WARNING: DISTURBING POST AHEAD!
Below you'll see a video that rocked the city of Philadelphia over the summer. It is distressing and disturbing footage of a grown man trying to abduct a 10 year old girl on a city street in broad daylight. Luckily, this girl was brave enough to put up such a fight that the abductor ultimately decided it was not worth it and he fled. He was later caught.
Last week, in my own neighborhood, mere blocks from my home there was an abduction attempt of an 8 year old girl (or so Fox News has reported). Again, luckily for that young girl and her family, she got away. That same perpetrator is reported to have been attempting to lure other children at or near at least two of our local schools. I understand this person was caught but was not charged and is thus able to continue to troll our streets for children.
Just over the bridge in New Jersey this past week, 12 year old Autumn Pasquale went for a bike ride and never returned home. She was lured into a home by two teenage boys and killed.
On the other side of the country, in Colorado on or about October 5th, 10 year old Jessica Ridgeway was abducted on her way to school, savagely killed and dismembered. Again, by a teenage boy.
If you do not think that these things happen in your neighborhood or on your street or in your quiet, idyllic community, I'm here to tell you that they happen everywhere and they can happen anywhere at any time.
These few cases I've mentioned above? Tip of the iceberg.
If you've followed my blog for any length of time, you know that this subject matter has been an obsession of mine ever since Jacob Wetterling and Jaycee Lee Dugard went missing when I was a child. My first novel, Finding Claire Fletcher is about a girl who was abducted by a sick psychopath and spent 10 years in captivity. Because it is fiction, I was able to return her to her family. There have been real life cases of this--you'll recognize the names Jaycee Lee Dugard, Shawn Hornbeck and Elizabeth Smart. But it usually doesn't end like that.
I've been sick to my stomach the last few weeks, thinking of these kids and their families. I would ask that you say a prayer for them and for all children and families who have fallen victim to sexual predators and murderers.
I would also ask that you spend some time talking to your own kids, if you have them and they are still minors, about how best to protect themselves. Have the Stranger Danger, Good Secret/Bad Secret, Good Touch/Bad Touch talks with them. Enroll them in a self-defense course or martial arts. Not sure how to start these conversations? Here is one of the very best resources available, which I have referenced myself in starting these kinds of dialogues with my own daughter:
The Jacob Wetterling Resource Center
May all of our children stay safe and unharmed!