Written by Ashleigh Brown
According to a study conducted by the Statista Research Department, almost half of the missing persons cases in 2018 were of minorities. The FBI National Crime Information Center Reports that of the 424,066 missing children reported missing in 2018, 37 percent of them were black. There is a clear disparity in media coverage of missing black women and their white counterparts. Black women go missing and don’t get so much as a milk carton with their picture on it while every major network and newspaper closely follow the cases of missing white women every step of the way. There have also been reports of police mishandling cases involving missing black women, which is why we need to arm ourselves with the knowledge and strength to protect each other, our children and ourselves.
Share your location with family and friends
According to an ABC News report in 2018 the first 72 hours after a person goes missing are crucial to follow up on leads that could potentially locate them. Consistently sharing a location with a family member or friend could help law enforcement locate a kidnapping victim as it gives them an idea of where to look and they can check surveillance cameras in that area. If you are ever in an unfamiliar area or feel someone is following you, send someone you trust your exact location and let him or her know what is going on while you get to a safe place.
Be aware of your surroundings
It’s easy to zone in and focus on the task at hand while simultaneously running errands and let’s be honest: most of the time our faces are in our phones. However, it is extremely important to be aware of your surroundings at all times and be observant of anyone who may be following you or acting strangely. Make it a priority to take mental notes of where you are including street names and buildings and especially anyone following you too closely or acting in a way that makes you uncomfortable. Stay in well lit and highly populated areas, as abductors are less likely to attack while in these areas.
The difference between being abducted and escaping a potential attacker could be how well you defend yourself. Many abductors use the element of surprise when attempting to kidnap a person they presume to be easy to over power. Check with your local gym to see if they offer self-defense classes for women that teach techniques such as eye gouging and how to escape a chokehold. These techniques, when applied correctly, can protect you from potential abductors and allow you to get away.
Share this with your friends and family. Have discussions with women in your community on how you can protect each other and tell your children what they are to do if a stranger ever approaches them. If law enforcement and the media won’t protect us, we must do so ourselves.