In 2020, where most were still quarantined due to the pandemic, a hand signal was created by the Canadian Woman’s Foundation to help aid those who are suffering from domestic abuse or violence. Now, it is reported that the signal helped rescue a teenager in North Carolina who was abducted.
Laurel County Sheriff’s Office posted on November 5th that a 16-year-old girl, originally from Asheville, North Carolina, was rescued after the driver behind the accused, named James Herbert Brick, spotted the young girl making the hand motion that asks for help. The driver then called 911, saying she appeared to be in distress.
It was then when it was discovered that the teenager in the vehicle was a missing juvenile, reported missing the Tuesday prior. In this post, it is noted that the hand gestures were “Tik Tok” to represent violence at home – I need help – domestic violence.”
The hand signal became popular during Covid-19, where many were worried that those who abused at home would not have a safe space to open up or seek help, especially if they would be quarantining in the home with their abuser. This created the need for a discrete hand signal to ask for help, especially with the rise of online video chatting. The gesture shows the palm flat, brings the thumb in touching the palm, then wraps the fingers around it. This signal can be done silently after getting someone’s attention; the goal is to be able to safely ask for help without notifying the abuser.
Many are hopeful that the sign will continue to grow on TikTok, which has millions of users and grows each day, but will also grow and reach other platforms, as well. TikTok users are using creative skits or examples of this sign for help so that people can not only use it when they need to signal for help, but they can also recognize it in others should they be in the situation.