They say to write about what you know. Unfortunately I have learned something about abduction and molestation, fortunately due in some part to luck I am still around to write about it.
Every time I read about a child molestation or abduction I regret not having been more vocal. I hope this story will give insight both to parents and to children on how to avoid becoming a victim.
My summers were spent at a lake and when I was not swimming I was walking several times a day from my house to my friend’s house about three quarters of a mile away. I was probably around twelve when I made a decision that could have cost me my life.
In those days everyone in the neighborhood knew everyone else; so although I was surprised whan a neighbor rolled down his window, I certainly didn’t feel the need to run. The neighbor called me over and said with concern, “Are you alright?” “Get in the car and I’ll take you home.”
Of course I was alright. I made the trek from my house to my friend’s sometimes six times a day and I was almost within sight of my house. For some reason I will never understand I got in the man’s car.
I analyzed it at the time and I have reflected on it with the distance of time. I will never understand why I got into that car; I immediately realized that I shouldn’t have. The only reason I can give is although I didn’t know the man personally I had heard his name and knew that he had children older than myself. Did he mean me harm? Maybe he thought I was upset, but I certainly wasn’t crying and it was a beautiful summer afternoon, so there was nothing that could have concerned him there. It doesn’t make sense, but his asking if I were alright actually made me wonder if I were. Somehow that and the fact that I knew who he was made me obey him when he told me to get into his car. I can still remember thinking why have I done this? I sat as near the door as I could and was thinking about jumping out of the moving car. To my relief he did turn and drive toward my house and let me out. I was so embarrassed by the fact that I had gotten into a stranger’s car that I never mentioned the incident to my parents.
Was this a concerned neighbor who went out of his way to take me home, or was it someone with something else on his mind. I will never know and will always be thankful that my mistake ended up okay. What I’m hoping to get across to parents and children is just how easily abductions can happen. More importantly, children like myself who are extremly comfortable around adults can actually be in more danger because they don’t see adults as threatening.
I hope this starts a dialog between parents and children or even between children and their peers. Almost weekly children are told to run and yell if a stranger approaches, but abductors have a sixth sense when hunting their prey. In my case I’m sure this man had watched my daily comings and goings. His approach caught me totally off balance-he would have had time to plan-I on the other hand had only an instant to react. If he really had something on his mind why didn’t he follow through? During this interaction I felt that within seconds of my entering the car that the neighbor had a change of heart. At twelve I was 5’6″ and working at our store had certainly made me stronger than the average twelve year old girl. Then it was before automatic car locks and I sat close to the door. I also lived on a dirt road with a lot of curves so it would have been difficult to build up any speed. If he had planned to abduct me there was also the possibility that he was afraid someone had seen him pick me up.
Maybe his intentions weren’t good but because nothing happened I was too embarrassed to tell my parents. I felt that it was my fault that I had looked distressed walking down the road. I certainly didn’t want to get someone in trouble who had only tried to help me.
The thing that parents need to stress and kids need to understand is that in many cases the first contact you have with a possible abductor has been planned. The only wrong thing you can do is not telling your parents or authorities about chance encounters.