The viral hand signal on social media that is saving lives

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The viral hand signal on social media that is saving lives
The viral hand signal on social media that is saving lives. Image - TikTok

A 16-year-old girl from North Carolina who went missing was found when she used a hand signal that went viral on TikTok.

A 16-year-old girl from North Carolina who went missing for two days was allegedly found when she used a hand gesture that went viral on TikTok, the gesture signals domestic violence.

A passerby called 911 when she saw the gesture made by the young girl, who was a passenger in a vehicle. The girl was making the hand signal that indicated she was in danger and needed help.

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The hand signal was introduced last year, during the early days of the health crisis, by the Canadian Women’s Foundation. It was aimed at helping to address the rise in domestic violence, particularly as people were in their homes a lot more due to lockdowns.

The gesture involves holding up a hand, tucking the thumb into the palm, closing the other fingers down into the thumb and repeating the action.

This hand gesture, when combined, signals ‘violence at home’ or ‘needing help’.


The viral hand signal on social media that is saving lives
The viral hand signal on social media that is saving lives.

Video social media platform, TikTok, has assisted in spreading the use of the gesture, with one video being viewed over three and a half million times.

As a result of the girl using the hand signal and the passerby calling 911, according to official reports, the teen was found and a 61-year-old man has since been arrested and charged with unlawful imprisonment.

Now, police in the US are trying to spread awareness of the hand signal to help other victims of domestic violence. The gesture has also been discussed and promoted on ITV’s This Morning today, November 16.


Police have said the gesture can be used in circumstances such as answering the door or when on a video call to someone, so as to not alert the perpetrator.

Lots of people have pointed out that it shouldn’t be up to women to learn hand signals to save their lives and that more should be done about tackling violence against women and domestic abuse, however, the gesture could just save someone’s life.


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Laura is from a small seaside town in North Wales and has also lived in Liverpool and Manchester, where she studied English Literature and worked in social media and marketing. Laura moved to the city of Zaragoza last August to teach English, but after missing the coast she decided to move to beautiful Nerja to enjoy the sun and sea. Laura has a passion for animals, films, outdoor activities, writing and the environment.

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