A group of single women in Chicago's Lake View neighborhood are banding together and coming up with a way to make sure they are safe as people begin to hit the dating scene post-pandemic.
Michelle P. is one of those women, and knows dating in Chicago is tough.
“I’m excited to meet new people here and everything, but it’s not easy it’s really not,” she said. “When you do you have to be sure that you’re not falling into at trap. There’s a lot of 'catfishers.'”
She’s part of a singles group on Facebook, and earlier this month someone came up with an idea for a group chat—a buddy system of sorts for women going on first dates in the city.
“I think it’s a brilliant idea,” she said. “Kudos to the folks that actually made that suggestion because there’s a lot of ways we can stay accountable to one another, especially now with digital. We got phones, you got GPS—there’s all sorts of different ways we can keep an eye on each other.”
Members can keep each other in the loop with who they’re seeing or where they’re going to be safe.
“I trust that women here really do want to look out for each other because there’s been so much craziness with the dating scene or just anywhere,” she said.
Other members like Anastassiya Suslik saw the post and was inspired to do her part.
“I told them I’m a self defense instructor and I offered them to run a seminar with some basics,” said Suslik.
She teaches at Titan Gym in Bucktown where once a month they offer a free course on self defense.
“Learning how to defend yourself helps you to carry yourself more comfortable and confidentially on the street and I think this is very important as well,” she said.
The 34 year old said she has never been in a situation where she had to protect herself.
“You never know,” she said. “You know, better safe than sorry.”
She said some of her students have found themselves in dangerous situations. Her students range in age from young child to adult.
“We don’t realize how power we are until we actually get to experience something like this trying to practice self defense,” she said.
Suslik is offering a seminar Wednesday night at 6 p.m. at Waveland Park and plans to hold more in the future.