Friday, October 26, 2012

Claire's Public Service Announcement

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!


14 comments:

  1. The Ridgeway case happened just a few miles from where I grew up. I know that neighborhood very well. I suspected it was someone who lived nearby. Had to be, given the way her body was disposed of. But I was so shocked to learn they arrested a seventeen year old boy, or that two teens were responsible for the New Jersey girl's death. Like you, I tend to follow these events with some interest. So disturbing.

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  2. it is so scary to think of all the sick and twisted people out there who want to harm your children. I've talked to my kids about strangers, but i think it's a topic you can and should discuss with them more than once.

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  3. That video is chilling. I have a fifteen-year old who runs cross country. Most of her practice time is spent in the company of her teammates, but she (and they) runs on her own weekends and off-season, and I think about this stuff more than I'd care to say. It's easy to convince yourself that it only happens in big cities, but you're right, it can happen anywhere. Thanks for posting.

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  4. Some people are so sick. I don't have kids, but I worry about my wife.

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  5. It's terrible, truly terrible, the things that happen to children. A girl was taken in our state. Her mom would watch her walk to the end of their street until she turned the corner. The school was only two houses away. Somewhere between the corner and her school she was taken. They found her body two days later. It's so sad!

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  6. Thank you for posting this, Lisa. It's an important thing to keep in mind, especially this time of year.

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  7. Lisa, that's so devasting. I hear it on the news all the time but I never realize it can happen ANYWHERE. It's so sad that it happens to children but Jaycee Dugard was a survivor so it gives us hope. But never will it end.

    I don't have children either so I worry about my family ALL THE TIME - it drives nuts, but it's a good thing!

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  8. my co-worker would tell me stories about how each of her kids were sexually abused to one degree or another. i was first thinking, why do i need to know this about her? then the next day, i realized it was good information because she talked about how she "put too much trust" in neighbors or family friends, and those were the ones doing it. makes me more aware with my kids for sure! thanks for sharing this important blog. new follower here...hi!

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  9. Thanks for spreading the word about the caution we all need to have. It is frightening how unsafe our society has become, whether we live in a big city or a small rural town. Last week the school I work at revisited "Stranger Danger" with our students in the wake of the abductions that occurred in Denver. While I was searching for an educational video on you tube for our teachers to show, I ran across footage from a Walmart where a man tried to steal a 7 year old girl. The mother said "I guess I can't let her out of my sight." She had left her alone in the toy section, for goodness sake. It boggled my mind. I don't even let my seven year old boy go to the bathroom in the men's room yet (unless his Dad is there, of course.) I'm sure some would think I'm overly paranoid, but the tragic stories of abducted and abused children make me sick to my stomach and thinking of something like that happening to my children is beyond frightening.

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  10. Yup, you know, twenty/thirty years ago it wasn't necessary to know exactly where and with whom your children were every single second, whereas now days... Even the conversations kids have on the bus or playground are disturbing. I think the key to raising a family in this society is very frank communication. My kids all learned about stranger danger/good touch bad touch at the happy age of three, and even then we sit down and talk about what they've learned/done when at friends houses or when away from us. There is no such thing as too careful.

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  11. Constantly shocked by how disgusting some people are. I'm glad you're putting out a PSA. I'm just sitting here, shaking my head.

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  12. A sad but needed reminder. Thanks.

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  13. I remember that girl in Philly. Absolutely shocking. What a brazen act. And those 2 cases last week with teenaged boys kidnapping & murdering those poor young girls, it makes me sick. As the mother of a teenaged boy, I just couldn't imagine it. But at least their mothers didn't look the other way. They turned their boys in. It's an effing scary works we live in. Hug your babies close.

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