PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — A North Carolina teen is safe after using a hand sign she learned on social media to signal for help.
Police said she was found riding in a car in Kentucky with a man 40-years older than her. While on the road, she signaled to a passing driver that she needed help, and they recognized it. It’s something she learned on TikTok after it was shared by the Canadian Women’s Foundation.
Center for Prevention of Abuse CEO Carol Merna said she is thankful the young woman is safe. She said though the signal worked for her, it might not work in all cases.
Merna encourages people to look for signs of abuse in family, friends, and colleagues.
“The best thing to do is to have a very private conversation with them, asking very simple questions if they’re able to answer them,” said Merna. “But also to let them know you’re concerned and then listening.”
She said at the center, they offer free and confidential resources and create safety plans for survivors, too.
“That’s creating the best plan possible to keep you safe, should you choose to leave your abusive situation. What’s the safest room in your house, who can you call?” said Merna.
Merna also said every abuse situation is different. She said creating individual signs with trusted individuals can be more helpful than using one that is easily recognizable.
People can receive help from the Center for Prevention of Abuse by calling the crisis hotline at 1-800-599-SAFE (7233). The resources are all free and confidential.
“If it is time, and it’s your choice to leave an abusive situation, we believe you and the Center for Prevention of Abuse is here for you,” said Merna.