Friend or Enemy?

14 May

My last post, Secret Eyes, was about an Internet predator who was exposed and arrested before he could pull off his plan to sexually exploit two sisters. Today I’ll tell you about another case the FBI agent shared at the same seminar.

Kayla (substituted name) was a lovely sixteen-year-old. She had a good relationship with her parents, who tried to be proactive in their attempts to protect her safety (like putting the family computer in a common area of the house). Without her parents’ knowledge, however, Kayla was communicating with someone she’d met online. He worked for a long time to build their friendship (and gain her trust and confidence) before suggesting they meet. Wanting to meet her virtual friend in real life, she agreed.

One night after dinner, Kayla announced she was going to work on homework in the family room—but instead sneaked out of the house to meet this guy. At the designated meeting place, he abducted her, took her to his house, and chained her to a support beam in his basement to use her as his sex slave.

At home, her parents eventually realized that Kayla wasn’t working on homework in the family room like they thought. After a thorough search of the house and many calls to friends, they knew something was terribly wrong. Soon they informed the police that their daughter was missing.

Kayla became this man’s prisoner for many days. One morning, before he left for work, he told her he was beginning to like her too much and would have to do something about it. Those words terrified her. Did they mean he was going to kill her soon? Later that morning, Kayla heard footsteps upstairs and began shouting out for someone to help her. Moments later, two FBI agents found her lying naked on a mattress in the basement. One of the agents cut through the chain that bound her, wrapped her in his coat, and she was taken to safety. (Since police efforts had failed to find Kayla, the FBI had been contacted, putting a trace on her computer. Eventually, they discovered who had been communicating with her and ascertained his address, leading them to where she was being held captive.) The man was arrested later that day.

At the seminar, we saw a video clip of Kayla being interviewed after her rescue. When she was asked why she had agreed to meet this man, she answered with something like, “Because he was my best friend; I could talk to him about anything. We liked the same things, and he understood me like nobody else.”  Sadly, her “friend” turned out to be a deceptive enemy who worked hard to say what Kayla needed to hear over time in order for her to trust him. Then he abused her in ways beyond description.

Kayla did not have the maturity to accurately evaluate this man or his motives. God puts us in families for a reason. Children and teens need their mentors’ input to keep out of the reach of predators. If Kayla had told her parents that this man was contacting her, they no doubt would have stepped in, and she would have been spared this terrible, life-altering experience.

The following is a continuation of the Scriptures I used in my last post to describe the methods of the wicked:

He lies in wait secretly, as a lion in his den; He lies in wait to catch the poor; He catches the poor when he draws him into his net. So he crouches, he lies low, that the helpless may fall by his strength. Psalm 10:9-10 (NKJ) 

Those with wicked intentions do not trap just anyone. They are looking for:

  • The unsuspecting—“It could never happen to me.”
  • The trusting— “This is my friend.”
  • The hurting— “This guy understands me like no one else does.”
  • The stubborn—“I will do what I want, even if my parents don’t approve.”

And these predators are not who they pretend to be (friendly guys or teenage boys). They are disturbed men who will often develop friendships with their targets for weeks and even months before laying a specific trap.

If Kayla had known in advance what her so-called “friend” had planned for her, do you think she would have behaved differently? The answer is obvious—no one intentionally walks into a trap! So gain some insight from her mistake. Pick your friends from people your guardians know and approve. Wouldn’t you rather be safe than sorry?

These posts are not meant to make you overly fearful, so you don’t feel safe anywhere. Actually, the FBI agent said that cases like Kayla’s don’t happen in epidemic numbers, thankfully. But he also made the point that numbers become painfully personal when it happens to you or someone you love. So, the more we are aware of what can potentially happen, the more we can ensure that it doesn’t.

If you check my last post, I included some great Scriptures to grab on to regarding God’s protection and rescue. As we said last time, “His faithful promises are our armor and protection.” (Psalm 91:4b) But we also talked about being aware of dangers and then making wise choices to stay safe.

Staying safe is possible. One key is to be open and honest with your parents and other leaders regarding all of your associations/friendships, knowing that those authority figures love you and are better able to protect you when they know what’s going on in your life.

Lisa and I love you girls—enough to tell you the truth. To be forewarned is to be forearmed! And we want you well-equipped to live wonderful, safe lives as you pursue your God-dreams!

Barbara

photo credit

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