Going Out

A thriving social life and amazing nights out in a new city are a big a part of university life. But sometimes, unforeseen events can happen that can spoil your night. A little pre-planning and common sense will ensure you remember your night for all of the right reasons. 

Here are some tips on how to stay safe and have a better night out, before you go out

  • Make sure you eat a decent meal before you go out. Drinking on an empty stomach is a recipe for disaster.
  • Decide how you’re going to get home and who you need to go home with beforehand. Have a plan in place in case your group gets split up.
  • Book a taxi journey there and preferably make arrangements for your return trip. Take their business card and write your address on it. Some universities have a safe taxi scheme, so remember to check this out.
  • Don’t pre drink too much. We know this part of the fun but it makes sense: you don’t want the last thing you remember to be leaving the house, where’s the fun in that?
  • If you’ve got friends-of-a-friend or course mates you don’t know very well coming over for pre- drinks, make sure you lock away all of your valuables.
  • Pack your bag early and go through it with a friend to ensure you’ve got everything you need to take with you; ID, cash, card (for emergencies), keys and phone. Make sure your phone is fully charged!

While You Are Out

  • Never leave your drink unattended. Keep your thumb over your bottle neck between sips and if something tastes odd, don’t drink anymore!
  • If somebody you don’t know well, or trust, offers to buy you a drink, you should decline or accompany them to the bar and watch that nothing is added to your drink.
  • Keep your possessions, especially wallets, mobiles and cameras hidden in a secure bag or in zipped pockets.
  • If you go to the toilet, leave your bag with your friend or keep it close to you. Leaving it on the cubicle floor makes it easy for somebody to swipe it from under the door and you aren’t in the best position to run after it!
  • Don’t drink too much. We don’t want to sound like a nagging parent, but getting too drunk can affect your judgment and ability to take care of yourself. This makes it easier to lose things and makes you an easy target. Know your limits and stick to them.
  • Avoid using a cash machine when alone at night.
  • Try not to draw attention to yourself by looking lost – go into a shop if you need directions.

 Getting Home

  • Stick with people you know. Don’t wander off on your own at the end of the night, and wherever possible, go home together. If you’re planning to walk home, stick to the main roads and try to avoid shortcuts and unlit areas. Never walk home by yourself.
  • Be aware of what’s happening around you and don’t listen to your iPod on the way home.
  • Use a taxi that is licensed and recommended by your university. You still have the business card, right?
  • Always make sure you have enough money for a taxi home, don’t spend it on that last drink of the night. Keep an emergency fiver somewhere if you need to.
  • When you get out of the taxi, always check behind you to make sure you’ve left nothing on the seats or the floor, especially if you’ve been looking at your snaps from the night on your way home.
  • If you’re travelling home by public transport, find out the times of the buses/trains so you’re not waiting about too long at the station/bus stop or miss the last one altogether.
  • Remember to lock all doors behind you on your way in. Sounds simple but it’s easy to forget.

- See more at: http://hub.endsleigh.co.uk/2014/security/top-tips-for-staying-safe-on-a-night-out/#sthash.NoZoXbZB.dpuf


Hanging Out Online

It’s easier than ever to meet someone new. Social apps like grindr, scruff, adam4adam, growlr, and tindr offer tempting possibilities for both LGBT and heterosexuals, with location finders using GPS tracking. If you’re looking for a connection, you can do so from the comfort of your couch these days, without having to go to a bar or a club. So many choices…but with more choices comes more risk, and with risk, comes more responsibility.

Looking around the Internet, there seems to be very little information “out there” that offers guidance to gay men on basic, essential safety precautions for making a sexual connection. And so what follows is a list of 10 tips that I hope you will find useful in keeping you safe.

Before continuing, I know there will be some who will suggest that the best way to prevent a bad hook-up is to avoid hooking up at all.
My response to this is simple – people are still going to hook up! Better to offer some practical, realistic suggestions as opposed to the Nancy Reagan approach (just say no) advice.

At its core, we are talking about risk reduction here. And the tips being offered in what follows equally apply to everyone, not just LGBT folks. Crime is an equal opportunity destroyer.

Let’s move on to the 10 online hookup safety tips. Please keep in mind this list is by no means exhaustive. Also, remember these tips are not fool proof. Again, we are talking harm reduction here.

