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Child Safety Situation #16

Girl, 14 years old; attacked by an alleged friend of the family.


One day in 1998, Steven R.* was in front of her house getting ready to leave, when he asked 14-year-old Regina* if she wanted him to get her some cigarettes. When she said, "Yeah," he said, "Come on then." Since he was a family friend, she didn't hesitate to get into the car.

After he bought the cigarettes, they rode around smoking. He parked at an abandoned subdivision site where he raped her, clubbed her with a baseball bat until her eyes swelled shut, and stabbed her 30 times.

Although savagely beaten and cut, Regina stayed hidden in the woods for four days, because she was afraid Steven R. would come back. Somehow, she then dragged herself to the road and flagged down a car to take her to the hospital. The Florida police captain said, "He intended to kill her. But she had a large will to live".

What can you learn from this?

Say "No":
Don't let anybody bribe you into going off with him. Regina was persuaded to go because Steven R. promised to give her something she wanted. If she had been younger, he might have offered to take her to get an ice cream cone. Sexual predators know how to adjust the goodie to what kids that age want -- independence, fame, something prohibited. Remember, anytime someone offers you something for nothing, you are probably going to end up paying some way, and you don't want to pay with your life.

Suspect Tempters:
Regina believed Steven R. was a family friend, but she should have suspected he might be a fiend when he tempted her to break the rules, to go off with him without permission to smoke cigarettes. If a person offers you something that he and you both know is off limits, a forbidden fruit, you should think hard before accepting.

Outfox:
Never quit trying to save yourself. Prisoners in World War II felt they had a duty to try to escape, no matter how hopeless escape seemed or how long they had been held captive. It probably was not necessary for Regina to stay hidden so long, though she may have been unconscious most of the time. It does show, however, how much you can endure if you think it is necessary for your survival.



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*Names changed to protect privacy; information presented for educational purposes only. Reprinted with permission from The Jimmy Ryce Center.

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