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Child Safety Situation #7

Girl, 8 years old; snatched from her bedroom (window had a broken lock).

8-year-old Vanessa* was sleeping in her bed next to the window in the bedroom. The lock on the window screen was broken. Her 10-year-old brother Timmy* also was asleep in the room. A man dragged Vanessa, still half asleep, through the window.

Vanessa woke up as the man ran with her across the back yard. When he slipped in the drainage ditch, Vanessa took advantage of his loosened hold on her and scrambled back up the bank and ran back into her house. When Vanessa jumped in her mother's bed and screamed a man had taken her, her mother told her, "you just had a bad dream; go back to sleep." But when she saw the mud on her daughter, she knew Vanessa was not dreaming. Her brother Timmy slept through the whole attack. Later a neighbor told the police he saw the man looking into the bedroom window, but did not think anything about it. The police are still looking for the man.

From Vanessa's story, what can you learn to make you more predator resistant?

Scream to attract attention and get help. If Janey had screamed, perhaps her brother or her mother would have woke up and scared the man off or, maybe, the neighbor would have called 911.

Anytime there's a chance to get away, make a break for it. Even if Janey was too terrified to scream, she was smart enough to run for her life, when the man carrying her slipped and fell.

Fight back:
If you hope to escape from a sexual predator without injury, it's best to do it early on. But, no matter how many bad things you have been forced to do, never stop trying to get away, because it is not your fault what you have to do to survive. Prisoners in the World Wars felt they had a duty to try to escape, no matter how long they had been held captive or how hopeless escape seemed.

Report Peeping:
It's smart to report anyone you see peeping into a house. It used to be thought peeping in windows or exposing one's self would actually discourage rape and murder, as this acting out was believed to drain off sexual energy. Now, many believe that anger and the need to control may motivate violent sex more than sexual desire. The thing feeds on itself: the need to control and hurt sometimes escalating, from naughty peeks to the ultimate control -- taking the victim's life.

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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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