Her life was on the line, and she did the one thing that could save her: She ordered pizza.

On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically assaulted by an intimate partner.

Domestic violence affects an estimated4 million womeneach year. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 in 3 women (and 1 in 4 men) have been the victim of physical violence at the hands of a current or former intimate partner.

While it might seem as simple as just leaving for those of us who aren't stuck in those kinds of relationships, it's nowhere near that easy for many abuse survivors.


This is why it's so important for 911 operators, police officers, and all of us, really, to be able to read between the lines in these types of situations.

One incredible story of a woman using 911 to help escape an abusive relationship happened in 2015.

Cheryl Treadway of Highlands County, Florida, escaped a hostage situation with the help of her cell phone and a local Pizza Hut.

Treadway and her children were being held at knifepoint by her boyfriend Ethan Nickerson. So she placed an order on her phone's Pizza Hut app — a small hand-tossed pizza with pepperoni. Oh yeah, it also came with a note telling store owners that she was being held hostage and asking them to please send help.

Upon receiving her order, the local Pizza Hut called the police, who arrived at her home and arrested the boyfriend.



Treadway's story brings to mind a chilling anti-domestic violence PSA that ran a few years back during the Super Bowl.

The PSA features a woman on the phone with police, but acting as though she's ordering a pizza.

And, while No More — the organization behind that Super Bowl PSA — isn't exactly everything it claims to be, the message in the PSA is no less valid.

The scenario in the PSA played out in real life and was shared on reddit by the 911 operator.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline has many resources for people stuck in an abusive relationship, including a safety planning tool.

The safety planning tool is really helpful for abuse survivors looking for a way out, and it includes details on the different types of plans, tips on how to leave an abusive relationship, and a guideline to some basic legal info.

What if the Pizza Hut manager didn't think to call 911 in Treadway's situation? What if the operator in the PSA didn't catch on to the caller's message? Luckily, they did. Still, it's important to know that not every warning sign will light up like a road flare. Sometimes, people are asking for help and we just might not be listening.

Thankfully, some out there are listening. And in doing so, they're saving lives.

The article was originally published in 2015, it has been updated.

More

Image by Brent Connelly from Pixabay and sixthformpoet / Twitter

Twitter user Matt, who goes by the name @SixthFormPoet, shared a dark love story on Twitter that's been read by nearly 600,000 people. It starts in a graveyard and feels like it could be the premise for a Tim Burton film.

While it's hard to verify whether the story is true, Matt insists that it's real, so we'll believe him.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

"Clay's tallest story" is one we should all stop to listen to, no matter how much we think we know about mental health. What starts off as a forgettable fishing video quickly turns into a powerful metaphor about mental health.

What would you do if an unexpected gust of wind pushed your boat out to sea? You'd call for help. It's so obvious, why would anyone think differently? But when it comes to our mental health, things often appear so much more unnecessarily complicated. Thanks for the reminder, Clay!


Clay’s Tallest Story www.youtube.com

Heroes
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Approximately 10% of the population is left-handed, and the balance between lefties and righties has been the same for almost 5,000 years. People used to believe that left-handed people were evil or unlucky. The word "sinister" is even derived from the Latin word for "left."

In modern times, the bias against lefties for being different is more benign – spiral notebooks are a torture device, and ink gets on their hands like a scarlet letter. Now, a new study conducted at the University of Oxford and published in Brain is giving left-handers some good news. While left-handers have been struggling with tools meant for right-handers all these years, it turns out, they actually possess superior verbal skills.

Researchers looked at the DNA of 400,000 people in the U.K. from a volunteer bank. Of those 400,000 people, 38,332 were southpaws. Scientists were able to find the differences in genes between lefties and righties, and that these genetic variants resulted in a difference in brain structure, too. "It tells us for the first time that handedness has a genetic component," Gwenaëlle Douaud, joint senior author of the study and a fellow at Oxford's Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging, told the BBC.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

Pete the Plant is a maidenhair fern living in the Rainforest Life exhibit at the London Zoo, but Pete the Plant isn't like other plants. Pete the Plant is also a budding photographer. Scientists in the Zoological Society of London's (ZSL) conservation tech unit has been teaching the plant how to take selfies.

The ZSL held a competition in partnership with Open Plant, Cambridge University, and the Arribada Initiative for the design of a fuel cell powered by plants. Plant E in the Netherlands produced the winning design. The prototype cell creates electricity from the waste from the plant's roots. The electricity will be used to charge a battery that's attached to a camera. Once Pete the Plant grows strong enough, it will then use the camera to take a selfie. Not too bad for a plant.

"As plants grow, they naturally deposit biomatter into the soil they're planted in, which bacteria in the soil feeds on – this creates energy that can be harnessed by fuel cells and used to power a wide range of conservation tools," Al Davies, ZSL's conservation technology specialist, explains.

RELATED: This plant might be the answer to water pollution we've been searching for

Keep Reading Show less
Innovation