I haven’t stopped obsessing over the new Netflix Documentary “Tinder Swindler” since I watched it over the weekend after a friend highly recommended it to me (it’s since broken records for claiming the number one spot globally, which no Documentary has ever done before).
I’ve passed on the recommendation to many others, many of whom have become as equally obsessed as I have.
I myself have never used a dating app in my life. They didn’t exist the last time I dated over 30 years ago but I have had the pleasure of witnessing several single friends of mine over the years find their forever person using these apps but sadly there have been many more who have been left in tears from the disappointment and frustration that can come from trying to wean out all the fakes, liars and scammers that flock to these sites to prey on the lives of lonely, vulnerable people.
I can only ever empathize with people who have fallen victim to the fraudsters out there on the World Wide Web whether it be through a catfishing scheme I’ve seen on TV or read about or ones like the elaborate romance scam that took place in the Documentary “Tinder Swindler”.
The Documentary focuses on Shimon Hayut (who has many other aliases including Simon which is the name he most goes by). He is an Israeli native who began luring women into his life several years ago through Tinder. He tricked his victims into believing he was a very wealthy man (billionaire actually), which he wasn’t. Instead he created a web of lies while gaining the trust of innocent women from all over Europe by taking them on extravagant and lavish dates all over the world.
These women wanted nothing more than to fall in love. He manipulated them into believing he loved them, wanting to marry them and one day have his children but meanwhile all he was doing was manipulating them into giving their life savings to him (promising to pay them back) in order to save him from his “enemies” in the diamond industry who were supposedly trying to hurt him (and he even went so far as to send them photos of his bodyguard with a bloody head) and then used their money to woo his next victim.
Many people watching this unfold on their TV screens were thinking “how could these women be so naive or dumb?” while many others have since taken to social media to troll and shame these women for falling into his prey.
It’s so easy for us to sit and judge others as we watch from the sidelines and victim shame but we lose our focus and forget just how much courage and strength it must’ve taken for these women to come forward (there are 3 victims featured in the film) and share both their reality and horror with the world that took place at the hands of this scumbag narcissist who threatened them when they stopped sending money.
I think the biggest problem with victim shaming is denial. People looking on want so badly to believe that they would NEVER fall victim to these types of crimes. We see it all the time in cases of sexual and domestic violence as well. Asking a victim of sexual abuse why it took them so long to come forward or questioning why a person doesn’t just pack their bags and leave their abusive partner. It’s not always that easy and only makes it harder for the next innocent person to come forward.
We need to encourage victims (aka survivors) of all types of domestic, sexual and romance crimes to know that it’s not their fault and we need to remember that compassion, empathy and kindness towards others goes a whole lot further than blaming and shaming ever will.
*If you haven’t watched “Tinder Swindler” yet, don’t miss out! Go grab a bowl of popcorn and join in on this very important conversation.
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