Everyone should know this international hand signal for ‘Help Me’

Perhaps one of the most frightening things is to find yourself in a life-threatening situation with a dangerous person while having no way of notifying others. 

There are numerous stories of people finding ways to hand someone a note that they’re in need of help or making some sort of signal that they are in a bad situation. But would it not be best if we had a universal way to discretely inform others that we’re in danger without the abuser noticing?

Image: Women’s Funding Network

There surely is. And it’s the international signal for help, which people around the world are now learning as it goes viral.

A clip shared by Harjinder Singh Kukreja, an Indian restauranteur, shows a number of scenarios in which a person can make a simple hand sign if in danger.

In the clip, a woman on a balcony, a man at the door during a delivery, and a girl walking down a hallway with a man all give the help signal without the abuser noticing.

The Signal for Help campaign was started by the Canadian Women’s Foundation last year and has been growing in popularity thanks to the efforts of partners like the Women’s Funding Network, the world’s biggest philanthropic network for females. And with the pandemic raging wild, it was obvious that people were going to be spending much more time talking through video apps, and people in abusive relationships would be spending a lot more time with their abusers. The Signal for Help initiative is a powerful way to secretly signal through a video call that people are in a threatening situation without having to speak.

The problem is, the help signal can only work if others are familiar with it. And that is the reason the video is being shared worldwide.

The best thing about it is that it is very discrete and is much more effective than the American Sign Language sign for “help,” which requires two hands instead of one. It is easy, it can be done quickly, and it can be used in many different situations. Needless to say, it is recommended that we also teach it to our children.

Familiarizing yourself and teaching others the hand signal can literally save lives, as well as enable more victims of abuse and violence to seek help.

What are your thoughts on this story? Let us know by joining the conversation in the comments and please share if you’ve found this article of value.

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