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Laurel County Sheriff's Office

Thanks to a hand signal from TikTok, a missing 16-year-old girl was rescued by a nearby driver who recognized the sign.

Kentucky police pulled over and arrested James Herbert Brick after the person in the car behind his truck noticed the hand gestures and called 911.

The signal the teenager gave is known as the "Violence at Home Signal For Help" on TikTok. The viral video reached over one million likes.


@forsure7

Violence against women is a crime #canadianwomensfoundation #gethelp #womensrights #itstime #domesticabuse #domesticviolence

The hand signal has three signs:

"Violence at home."
"I need help."
"Domestic violence."

The Canadian Women's Foundation says the sign is made by facing the palm of the hand out, crossing your thumb across the palm, and then closing your fist over the thumb to "trap" it.

Brick, age 61, traveled with the underage girl from Cherokee, North Carolina, to Ohio where Brick had relatives. His relatives reported the girl missing when they realized she was under 18. Allegedly, that is when Brick took the girl to Kentucky.

The teenager's parents reported her missing in Asheville, North Carolina, last week.

Deputies found a photo of an underage female being portrayed in a sexual manner on a phone in Brick's possession.

Brick was charged with unlawful imprisonment after being stopped by Laurel County Police.

He is currently being held in Laurel County Correctional Center with the additional charge of possession of content showing sexual activity by a minor.

The Canadian Women's Foundation intended this to be used for video calls during isolation.

"The Signal for Help is a tool that may help some people, some of the time."
"Some people do not have the ability to make video calls."
"Please find other resources, services, and programs... that may be helpful in an unsafe situation at home."

The viral TikTok was circulating in June of 2020, when isolation due to the pandemic increased domestic violence.

As it stood before the pandemic, globally one in three women experienced physical or sexual violence, mostly from intimate partners. According to the United Nations, domestic violence cases increased 20% during what they call the "Shadow Pandemic."

Axios said that Iowa reported the deaths of 17 people at the hands of domestic abusers in 2021.

Thankfully, TikTok continues to share public service posts raising awareness about the signals that have become vital to helping victims like the North Carolina teenager.