SAN ANTONIO — A distress hand signal started as a TikTok trend and later ended up saving a life.
The distress signal came in handy when a teenager who had been kidnapped in Kentucky needed to find help immediately.
“It’s nice, it’s helpful. It makes you feel a lot safer,” UTSA student Indali Soberanis said.
KENS 5 spoke with some UTSA students who say it’s a resource they didn’t even know was available.
“It’s kind of scary and all you can do is get on your phone or give someone a look like can you help me. Now that I know there’s a sign, it makes life easier,” UTSA student Alyssa Garcia said.
Angelica Cervantes works closely with victims of sex trafficking and domestic violence.
“It helps destigmatize asking for help,” Chief Programs Officer at the Providence Place, Angelica Cervantes said.
“So many of our survivors have described situations when they were in it they felt like they couldn’t ask for help,” Cervantes said. “This helps them be seen.”
Cervantes says with positive trends like these quickly spreading across social media, the community now plays a major part in recognizing someone in distress and getting them the help they need.
“I hope people around become more aware, so I don’t have to look at them, giving them the look like I’m not doing this sign for nothing,” Garcia said.
“It makes me feel better knowing you can get yourself out of a situation with your own help,” Villarreal said.