I Have a Very Particular Set of {Mom} Skills

You know in the movie Taken when Liam Neeson says he has a particular set of skills?  Well, moms have them, too.  Mom skills, if you will, and they aren’t to be messed with.

Before the country went into lockdown, my daughter and I were at Target shopping for snacks.  We entered the store, grabbed a cart and walked towards the grocery section.  As we were passing the art supplies, my daughter said she wanted to go look at something.

At the same time, a man came out of an aisle into the main aisle where we were, looked at us and turned to walk ahead of us.  When he looked at me, my mom skills, aka intuition, kicked in and I got the creeps.

When this happens, I instantly feel bad because maybe I’m unfairly labeling this guy as a perv, but the fact is I don’t know him.  He might just give off a weird vibe.  So, I did what I always do, and I smiled {pre-mask wearing days, remember them?}

I Have a Particular Set of Mom Skills
Photo Credit: Bre Geiger 

My daughter and I separated and then met back up at the groceries.  We came around the corner into an aisle and there was the perv intently checking out a bottle of ketchup.  He walked away as soon as we got there.

We played this game for two more aisles before I realized he wasn’t actually shopping.  He never picked up any of the items he seemed so interested in, and he wasn’t holding anything either.

I then told me daughter she had to stay with me and I would tell her why later.  I made sure I held eye contact with him every time we encountered him, only I wasn’t smiling anymore.

We did this through the entire grocery section and since we were really the only people there, it felt eerie.  I had visions of the girl being grabbed while standing next to her mom at the Dollar General in Florida a couple years ago.

We’ve all seen the video of the mom and the assailant fighting over the girl as she’s being dragged through the store.  We moved very slowly, but each time we came around a corner there he was.

Once we reached the end of the groceries, he went one direction, and we went the opposite. I then told my daughter he was following us and was most likely waiting for us to separate.

In typical 12-year-old fashion, she laughed and told me I was crazy.  She hadn’t even noticed the guy and she was sure he wasn’t following us.  LOL, mom.

My whole purpose in helicopter parenting her up to this point was to make sure she wasn’t kidnapped and sex trafficked, and now that I’m supposed to let her practice flying the coup, I realize she never listened to a thing I taught her!

What is Sex Trafficking

According to Google sex trafficking is defined as “the action or practice of illegally transporting people from one country or area to another for the purpose of sexual exploitation.”

Here’s what’s really crazy*:

  • The U.N. issued a warning that sex trafficking was up, especially amongst young girls
  • Criminal gangs and terror groups are preying on these young girls and women to make money
  • Children account for 30% of all trafficking victims and are mainly trafficked for sex
  • Trafficking cases overall are at a 13-year high
  • Most victims are trafficked to the U.S. and Mexico

According to Business Insider, “Children raised in foster care have a greater chance of becoming victims.  In 2013, 60% of child victims the FBI recovered were from foster care.  In 2017, 14% of children reported missing were likely victims of sex trafficking, and 88% of those had been in child welfare, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reported.”

Heartbreaking.  As a parent in the modern world, we have to worry about sex trafficking on top of coronavirus, school {home or in-person}, mask wearing, hand washing, social distancing and a myriad of other atrocities happening in life.

As the parent of a teenage girl, we also have to worry about, among other things, values and morals and self-worth.  Enter Netflix.

You’re Cute, Netflix

If you’re a parent and you haven’t heard of Cuties yet {the Netflix movie not the mandarin orange} then you may be living under a rock. The movie was released last week and quickly sparked a #CancelNetflix movement on social media.

What’s the beef?  Well, it’s a movie about the over-sexualization of young girls in our society.   After reading the statistics above, you see why this is a problem.

While the movie itself is trying to shine a light on the issue, in making such a movie, the movie now becomes part of the issue.  I haven’t seen the movie and I don’t plan to, but I do see the problem with it.

And this isn’t a political issue, it’s a societal issue, so if you’re turning it into politics, you need to ask yourself why.  The fact of the matter is that while the intended audience isn’t people who get their kicks off little girls simulating sex, you better believe a large part of the viewing population of the movie are just those people.  You see the dilemma.

It has sparked outrage not only from parents but from victims’ rights advocates as well.  I don’t plan to cancel my Netflix subscription {hello, I’m binge watching Cobra Kai}, I do see the concern with such a film being on their platform.

If you want to make a movie about the over sexualization and exploitation of young girls as a way to inform people about the issue, make a documentary.

Then again, a documentary certainly wouldn’t attract the kind of attention this film has.  Unfortunately, I think the majority of the attention is the very attention they are trying to steer clear of {ie people who get their kicks off little girls simulating sex.}

The world is a scary place. We can’t be with our kids 24/7, but we can teach them the skills they need to keep themselves safe.  I hope my daughter learned something that day in Target, mainly to pay attention to what’s happening around her.

I also made sure she learned something else.  This advice I learned from an Oprah Winfrey Show episode years ago – never let them take you to a second location.  If someone tries to take you, you fight like hell.  Just like the mom and daughter at the Dollar General.

Maybe it’s time to enroll in some Cobra Kai…

*These facts are according to a CBS News story from January 2019.

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