Are We Dating the Same Guy?: Groups with 4 Million Members Continue Winning Legal Challenges

Two women focused on a tablet screen, while a woman emerges from the device with a megaphone and raised fists, symbolizing empowerment and activism.
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One thing about adult women is that most, if not all, can report having had terrible dates, and are trying to avoid them whenever possible. More importantly, in their quest for companionship, women are simply trying to stay safe out there. Statistically speaking, men’s violence against women is the biggest threat to their safety and well-being. Looking at domestic violence stats alone, 1 in 4 women have experienced severe physical violence from an intimate partner. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1 in 3 Latinas will experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime.



Femicide is no longer an issue that mostly affects low-income communities or foreign countries, and that hasn’t been the case for over twenty years. A 2002 global study found that among 25 of the highest-income countries in the world, the United States only had 32% of the female population, yet shockingly, accounted for 70% of all female homicides that occurred in those 25 countries. In 2021, the femicide rate in the U.S. was found to be at 2.9 per 100,000 women. It’s also worth noting that the United States lacks an effective way of defining, tracking, and documenting femicide. This lack of an accurate classification in the criminal justice and public health systems is a big hurdle in getting the full scope of the femicide problem in the U.S.

On an expanded global scale, an estimated 47,000 women and girls were killed by intimate partners or family members in 2020 alone. That means one woman or girl is killed somewhere in the world every 11 minutes. In 2021, the Bureau of Justice Statistics showed that the percentage of women murdered by an intimate partner was 5 times higher than for males. Men are also victims of domestic abuse and violence but at a significantly lower rate than women.

Psychological violence is also a significant problem for women, with nearly half of all women (48.5%) in the U.S. experiencing psychological aggression from a partner in their lifetime. The statistics are objectively terrifying. However, the overwhelming majority of women don’t need to know the stats to feel unsafe; they live the stats every day of their lives.

The recent viral conversation of Man vs. Bear is an indicator of how universal the fear of men is among women. The hypothetical question posed by the pop culture account Screenshot HQ has been liked 2.2 million times and has 72 thousand comments.

When men were asked if they would rather their daughters be stuck in the woods with a man or a bear, many chose the bear as well. Why? Commentators have noted that men are unpredictable and are more likely to be a bigger threat than wild animals. Women are choosing the bears not because they think they would actually survive a bear attack but because men attack women unprovoked and for reasons that are often associated with the mere fact of just being a woman and nothing else.

@thearndtfamily

Thats crazy that other men feel like way.. #manorbear #husband #married #fyp

The Dating Hellscape

Dating is an emotional risk for both men and women; that’s clear. For women, however, the safety risk is undeniably greater than for men. In a world where dating has largely shifted into virtual spaces where all you have to go on is a few phrases and some photos, there’s no real way to determine if a man “looks” violent at worst or is a lying manipulator at best.

When Paola Sanchez launched the group “Are We Dating the Same Guy?”, women in the millions flocked to the groups. To date, there are over 200 Facebook groups with over 4 million members worldwide. Sanchez describes the groups as “Red Flag Awareness groups around the world where women can empower each other and keep each other safe from dangerous or toxic men.”

It’s a simple premise that has resulted in significant controversy, especially as stories of leaked posts that led to harassment and even violence from the men who found out about them emerge. There are also emotional and legal issues that some women have had to contend with as a result of their posts.

While the title of the group implies that the focus is on avoiding dating the same guy who is cheating with multiple women, the focus of most conversations is actually on discussing dating experiences. Women use these spaces to share red flags, post men’s dating profiles showing the first name only and photos (doxing is prohibited), and share their stories in hopes of saving other women from bad dating experiences, falling for catfishing and lies, cheating, catching sexually transmitted diseases, or encountering potentially dangerous men. Many women have, indeed, been saved from all of these things, which is why the groups are so popular.

Instagram post offering insights into Dating Experiences.Image shared by intersectmagazine on InstagramImage shared by intersectmagazine on Instagram

Ever since the AWDTSG groups entered the scene, many men have actively opposed the groups, claiming they’re toxic spaces where gossip thrives. Some of the claims have led to consequences for men in real life, such as losing relationships, being questioned by employers, and more. They have also led to consequences for women, who have been confronted by men they’ve discussed in the groups. Some have even been sued.

On one hand, critics of the groups have argued that it’s very difficult to verify what every person posts on the AWDTSG groups and that some women may have reasons to fabricate stories. Also, mental health practitioners have noted that a Facebook group likely isn’t the best space to discuss traumatic dating or relationship experiences. On the other hand, there are thousands of testimonials from members of the groups that have said the information they found saved them from unsavory experiences in the dating scene. Women have also reported cutting off men whom they were social friends with after they found out about instances of alleged abuse or misbehavior.

The Legal Battles and Outcomes

One of the men affected by the AWDTSG groups decided to sue. Stewart Lucas Murrey sued over 50 women in California for defamation, alleging sex-based discrimination and civil conspiracy. However, a judge recently dismissed the lawsuit against one of the women, Vanessa Valdez, who filed an anti-SLAPP motion arguing against censorship. Despite Murrey’s claims, the judge found no evidence of conspiracy and ruled in favor of free speech, emphasizing the importance of protecting women's security against harassment. Murrey vowed to continue his legal battle, but legal experts note the difficulty of defamation lawsuits, especially in cases involving online speech.

'Are We Dating The Same Guy' lawsuit press conferencewww.youtube.com

This isn’t the first defamation lawsuit made against women from an AWDTSG group. In Chicago, Nikko D'Ambrosio filed a lawsuit against 27 women over an allegedly defamatory post stating he sent harassing messages to women and was otherwise just a really low-quality and selfish person to date. D'Ambrosio's attorneys argued his reputation was damaged and sought intervention from Facebook and Meta. This lawsuit was eventually dismissed.

"Instagram post illustrating the news: A man sues 27 women over negative reviews posted in an 'Are We Dating the Same Guy' Facebook Group.Image shared by insider on InstagramImage shared by insider on Instagram

But as reported by “Tech Dirt,” “apparently D’Ambrosio is the kind of guy who won’t take no for an answer… Even from judges. He’s apparently the kind of guy that when his number gets blocked or his case gets thrown out, he’ll just text from a different number or file a brand new case.” D’Ambrosio refiled his case to attempt to relitigate whether his status as a serial ghoster is in fact warranted.

Instagram post illustrating the news: A man sues 27 women over negative reviews posted in an 'Are We Dating the Same Guy' Facebook Group.Image shared by its_onsite on IntagramImage shared by its_onsite on Intagram

When an overwhelming amount of women are choosing bear over men in hypothetical woods, and groups like “Are We Dating the Same Guy?” aren’t only racking up the legal wins but also racking up their number of members, it’s a good indication that AWDTSG isn’t going anywhere. If anything, women will likely continue to band together in search of safe spaces, despite the potential risk of leaks, lawsuits, and being confronted by the men they expose.

In a world where women’s claims of harassment or abuse by men are consistently ignored, dismissed, or simply not believed, women are protecting each other, attempting to fulfill the lack of societal protections, and carrying the feminist legacy of consciousness-raising groups.

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