Reality is often scarier than fiction. And not all stories have a happy ending like this one. A kidnapped girl from North Carolina used a distress signal she learned on TikTok to alert nearby drivers she needed help.
Luckily, a motorist recognized the gesture and called 911. They stayed on the line, following the kidnapper’s van and telling police where he was going. Then, Kentucky authorities arrested the alleged kidnapper and rescued his 16-year-old victim.
Last year, U.S. authorities talked about banning TikTok as a national security threat. But it’s clear that in this case, the app was one girl’s saving grace. Read on to learn the international hand gesture you should use when you need help.
Three quick hand movements can change your life
If you ever want to let other people know you’re in danger, use the Signal for Help. The Canadian Women’s Foundation spread the nonverbal cue across social media apps in 2020. That’s because COVID lockdowns led to increased domestic violence rates, as a study from UC Davis found.
When victims are stuck in isolation with abusers, it’s hard to raise the alarm. Speaking out could alert the abuser in the next room, triggering another violent episode. But with this simple hand gesture, domestic abuse survivors could send a silent distress signal over a video call.
If you have young children in your family, teach them this discreet request for help. It can help catch predators like in this story.
Police rescued the victim after she had been missing for two days — and we don’t want to think about what could have happened if a driver hadn’t recognized the signal. Tap or click here to learn more about this one small hand gesture that means so much.
Disasters strike when you least expect them
Laurel County Sheriff’s deputies arrested the man and charged him with first-degree unlawful imprisonment and possession of sexual content of a minor under 18 but over 12. Here’s what the police had to say about it on Facebook.
You never know when a kidnapper is going to attack the ones you love. Prepare ahead of time by teaching the hand signal to people in your life. That way, they could save a life, like the 911 caller in this story.
Here’s a video clip from the Canadian Women’s Foundation that shows the Signal for Help in action:
In this case, TikTok saved a life. The Canadian Women’s Foundation spread this video as well as other images across social media. That’s how the young girl was able to learn it and use it. If you want to spread the word, too, consider sharing this story on social media.
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