Tarn M. Emmers-Sommer
Smart Date is a Web site that enables women to leave a bread crumb trail, of sorts, regarding the details of a date (Temple, 1997). The purpose of the site is to provide women with a place to send their upcoming date plans to “an electronic message system that lets users document their dating plans for use by police if the unthinkable happens and they never return home” (Temple, 1997, p. 4D). The goal of the Web site is to reduce date rape and date assaults. During Smart Date's first 24 hours of service in the fall of 1997, more than 1,000 submissions were received, as were numerous supportive e-mails (Temple, 1997).
Sexual coercion and rape are pervasive in our society, with both men and women serving as perpetrators (Sigelman, Berry, & Wiles, 1984). In addition, both men and women are the targets of unwanted sexual advances and sexually coercive behaviors (e.g., Muehlenhard &Cook, 1988; Poppen & Segal, 1988; C.J. Struckman-Johnson, 1988). According to Poppen and Segal (1988), some studies reported as many as 75% of women being victimized by sexual coercion and as many as 63% of men having engaged in unwanted sex (Muehlenhard &Cook, 1988).