1. Get a trick phone
A “trick” phone is a pre-paid phone that is used only for online hook ups. You can get a fairly inexpensive cell phone at most drugstores. You can also buy them online at Amazon for less than $10.00.
With these phones, you simply charge them up with minutes using PayPal, a Debit/Credit card or direct draft from your bank. These phones will allow you to download your favorite hookup aps and will make real calls.
You can also send and receive txt and SMS type information (aka pics). The reason you should consider using a trick phone will become clear in the next few tips.

2. Never give our your REAL cell phone number
At least for the initial meeting, it is strongly encouraged that you meet at a public place. Examples include a café, a bar or even a supermarket. Do not invite the person to your home and do not give out your home address.
Remember, the moment you give a stranger specifics about where you live, they now have identifying information that can potentially be used to bully, harass and threaten you. No matter how hot he is or how horny you are, please do not give this information out for your own sake.
On the other side of the coin, think very carefully about meeting at his place. Remember that if you meet in a public place, you have far greater control over the situation. Once you are in his home, you lose much of that power.

3. Use a fake name
When you start talking with someone online, be it on the computer or a phone app, you should think very carefully about what you provide. I am suggesting this because you have no idea who you are talking to on the other end of that electronic device.
If a person has your real name, they have something personal about you that can later be used in a way that con artists and other criminals know how to use. If you do not want to use a fake name, just give out your first name and nothing else.
The other reason you may want to use a fake name is simply this – if the hook up goes south while you are there, you don’t want the creep to find you again. Don’t give him your real name until you are absolutely sure you feel safe.

4. No X pics with face
If you send a stranger an X picture that includes your face, you have just given that person the ability to potentially extort from you. Do a quick search of the Internet and see how many times this has happened to people. If you must send out pictures of yourself and want to include your face, consider upper torso shots only. In other words, do not send anything you would not want your boss, your grandmother or your co-workers to see.
I recognize here that people are likely saying to themselves. “How do I know the person is real?” My simple answer to you is this – you don’t!
That is the problem folks, you have no idea who you are dealing with on the other end of that computer or phone. They can send you a dozen photos of themselves but that does not mean that is who they say they are and that does not mean the pictures you are seeing are of them. Why would you give a stranger something explosive to use against you?

5. Meet Somewhere Public
At least for the initial meeting, it is strongly encouraged that you meet at a public place. Examples include a café, a bar or even a supermarket. Do not invite the person to your home and do not give out your home address.
Remember, the moment you give a stranger specifics about where you live, they now have identifying information that can potentially be used to bully, harass and threaten you. No matter how hot he is or how horny you are, please do not give this information out for your own sake.
On the other side of the coin, think very carefully about meeting at his place. Remember that if you meet in a public place, you have far greater control over the situation. Once you are in his home, you lose much of that power. Tell Your Buddy!

6. Use a buddy system
A buddy system is a 25 cent term for letting a close friend know trust that you are going out on a hook up. Tell your buddy the time, place and location of your destination and make sure you check in with them.
Consider creating a code-word that you can use with your buddy that you can quickly say or text to let them know you are in trouble. Also, after the hook up, make sure you contact your buddy and let them know you are on your way home, regardless of how the hook up went.
One other tip that some people suggest is to text your buddy a photo of the person you are going to be hooking up with. For what it is worth, there will at least be an image that can be used by police if something bad happens (even if the image is fake, it has likely been used before by the person).

7. Skip App Hookups When Drinking
This is an obvious one but needs to be listed. If you are drinking out at a bar, do not jump on one of your phone apps looking for a hook up.
Your judgment is likely going to be impaired and if you are drunk or even a little tipsy, you are a major target for the freaks, psychos and criminals who are looking for their next victim. How good is that hook up going to be anyway when you are drunk?
Think about it.

8. Pay attention to his/her intent
When you are texting with your potential hook up, be aware of his intent. Is he asking you if you party? That is a warning sign he may be looking for drugs. Is he saying he only sleeps on the bottom bunk– ask yourself: why? Has he been using something that prevents him from doing anything else? He is looking to dominate? If so, is this something you really want to do with a total stranger?

