TikTok might not be as popular as Facebook, the biggest social media platform on the planet, or as powerful as Twitter, where businesspeople and politicians congregate.
It might be almost as strong as Instagram, but not quite as popular. But many of the social media trends are still found on the platform. It’s where memes and viral content are created, as well as where challenges are created.
Young people on the internet and many teenagers from all over the world congregate on TikTok.
When they are at home or away from home, TikTok serves as their home. And this, it appears, that it saved a young girl from an elderly pedophile.
A 61-year-old man is accused of kidnapping a 16-year-old girl from North Carolina and forcing her to ride in the back seat of his silver Toyota Camry.
As they traveled in that direction, the young girl made a distressed hand signal there that has become common on TikTok.A passing driver apparently recognized this signal and understood the SOS message made famous by TikTok. While quietly dialing 911, the person kept track of the Camry and updated the authorities on its whereabouts.
“The complainant was behind the vehicle and noticed a female passenger in the vehicle making hand gestures that are known on the social media platform ‘TikTok’ to represent violence at home – I need help – domestic violence,” said Laurel County Sheriff John Root.
“The complainant advised 911 that the female appeared to be in distress. In addition, the complainant noted that the vehicle was being driven by a male subject.”
James Herbert Brick, a resident of Cherokee, North Carolina, was later revealed to be the older man.
Brick claimed to be traveling with the girl at the time to see his family in Ohio.
However, after spotting the girl, the authorities discovered that the 16-year-parents old’s in Asheville, North Carolina, had reported her missing a day earlier.
When they pulled over the car for a traffic stop on Interstate 75 in southern Kentucky, the authorities realized this, according to Sheriff Root.
“It was learned through investigation that the female passenger was a reported missing juvenile – reported by her parents on Tuesday morning missing from Asheville, North Carolina,” the Laurel Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post. “A check through NCIC confirmed that she was a reported missing person.”
“The female juvenile told Sheriff’s investigators that she had gotten with the male subject and traveled through North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and into Ohio where the accused had relatives.”
“When the male subject’s relatives realized that the female in his custody was under age and reported missing, the accused left Ohio traveling southbound and the female juvenile then began attempting to get motorists attention to call 911.”
Gilbert Acciardo, a deputy for Laurel County, said she initially had accompanied Brick voluntarily. Acciardo said that when she realized something was wrong, “I think she started fearing for her life.”
After being interrogated, Brick had his phone taken away. Authorities then discovered something even more sinister on the phone: a picture “that allegedly depicted a juvenile female in a sexual manner.”
This demonstrates Brick’s status as a child predator and pedophile.
Brick was subsequently taken to the Laurel County Correctional Center and charged with unlawful imprisonment and possessing materials depicting minors engaging in sex acts.
The hand signals include gestures made with a fist that is closed across the thumb that is positioned in front of the palm.
Together, they produce three signals that stand for “domestic violence,” “I need help,” and “violence at home.”The hand signals simply say “reach out to me safely,” not “call the police right away.”
Hand signals are said to be discreet and can be made with just one hand. Victims sometimes give off signals when they don’t want to alert their kidnappers or when they are in too much danger to speak freely.
During the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns, the SOS became a common way for people to signal that they were in dangerous circumstances at home.
The United Nations reported that during lockdowns, domestic abuse cases rose by as much as 20%, part of a worrying pattern the organization dubbed a “shadow pandemic.”
After domestic violence victims were increasingly trapped inside with their abusers, posts elaborating on the gestures started to circulate on TikTok in 2020.
Due to their impact on users’ mental health, social media networks generally have received mixed to unfavorable reviews. Social media platforms have dealt with bullies, trolls, and suicide cases for more than a few years.
However, in some instances, such as this one, social media platforms do assist in raising awareness which is proving essential in aiding victims.
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