Walking Away From My KidnapperI first learned to walk by myself when I was 4years old. I remember asking my mom if a block was a square and by drawing a square I figured I would walk the 4 segments and return safely to my home. I remember loving the freedom and feeling safe in knowing where I was going. My first risk in walking by myself was just before my 4th birthday and as I returned home I excitedly could see the big rectangle I just walked.
Several months later I was walking with my father several blocks from our home off Telegraph Ave. in Berkeley. We entered a Paint Store that had a mechanical man adveritsing various paints. I was mesmerised by the mechanical man and his very controlled movements on the conveyor belt. I went into the store with my father who was interested in paint swatches. I went to the back of the store and saw the mechanical man taking his foil suit off. He said "Hi little girl what is your name?" and when I answered he said come here and then he grabbed me with all of his might squeezing my arms especially my right arm and neck. I froze and then he said, "I am taking you to Texas with me". I was beyond fear and knew intuitively that he meant buisness. I replied with a very bold and dramatized lie,"Oh I want to go to Texas and I have to walk home to get my sweater and doll" he grabbed me tighter and said,"You promise?" You better come back". I said "Oh I will be back, I want to go to Texas with you." I walked out of the side door of the store without my father and walked all the way home. The trauma casued a type of dissociation in that to this day I cannot remember walking home, so I walk daily in grattitude that I did walk home then and that I can still walk. When I got home I told my mother and she called the police. They found this man who had kidnapped three other children, arrested him and put him in prison. I am a health care and mental health care professional and share this story with the children I work with.