After a 911 caller reported that the teenager used hand gestures to indicate domestic violence, a rescue team was called and the teenager was found.
Since the pandemic, reports of increasing domestic abuse have made these symbols popular on TikTok.
The 61-year old man who was found with the teenager was taken into custody for unlawful imprisonment and child pornography possession.
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According to reports, a missing North Carolina teenager was saved after she made a TikTok hand gesture that indicated she was in danger.
Fox 8 Cleveland reported that the 16-year old was found in Kentucky after a 911 caller said that a female passenger was riding in the car in front of them and was using the signals. According to the Laurel County Sheriff's Office investigators found Herbert Brick, a driver of the vehicle, with a photograph of the teen engaging in sexual acts.
According to the report, her parents reported her missing on Tuesday. Brick was seen driving with the girl from Ohio to meet her parents. However, Brick's relatives expressed concern over Brick's age and she was reported missing.
Brick is currently in Laurel County Correctional Center. He was taken into custody for unlawful imprisonment and possession of material showing sexual activity by a child, Fox8 reported.
These signals, which are a combination of three hand gestures that communicate "violence at the home", "I need to help," and "domestic abuse," have been spread on TikTok in an effort to assist victims of abuse. One video that has been shared more than 130,000 times and has more than 3.5million views is a demonstration of how a woman can subtly use these signals while she is on a video chat with a friend.
These posts circulated first in June 2020, in conjunction with reports that domestic violence rates increased worldwide due to coronavirus lockdowns which left many victims locked inside with their abusers. The disturbing trend that the United Nations calls a "shadow epidemic" is the fact that domestic abuse cases increased by up to 20% during lockdowns.
The increased rate of domestic violence is leading to more deaths in the US. According to Axios, 17 victims of domestic violence died in Iowa last week. This is the highest number reported by the state since 2010.
Users have shared public service posts on TikTok over the past year, showing how to use signals. This has helped raise awareness and is vital for victims such as the North Carolina teenager.
One TikTok user wrote in September that he hadn't seen the "violence at home" signal. It would only work if everyone knew about it. It is so important to share and watch!