TikTok distress signal

Domestic violence signal for help.

Just one hand gesture, a simple tucking of the thumb into the palm and covering it with fingers, was all it took to save a life. And now, the new SOS signal is making headlines with the aim of having it universally known and to save others.

This hand gesture was created by the Canadian Women's Foundation to make reaching out for help easier for people at risk of abuse at home during the COVID-19 lockdown. The "Signal For Help" was a silent, yet effective communication tool on video calls. In the video demonstration below, you can see that while the two women talk about banana bread, the real conversation is hidden.


One driver saw a teen using the hand gesture and recognized it from TikTok, where the videos had been going viral. The girl had in fact been abducted and reported missing from North Carolina and had been driven by her captor all the way to Kentucky. Though the girl and her kidnapper were reported to have been acquaintances, and she had gone with him willingly at first, it had quickly become apparent to her that something was off and she needed to get help fast.

Recognizing the covert plea, the driver immediately called the police to report suspicious behavior, then followed the car until deputies were able to stop and make an arrest. According to an article in The New York Times, authorities found that the man's cellphone contained images that "portrayed a juvenile female in a sexual manner." That man is now charged with first-degree unlawful imprisonment as well as possession of matter portraying sexual performance of a minor. And most importantly, that 16-year-old girl is back home and safe.

It's unclear how long the girl had been calling for help before one person recognized the distress signal, but the need to make it more universally known is apparent. In an interview with CBS News, Darlene Thomas, who runs a support group for domestic violence survivors, likened the signal to flipping the light on for the neighbors, or using a certain code word in a text, saying TikTok is "just another platform" to share this important information.

After the Laurel County Sheriff's Office posted a statement about the arrest on Facebook, one person commented "I mean maybe social media isn't that bad after all! Thank god this girl was saved!!!" Others commented that this should be taught in schools.

Social media is normally a whirling barrage of animal videos, weird memes and overall things to distract us from everyday life. But let's face it, it's our main source of communication and connection. One idea or piece of information can spread worldwide in a millisecond. When we use that to our advantage, social media can add a little more value than a viral tweet. And in cases like this, social media can be a force for good that can actually save lives.

Let this new "Signal For Help" remind us all to stay aware and stay connected. Sometimes the smallest gesture can make the biggest difference.

Joy

Meet Eva, the hero dog who risked her life saving her owner from a mountain lion

Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva when a mountain lion suddenly appeared.

Photo by Didssph on Unsplash

A sweet face and fierce loyalty: Belgian Malinois defends owner.

The Belgian Malinois is a special breed of dog. It's highly intelligent, extremely athletic and needs a ton of interaction. While these attributes make the Belgian Malinois the perfect dog for police and military work, they can be a bit of a handful as a typical pet.

As Belgian Malinois owner Erin Wilson jokingly told NPR, they’re basically "a German shepherd on steroids or crack or cocaine.”

It was her Malinois Eva’s natural drive, however, that ended up saving Wilson’s life.

According to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva slightly ahead of her when a mountain lion suddenly appeared and swiped Wilson across the left shoulder. She quickly yelled Eva’s name and the dog’s instincts kicked in immediately. Eva rushed in to defend her owner.

It wasn’t long, though, before the mountain lion won the upper hand, much to Wilson’s horror.

She told TODAY, “They fought for a couple seconds, and then I heard her start crying. That’s when the cat latched on to her skull.”

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Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy asked his Senate colleagues the questions millions of Americans have after a mass shooting.

Another school shooting. Another mass murder of innocent children. They were elementary school kids this time. There were 18 children killed—so far—this time.

The fact that I can say "this time" is enraging, but that's the routine nature of mass shootings in the U.S. It happened in Texas this time. At least three adults were killed this time. The shooter was a teenager this time.

The details this time may be different than the last time and the time before that, and the time before that, and the time before that. But there's one thing all mass shootings have in common. No, it's not mental illness. It's not racism or misogyny or religious extremism. It's not bad parenting or violent video games or lack of religion.

Some of those things have been factors in some shootings, but the single common denominator in every mass shooting is guns. That's not a secret. It's not controversial. It's fact. The only thing all mass shootings have in common is guns.

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Joy

Man uses TikTok to offer 'dinner with dad' to any kid that needs one, even adult ones

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud.

Come for the food, stay for the wholesomeness.

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud. His TikTok channel is dedicated to giving people intimate conversations they might long to have with their own father, but can’t. The most popular is his “Dinner With Dad” segment.

The concept is simple: Clayton, aka Dad, always sets down two plates of food. He always tells you what’s for dinner. He always blesses the food. He always checks in with how you’re doing.

I stress the stability here, because as someone who grew up with a less-than-stable relationship with their parents, it stood out immediately. I found myself breathing a sigh of relief at Clayton’s consistency. I also noticed the immediate emotional connection created just by being asked, “How was your day?” According to relationship coach and couples counselor Don Olund, these two elements—stability and connection—are fundamental cravings that children have of their parents. Perhaps we never really stop needing it from them.


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