Now guys, before you say "Well, I'm a dude, it can't happen to me!" Yes.. actually, it can. Those tips are just as valid for men as they are for women. It would break my heart if something happened to any one of you. I want you all to be smart, think with your head instead of your heart, and listen to your instincts. If a photographer wants you to pose for photos, consider the following questions:
- Do they have a website?
- Is there an online portfolio of their work?
- Are there records of models they have worked with in the past? What kind of reviews do they have?
- Do they have a studio that is listed as a legitimate studio? Can you find it in the yellow pages? Does it have a street address and publicly listed phone number?
- Are they accredited/licensed etc?
- What are they wanting you to pose for? Is it actual art, or pervy stuff?
- Are they professional in their method of communication, or do they always talk about sexy feet, etc? (Note: some predators will put up a professional front to lure victims into a sense of security.)
Now, if you think a photographer might be acceptable, do a background check on them. It might sound slightly paranoid, but the information in a background check could save your life. Some states in the U.S. have public records available online for free. You can find out if they have been arrested or convicted for assault, etc. There are also full background check services online as well. If the photographer adamantly refuses to divulge information regarding their history and professional background, that should be a massive red flag.
If the photographer is here on dA, it should be relatively easy to find out what kind of person they are. The one thing I love about this place is that we band together as a community and support each other. If you have reservations about a person, ask someone about it. It's more than likely fellow community members and community leaders may know something about the person in question.
I also thoroughly believe that everyone should be well versed in self-defense tactics. These maneuvers could help save your life. Most predators want an easy target, so don't be one. Stay alert, think on your feet, and be LOUD! Draw as much attention to yourself as you can. A moving target is harder to catch.
- NEVER meet someone in a private or secluded space. Always meet in a public, well populated area.
- NEVER go alone. Bring someone you trust with you.
- NEVER give out your personal information, especially where you live and work.
- ALWAYS make sure someone knows where you are going, who you are meeting, why you are meeting them, and give them that person's contact information. It could save your life.
- NEVER go unarmed. Now, I don't mean you should pack an AK-47 in your purse, but depending on your local laws, you should at least carry an air horn or a can of pepper spray. (And ladies.. Pepper spray doesn't work if it's in the bottom of your purse!) If you're wondering what the air horn does.. well.. it makes a hell of a lot of noise. It's also a useful tool if you are being attacked. You can use it up against their ear to stun an attacker. It hurts like hell and could give you an opportunity to get away. They have mini-ones in Walmart.
Every Woman's Guide to Self DefenseThe No Bull**it Guide To Self Defense For Ladies
The fact of the matter is I want each of you to be safe. If someone is communicating with you in a way that makes you uncomfortable, block them, report them to dA, and stop communicating with them entirely. If you are a teenager, I would also encourage you to speak to your parents about it. You can also express your concerns to one of our Community Volunteers and to me, especially if it is a fellow group member. I will always do whatever I can to help, even if it is just simply helping you investigate a person. This group is part of an extended family, and you are all very dear to me.