been online dating. It was an interaction of messages that culminated in this exchange over about two weeks."

Robot Hugs continues:

"It is STUPID and AWFUL that we are expected to constantly be smart, aware, strong, reactive, proactive, and sober enough to prevent our own assaults. It is STUPID and AWFUL that if we do anything, ANYTHING, like have a glass of wine, or walk home, or smile at someone, or not smile at someone, that we are somehow in that way shouldering responsibility for someone deliberately, maliciously harming us."

In an email to ATTN:, Robot Hugs (who prefers "they" pronouns) reveals this was far from the first time an encounter happened to them, writing, "This was certainly not the only person who was frustrated with my refusal to disclose where I lived. I find that the dynamic described in the comic still rings true with other activities, like drinking in a bar alone, where negative outcomes (such as being drugged or groped) are at least partly blamed on the choice to be in that situation in the first place."

This is rape culture.

And it's prevalent. From bad dating advice for men picking up women, including non-consensual dating tips in a major men's magazine, to Brock Turner's light sentence for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, obtaining consent is often treated as an obstacle, not a prerequisite. Given this reality, as the comic drives home, taking steps to protect one's self should not be taken as an insult.