A group of single women in Chicago’s Lake View neighborhood are banding together and finding a way to make sure they’re safe as people start hitting the dating scene after the pandemic.
Michelle P. is one of those women and knows dating someone in Chicago is difficult.
“Glad to meet new people here and everything, but it’s not easy, it really isn’t,” she said. “When you do, you have to be sure you don’t fall into a trap. There are a lot of “catfishers”.
She’s in a singles group on Facebook, and earlier this month someone had an idea for a group chat, a kind of buddy system for women who have a first date in town. .
“I think it’s a brilliant idea,” she said. “We have phones, you have GPS, there are all kinds of different ways of monitoring each other.
Members can keep up to date with who they see or where they will be safe.
“I hope the women here really want to look out for each other because there has been so much madness with the dating scene or anywhere,” she said.
Other members like Anastassiya Suslik saw the message and were inspired to do her part.
“I told them I was a self-defense instructor and offered to run a seminar with some basics,” said Suslik.
She teaches at Titan Gym in Bucktown where once a month they offer a free self defense class.
“Learning to stand up for yourself helps you feel more comfortable and confident on the streets and I think that’s very important too,” she said.
The 34-year-old said she had never been in a situation where she needed to protect herself.
“You never know,” she said. “You know, prevention is better than cure.”
She said some of her students have found themselves in dangerous situations. Its students range from young children to adults.
“We don’t realize how powerful we are until we actually experience something like this by trying to practice self-defense,” she said.
Suslik is offering a Wednesday night seminar at 6 p.m. at Waveland Park and plans to hold more in the future.