On November 11, a seemingly normal Hinge date turned brutally violent, and Brittany Correri is grateful that she got away with her life.
Correri said that the evening was going normally, but when they got in the man’s car after their date, he started viciously beating her face and body.
In an exclusive interview with Narcity, Correri opened up about her assault, the arrest of her attacker, the power of sharing her harrowing experience on social media, and the healing process ahead of her.
The man, now identified as 31-year-old Benjamin Fancher, allegedly held Correri against her will and continued to beat her for hours.
Ultimately, Fancher stopped the car and pulled out a gun. Correri's attacker attempted to drag her out of the car, but there was a security guard on the street who ran over to intervene and Fancher fled the scene.
"My sister really encouraged me... to get him found."
Following her attack, Correri was immediately outspoken on Instagram, sharing the details about her horrific assault and warning people about Fancher, who was on the run. “My sister really encouraged me to put it out there and to get him found,” she told Narcity.
Her social media posts drew the attention of thousands of people sending their support and even starting investigations of their own into Fancher. “I’ve had people paying for crazy background reports,” she shared.
Correri’s story went viral, and as a result, someone recognized her attacker and reported him to police. On November 17, Fancher was arrested in Kent, New York, on charges of kidnapping, false imprisonment, and aggravated assault.
"I felt so relieved."
Correri said that she and her family were flooded with emotions upon Fancher's arrest. “At first, my sister and I were jumping up and down with joy laughing. I felt so relieved. Then it turned into crying, and then it turned into, wow, now I can really start to process everything that's happened and begin the healing process.”
“She recognized him and she spent the whole day trying to help us get him captured."
During the search for Fancher, Correri was in touch with an investigator at the Atlanta Police Department who she said was very informative. But when her attacker was arrested, Correri found out from the woman in New York who turned Fancher in.
Correri said that the woman had been persistently messaging her on social media, but she had hundreds of direct messages and thought it was a hoax.
Correri’s sister encouraged her to answer the woman and when she did, the woman shared that she connected with Fancher on another dating app, Tinder. “She recognized him and she spent the whole day trying to help us get him captured,” said Correri.
"A week later, [Fancher] was on another one of their platforms where he was essentially staking out his next prey."
For Correri and her attorney, Michael Sterling, it was especially disturbing to hear that Fancher was able to get on another dating app.
Sterling feels that Match Group, the company that owns both Hinge and Tinder, did not do enough to prevent another attack. “A week later, [Fancher] was on another one of their platforms where he was essentially staking out his next prey,” said Sterling.
“That's extremely concerning that the person who owns all of these platforms could have somehow flagged this issue and stopped him from using their app to go on another date.”
In a statement to Narcity, Hinge commented, “Our moderators reviewed [Correri’s] report and immediately removed and banned the individual from our community. We take any incident of assault seriously, and we ban anyone accused of violent behavior from our platform.”
"If all I did out of this was save one life, that’s incredible."
Narcity asked Correri about how she felt that her efforts on social media may have very well saved another’s life. She responded, “If all I did out of this was save one life, that’s incredible. I'm amazed and I'm grateful that she saw it before she went out with him, because he was just going on about his life as if nothing happened.”
Correri believes that if Fancher had gone on another date, “It would have turned out the same way if not worse. He is evil and a true devil on Earth.”
"My life is forever changed."
Now that Fancher is behind bars, Correri is moving forward with the healing process. She recognizes that the journey ahead of her will be difficult. “I have my moments where I'm just shaking and sobbing. Then, I pull it back together and I'll hop on [social media] and read uplifting words from people all around the world.”
Correri is focused on her physical and psychological care, and she’s planning to take self-defense classes. “My life is forever changed,” shared Correri. “I feel like a newborn almost. I have a new life ahead of me. I'm open to whatever is thrown my way to bring healing.” She also plans to get involved in victim advocacy groups so that she can share her survival story and help others who have been through similar traumas.
"I don't know exactly what direction my life is going, but it's definitely going to be dedicated to advocating for many things as well as domestic abuse."
"Do not get in the car with them..."
As for online dating, Correri shared advice for those who use apps like Hinge and Tinder. "Do not get in the car with them, because once you're in a car, it's different than being in a public place or even at a home where you have some chance of escaping," Correri urged. "Meet up with a friend or a relative, like a double date. And also, do some research on who you're going out with. It doesn't take much time and effort."
Overall, Brittany is thankful for her family, her attorney, law enforcement, and each stranger who supported her and helped bring her attacker to justice. "I'm just so grateful. I'm so grateful to be alive. I'm grateful that I'm going to be able to be a part of the change that has to happen."