This is the most traumatizing thing that's ever happened to me. I have never told most people about this and I want to get the word out to other women about how easily this can happen, how quickly you can be caught off guard, and how even safe places can have predators.
It was terrifyingly similar to the actual movie Taken, but it happened in Austin, Tx. There is a very popular bar district downtown here, it's like a strip and super busy with college kids. I was 21 years old and I was out with my husband and 4 of his friends (all guys). So it was me and 5 decent sized men and this still happened.
We were all out drinking and having a great time. I had stopped on the busy street in front of one of the bars to talk to a door guy I knew, and my husband and the guys walked off in front of me. I had just said bye to the door guy and I was trailing behind the guys by about 15 feet. I was noticeably drunk, I was stumbling a bit. I'm a small woman, 90 lbs. Suddenly a car pulls over next to me and rolls down the window, it's a charismatic and good-looking guy in his 20s. He goes "Hey! I'm your uber! Get in" and unlocks the door. I looked over and felt ever-so-slightly off and went "No, I didn't call an uber" and kept walking. The car started rolling along next to me and the guy is saying through the window "No you didn't call, your friend called. We're here to pick you up. Get in." And I stopped walking, for the slightest second, and glanced to the car with a funny face. By that point I knew it was weird. It was already happening so fast, maybe 20 seconds went by so far. As soon as my eyes landed on the car, the driver turned to the backseat and said something fast in another language. The backdoor flies open and there are 2 other guys sitting there, about his same age, and they are all eastern-european (maybe greek?) with accents. My eyes went wide and the guys lunged forward, grabbed me by the waist and yanked me into the car. I was gone and in the car in under a second. I screamed in the loudest, most blood curdling way I could muster, NOOOOOOOO. My husband's best friend about 15 feet ahead hears me first, stops dead in his tracks and starts bolting towards me. The driver starts driving right away and the guys in the back try slamming the door behind me.
They had my wrists but I stuck my leg between the car and the door right before he tried to slam it, so it bounced off my leg and my husband's best friend grabs the door. Then they pulled my leg in and were able to shut the door and lock it.
I'm screaming, they're driving away. The rest of my group is running to us, the bouncer we were in front of comes running to me, and him and husband's best friend run after the car a few feet and yank me out of the still open window by my arms, while the car is still moving. I'm still screaming and kicking. On my way out of the car I kick the driver in the chest. They sped away, turned and were gone.
I'm crying. My husband is crying. The bouncer calls the police to report it. It's a whole scene. I left immediately, I rushed home in a panic and didn't stay around for the report. Don't know if anything ever happened with it. I never gave them my information. I was honestly so traumatized and in a state of shock that I never did anything or told anyone else. My friends that were with me (and my husband primarily) struggled with tremendous guilt for a long time. Nobody felt like they reacted fast enough, or harsh enough, or just that they let me lag behind at all. It changed all of us forever and I'm still terrified of being anywhere alone and of being taken.
I was 21 and I was basically kidnapped. There were a few seconds I was completely locked in the car and they were driving off, holding me tightly and restraining my limbs. They were talking a foreign language and I knew in that moment 100% that I would be trafficked and thought it would be the last time I ever saw my husband or my friends.
It was a perfectly normal night in a well-lit, busy, decent area of town and I was with a group of men who would've protected me. And they pounced on me immediately because they thought I was alone.
Be extremely wary of cab drivers and people claiming they are uber and lyft when you are out. Always confirm on the app that someone is your driver, and never stand too close to cars when you are on the sidewalk. I know that last one may seem paranoid, but if you are in a vulnerable position (I was drunk, dressed sexy, seemingly alone outside of a club), you need to be extremely wary of your surroundings and how quickly the unexpected can happen.
Please be careful. Please be safe. Please report anything suspicious. Be vigilant.
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