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The pretty ponytailed blond plucked me out of travel purgatory and offered me a place to crash during my one-night layover in Rome.
Milena smiled in her photo, as if caught mid-laugh, raising her wine glass in a toast.
I should have realized that risking my life wasn’t worth saving twenty-five euros.
I should have considered the risks of staying with someone I didn’t know.
I might only be in Europe once in my life, and I was tired of being a tourist.
Since it went public in 2004, the community has ballooned to seven million members in 100,000 cities. It all started from one chain email sent by Casey Felton, the site’s founder, to 1,500 students on his trip to Iceland asking for a place to stay.
When we arrived, I realized Milena’s house wasn’t really a house but instead a tiny attached apartment cluttered with piles of clothes and magazines.
In response, she started an online petition to demand “end complicity in the sexual assault of its users.” According to the site’s safety tips, references are the best protection against possible predators.
He allegedly sexually assaulted her twice and she claimed that he later forced her to take a bath in order to remove incriminating evidence.
He was found guilty of two counts of rape and one count of sexual assault and is serving a ten-year sentence.
I was relieved that I would soon get some rest, even if the company had changed.
Twenty minutes later, a twenty-three-year-old guy showed up on a moped.
I asked where I would sleep, even though I knew what he was going to say.