9. Talk to the person on the phone
One way to screen for problems is to take the time to talk to the person on the phone. This means old fashioned voice communication.
When you are speaking with them, do they sound high, drunk or “off”? If so, simply tell them it is not a good match and politely end the call.
Now you know why I suggested using a trick phone. Last point here – if they refuse to talk on the phone, consider this a major warning sign of trouble and discontinue communication!

10. Listen to your gut
This is perhaps the most important tip of all. If you feel something just seems weird or are concerned in anyway about your personal safety, call off the hook up.
You are not obligated to follow through. This point is very simple – listen carefully to your inner voice.

Final Thoughts
As mentioned earlier, the 10 online hook up safety tips offered here are not exhaustive. My hope is to spark conversation and awareness around this issue with the hope of promoting personal safety. Source of original article: http://gaymuscleandlove.hubpages.com/hub/Gay-Men-10-Safety-Tips-for-Grindr-Scruff-and-Other-Phone-Aps-You-Need-to-Know


Meeting someone you've met online

In addition, these helpful tips are taken directly from the Adam4Adam website and app. Many of these are the same as the information shared above, but hey—it never hurts to hear useful information twice. Also, it’s nice to know that a social and gay hookup website like Adam4Adam is doing its due diligence to keep users of the site safe…but, how many of us get online and actually READ these useful tips? I’d guess not many. So here they are, and before you cruise online, consider taking a few moments to learn how to connect safely.
Taken directly from: http://www.adam4adam.com/pages/safety

Adam4Adam is a great place to meet men for friendship, dating, and sexual encounters and it is our hope that your experiences with other members will be fun and fulfilling.
Because every encounter may not be friendly and safe, we encourage you to always use caution and common sense when using the site, especially when meeting anyone in person.
Please read through these important safety tips. They have been provided to help you protect yourself both online and offline and always remember, if you feel you are in immediate danger or have been a victim of a crime, please contact the police immediately.

Protect yourself from fraud: Never share personal or financial information with people you have online or that you do not know very well. Do not send money to online acquaintances, especially by wire transfer because wire transfers are similar to sending case. Do not give out any credit card information or your identification numbers such as a social security number.

Protect your privacy: Remain anonymous until you feel safe. Be cautious about revealing information that could identify you. Remember that if you give someone a piece of your personal information, such as your phone number or email address, they may be able to use Internet search sites to get your full name, street address or other personal information that might make you vulnerable to identify theft or stalkers.

If you want to give someone your real name, e-mail address, phone number, or any other personally identifying information you should also ask him to provide you with the same information about them. Use the information he has provided and Email him and/or call him to confirm that the information you have is valid. If you would like to know more about someone before you meet them, then we suggest that you use Internet search tools or conduct a background check to obtain more information on them.

Secure your login information: Use caution when accessing you account from a public or shared computer. Do not allow your password or screen name to be stored in a public computer. If you share your computer at home, you should disable browser features that save user names and passwords, delete your browsing history, and empty your cache after using the site.

Never give anyone your password no matter why they say they need it or who they say they are. If someone asks you for your password, you may report them here. If you think someone knows your password, go to the My Account section of the site and change it. If you believe someone obtained your password through your personal email account, you should immediately change the password to your email account and the password to your profile.

Take time to ask questions: Knowing what someone is into sexually is only part of the story. It is important to get to know as much as you can about a possible date or hookup before you meet in person. One way to do this is to read their profile carefully, and be sure that what is posted on their profile matches what they are saying to you and that you like what they say. Ask direct questions and listen for inconsistencies. Ask for their name, where they live and work, what they like and do not like. You can tell a lot about a person by the way they communicate. Follow your gut.

Meeting in person: If you plan to meet someone you have met online in person, remember, no matter how long you have been communicating online, you are really meeting them for the first time. Do all you can to verify that you know who you are meeting. You may have already asked for a picture, be sure to have a recent face picture and feel free to ask for some form of identification. Verification of identity, even through a web or cell cam, can help protect you from thieves and those that may seek to harm you.

Your first meeting should be in public and others should know where you are going. Give a friend their screen name and the other personal information that you have gotten from them. Print out their information (screen name, address, phone number, email address) and some of your communication, and leave it by your computer before you leave home.

