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Could you recognize this discreet distress signal?

TikTok Distress Signal saves 16 year old girl

by Kurt Knutsson

A passing motorist in Kentucky noticed the understated hand signal being shown his way from a 16 year old girl traveling down the highway with a man in his sixties.  The familiarity of the “Signal for Help” grew in 2020 as a way of domestic abuse victims calling for help.

It has been used in video calls, recorded by webcams and uploaded to TikTok as a means to summons help in a circumstance where it is too difficult to freely speak out loud without tipping off the abuser.

In this recent case, an attentive guy passing the car saw the girl making the hand gesture signaling distress, notified the police and the 61 year old driver was soon arrested and the underage teen rescued.  The girl who had been reported missing by her parents from their North Carolina home was smart enough to show this unique distress hand gesture and get returned home safely.

Would your know this distress signal if you saw it?

Here is how this SOS signal for help works.

  1. Hold hand up facing other person with thumb folded over palm
  2. Close fingers over thumb making a fist as if to show your thumb trapped


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