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Mano morta and dangerous dating applications

In Italian, the term mano morta means “dead hand”. It is a form of sexual assault – touching the intimate parts of the victim’s body in crowded public transport. English words used to describe intimate partner abuse include stealthing (removing a condom during intercourse without the consent of the sexual partner), upskirting and downblousing (secretly taking photographs, especially of intimate body parts, without the consent of the person being photographed) and love bombing (exaggerated, manipulative displays of affection. New words are finding their way into legislation to describe new crimes. Dr Alessia Tranchese from the University of Portsmouth believes that by naming these crimes, a sense of community is created among victims who can identify themselves with other people who have been victimised.

According to researchers at Brigham Young University, who analysed data from sexual assault victims in Utah between 2017 and 2020, sex offenders use dating applications as a kind of “hunting ground”. This makes it easier for them to attack vulnerable victims. 14% of the 1,968 rapes committed by people known to the victims took place after a meeting arranged through a dating application. Moreover, these attacks were more violent. College students and men were more likely to be victims of rape among people known through dating applications (almost twice as often as in other acquaintance rape cases). People with mental disorders were also more vulnerable to the dangers of using dating applications.

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