Family Law Quarterly
We have all seen the ads and heard the jingles. Some of us may have even visited the websites. "Come meet your soul mate, come meet your future spouse, come find true love, at Match.com, at eHarmony.com, at Yahoo." Internet dating is a booming business. In 2005, an estimated sixteen million Americans spent more than $245 million looking for love on the Internet. Approximately ten-million Americans are current online daters. In addition to these digital matchmakers, social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace and You Tube offer amazing online communities where folks can advertise their best features. Then, there is Google. Many on the dating circuit use that powerful search engine to find information about a person of interest and swear by Google as an essential resource. Finally, there is an expanding dating-security industry where background check firms will verify age, identity, address, marital status, and criminal history. Some dating sites and social networks have even begun incorporating background checks into their business models. Information is the currency of our time. This fact is true in many aspects of our lives today. It comes as no surprise that it is true in our decisions about love and intimacy, too.
Despite the remarkable reliance on the Internet as a source of information, we have yet to fully take advantage of it in our movement against domestic violence. The movement has been around for a long time now, and it has had an enormous impact on the ways we view domestic violence. Nevertheless, domestic violence continues to occur at worrisome levels and to be a serious problem for our communities. As a result, the movement against domestic violence has reached a stage where its members are hotly debating the success of the changes they have implemented. There is significant disagreement and conflict over whether reforms over the past thirty-five years are working or whether the movement needs to find new approaches.