Be sure to take your cell phone with you. Choose a comfortable meeting place like a café or an open park. Talk to him in a location where there are a lot of people around (people that can become instant witnesses in case of a bad date).

You may also want to ask a friend to call you during your arranged meeting time to check on you. Do not be afraid to let your date know that you have informed others about your meeting.

Be assertive: Do not do anything you are not comfortable doing, you have the right to set boundaries and limits, including sexual limits. No means No. If you are turned down, do not take it personally and respect the person's wishes.

Have your own transportation: Do not be dependent on someone else to pick you up or drop you off. Use public transportation or a taxi if they are available. To add an extra layer of protection, take alternate routes to and from home if you think you might be followed. *If a guy says he has no car and wants you to come pick him up and drop him off, or he asks for gas money to come to you, JUST SAY NO. No matter how hot he is, your safety comes first.

Keep a clear head: Getting drunk or getting high before meeting someone met online can put you in danger. If you plan on drinking or parting, to protect yourself from being knocked out or taken advantage of, mix your own drinks and use your own party supplies. Take your drink with you when you go to the bathroom if you’re out, or if you’re at a new person’s house. Don’t risk someone spiking your drink when you set it down and walk away.

Secure your valuables: If you are meeting at someone else's home, do not take cash, credit cards, electronics (with the exception of your cell phone), or other valuables with you. If you are having someone come to your home, secure all valuables, hide your laptop and other portable devices that have value. Do not leave your visitor alone, it is likely that your visitor will want to use your restroom, clear all valuables and anything that may be used as a weapon from your restroom.

Ask about health: There is more to health than HIV status in profiles. Talk about your HIV status and ask about his. A conversation about sexually transmitted diseases, especially HPV, Hepatitis A, B and C, Herpes, and genital warts is part of risk reduction.

You have a right to have sex in whatever form you choose. We recommend that you use protection by wearing a condom when having sex. Whether you choose to use protection or not is up to you but at least know what you are getting into by talking with your partner.

Remember that not everyone is honest and some people will not tell you their real HIV status or their STD history.

If you encounter an online date that refuses to answer questions about their health, their HIV status, their last STD test, and/or their sexual history, then you should a use a condom or practice another form of safer sex. If you want to have protected anal sex (use a condom) and they refuse, do not give in. Sticking to your safety limits is important and compromising what makes you safe is not worth a date.

For more information about gay men's health check out our Health Resource page and the Health section of the Adam4Adam blog

Block abusive users: Block any member that treats you in an abusive way and report the member to us immediately. The Report User link can be found in all emails.

Report it: If someone sends you abusive mail within our system please read our FAQs page under "What should I do if someone is harassing or abusive".

If the problem happened outside our website: If you believe that are in immediate danger, no matter the circumstances, it is usually the police that have the capacity to protect you in an emergency. Call 911 immediately if you are being pursued, abused, or are a victim of any crime.

If you are harassed or victimized by someone you've met you can call the Anti-Violence Project 24-Hour hotline at (212) 714-1141

If you are being abused: If you in a situation where someone is provoking you, never retaliate with verbally or physically.

Partner abuse is real and there is help available if you are being abused. You have the right to an abuse free life. For help with partner abuse check out the Gay Men's Domestic Violence Project.

Other resources:

The National Center for Victims of Crime is the nation's leading resource and advocacy organization for crime victims and those who serve them.

The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs is a coalition of 40 anti-violence organizations that monitor, respond to, and work to end hate, domestic and sexual violence, HIV-related violence, and other forms of violence affecting LGBTQ communities. NCAVP is a program of the New York City Anti-Violence Project.

Matthew's Place is an online community and resource center for GLBTQQ and allied youth, the Youth Lounge provides resources about GLBTQQ youth friendly shelters, outreach centers and empowerment programs across the country.

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, HRC envisions an America where LGBT people are ensured of their basic equal rights, and can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.

The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network strives to assure that each member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.

Another useful link, posted from the UK—but no matter! Personal safety and risk reduction is a global concern, whether you’re in Glasgow or Greensboro. Safety in bars is about being present and using common sense BEFORE you go out, to reduce your risk once you’re there. Read these excellent tips below.

Original source: http://hub.endsleigh.co.uk/2014/security/top-tips-for-staying-safe-on-a-night-out/