As soon as our children are old enough to understand, we teach them not to talk to strangers. Be wary of strangers bearing gifts, travel in packs, there is safety in numbers and for heaven’s sake do not ever accept a ride from a stranger!
And yet, children are abducted by predators at an alarming rate across the globe, never to be seen again. My heart aches for all those parents who did everything right, (and even the ones that did not) and still lost their precious children to a predator.
We can teach our children all the right things and they can still be abducted right from under our noses. These people are professionals at what they do. They target malls, airports, and theme parks where a parent may be distracted. Vulnerable children make easy prey.
I remember being in Disney World with my six-year-old daughter and keeping her tethered so close to me you would have thought we were conjoined twins! Such was the hyper-vigilance I felt as the throngs of faces swarmed all around us. All it takes is a second and poof! Gone forever.
Always keep your wits about you to whiff the vile stench of a predator.
For most women, when it comes to the safety of our children, we have the heightened awareness of a mama grizzly protecting her cubs. But when it comes to our own safety, we can often let our guard down, especially in situations involving alcohol. It dulls the senses we need to protect ourselves from harm. To whiff the vile stench of a predator.
There have been several young women in my local area abducted from clubs and bars after a night of drinking. Somehow these unsuspecting gals are lured away from any friends they may be with and disappear into the night with a stranger.
One was miraculously recovered unharmed as local police were able to locate her via her cell phone signal. Another young mother was not so fortunate. She was discovered dead in the trunk of her abductor’s car.
Many years ago, I was out at a nightclub with a girlfriend when we were approached by two average-looking guys. They seemed nice enough at first, but it soon became clear they were looking for a pickup.
We very politely declined and asked them to please stop sending us drinks as they were wasting their time and money on us. We had not seen each other in a long time and requested our privacy so we could be alone to catch up.
These guys did not do subtle. I was beginning to get that creepy feeling, like when the hair at the back of your neck stands at attention. So eventually, we got up and left the club.
On the way home, we stopped at another club where a friend of ours was tending the bar. We ended up staying long after closing to help him clean up. By the time we left, in the wee hours of the morning, there was not another soul in sight.
We got into my car, and it would not start. Unbeknownst to us, these two creeps from the previous bar had followed us. They lurked patiently in the shadows, waiting to pounce on their prey. We were sitting ducks.
There is something very surreal about the moment you fear your life is about to end. It paralyzes you, much like an animal in the wild about to be consumed by a predator.
My heart pounded in my chest as one of them approached the driver’s side of my car. He reached through the window and wrapped his arm tightly around my shoulder.
Breathing heavily close to my face, he wreaked of stale beer. “Need some help ladies?”
The voice in my head screamed, “You are about to be attacked!” But strangely, I could not move. It was like being frozen in time. The proverbial, ‘deer in the headlights’ kind of thing. I had that moment when your life flashes before your eyes, just as it is about to end. Very surreal.
As the other would-be assailant approached the passenger side, my girlfriend, all of five foot one, suddenly went crazy. She found the voice of her inner grizzly and began screaming. She whipped the car door open, knocking the other guy back on his heels.
All it takes is a moment of paralyzing fear for the predator to overcome its prey.
At that point, I snapped out of whatever spell I was under and managed to scream too. That got the attention of a drifter coming out of a late-night biker bar down the street. I felt the icy grip release from my shoulder and these two guys jumped into their car and disappeared into the night.
Our screaming managed to scare these two jerks off. The biker dude, covered in tattoos, multiple piercings, and much scarier looking than the other two creeps, came to our aid. His voice was gentle and kind, asking us if we were okay.
He discovered that my battery cables had been severed, but he was able to get my car started on the alternator. He then turned to me and said, “Go straight home now…Do not stop anywhere because those guys are likely to follow you again.”
I honestly do not remember the ride home. It took months for the shock to wear off. Fear is a powerful weapon, as it had me completely paralyzed for a moment. That ‘moment’ is all a predator needs to overcome its prey. But we managed to survive thanks to my friend who reacted very differently.
The moral of the story may seem a bit cliché, but it is true. Do not ever judge a book by its cover.
The villains in this story were ordinary-looking guys. Clean cut nicely dressed and very pleasant at first. And the hero, in my eyes, turned out to be the scary-looking guy one might run away from.
We were incredibly lucky that night. Too many women are not. Had I been alone in that situation, I would not be sitting here telling you this story. The PTSD from such a fright can last a lifetime. That is of course if you are fortunate enough to survive and have a lifetime.
Shortly thereafter, I would have a vision of a more sinister outcome. In my dreams, they appeared as the wolf in sheep’s clothing. Somewhere, deep within the realms of all possibility, little red riding hood had not made it home that night.