Autism and Vulnerability

As someone autistic, I know how vulnerable I can be at times.

I have to think hard to understand that things may not be as they seem.

There have been posts here recently about 'friendship' and dating.  From a general point of view there are several things to look out for where others could take advantage of autistic traits. And one of them is someone who says they are neurotypical but are looking for someone autistic.

This begs the question 'Why?'  I think we would all be very suspicious of a middle aged man who said he wanted to meet girls of thirteen or fourteen.  It woujld immediately send alarm bells ringing.  And by the same token we should be very wary if someone says they are neurotypical and then wishes to make friends with and date autistic people.  My thoughts of this that spring to mind are that it may be someone who wishes to take advantage of autistic naiivity, someone who wants to lead us gradually to places we are not comfortable.  Add to the mix the first thing they say is that they want to see pictures of us and we are getting into very dangerous territory if we are not careful.

Our details could be shared with any number of strangers, the word could get out of our vulnerabilities which have been coaxed out of us and this used by any number of people to exploit us.  And just because someone says they live in Birmingham or Manchester or wherever, does not mean it is true.  It could be to lead us into a false sense of security, 

And then there are the 'hard-luck' stories.  Who can forget the 'Nigerian' emails of a few years ago where untold riches were promised in return for a sum of money to release funds.  And then the emails purporting to be from a bank.  Such things are getting more and more sophisticated. We could give our details to any number of people who want to exploit us through befriending just one person.

Several years ago  an email which purported to be from a loved one, saying they were trapped in a foreign country and needed money immediately to get home.  The address was got from harvesting addresses from a friends computer.  And I have suspicions that befriending some of these people might also lead to such hard luck stories or similar.

It is very difficult to tell who is genuine and who is not but we should all be very careful.  I know it is difficult to say that all posts asking for dating should be removed.  But I believe this should be done in order to protect us.  This forum should not be a dating site.  And none of us should reveal personal details to anyone until we are absolutely certain that someone is bona fide.  To do otherwise could have tragic consequences.

The following song is quite relevant:

Add me by Chumbawamba

  • I thought it was time to revive this thread as it is probably more appropriate for my thoughts on how sometimes we can become the victims of someone unscrupulous.

    There was a programme on television a week or two ago (think it was a repeat) about a teenager who used his knowledge of computer games to lure and trap another teenager and eventually get to meet him with extremely tragic consequences.   The perpetrator of this is now serving a lengthy prison sentence, but this will not bring the other lad back.  There are stories that the perpetrator was autistic (anything to make autistic people seem dangerous to society).  He manipulated several younger lads but the lad he murdered he groomed into eventually meeting him.

    Now I am not saying this is the motive of anyone who has posted on here.  But we just don't know what the motive of someone may me.  Someone who in original posts says they are not autistic, they were blind but now can see, they ask for people to post pictures of themselves, they want 'friends' on here but then ask for pictures and addresses as their first message, and they are marrying someone from somewhere where the human rights record is dubious and have never met, and they have made posts with much conflicting information.

    There are all sorts of questions here about vulnerabilities, both with the person concerned and what is being asked of others.  It may be totally innocent but there are enough questions to be answered that put questions in my mind and make me suspicious.

    I said before that I believe this forum should not be a dating site.  And I still believe that.  Too many of us (me included) are vulnerable in one way or another and can drop our guard at certain times.  And although myself I am not interested in dating anyone, I can see how those who are could be taken in by someone out of curiosity or because they are desperate for companionship. And certain people, who are well practised in seeming genuine will take advantage of this.  Certainly if someone begins to ask for details of date of birth, address, etc do not divulge this.  Pay no one any money however desperate they sound or however good the 'investment' may seem (and, as an aside, this includes beggars on the street - too many times money gven to them ends up not for food but to feed a drug habit). 

    And I would advise anyone not to meet someone alone whom they met online and have never met before. Meet in a public place, as busy as your autism allows it to be, take someone with you and be prepared to walk away if behaviour or language begin to get inappropriate.

    Be safe!

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