It was a Sunday after morning church service. My client was on her third date with a very charming man she met a few weeks prior at a business-networking event. The plan was for them to go from church to brunch and then possibly a walk in the park. En route to eat, the man asked to briefly stop at his place to check on his sick dog. My client obliged, and seconds after they reached his apartment, she was assaulted. True story.

Sadly, this is not uncommon. Date assaults have drastically increased over the years. In 2011, 57% of rape assaults happened on a date. Single women face this reality every time they walk out the door with plans to meet a stranger.

The best defense against being assaulted when on a date is a good offense. Taking the proper steps prior to and on the date can be the difference between life and death – seriously. I want to teach you how to date safely. I cannot stress the importance of this.

Here are 15 things you should always do to ensure you’re dating safe. Take notes, please.