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How one woman's abduction led to the Watch Over Me app

Cassandra Khaw | May 15, 2013
After she narrowly escaped a kidnapping, Chin Xin-Chi created a mobile app to help prevent other women from becoming victims themselves.

"Send me home, please."

Sometimes, I like to pretend that no one has managed to sound quite as plaintive but threatening as I did when I gently pressed an arrowhead into a taxi driver's neck. I had fallen asleep in the back of the cab, only to wake up without a clue where I was. No further words were exchanged after that. I kept my arrow--I practiced archery in college--rested under the arc of his jaw, and he kept on driving. Two hours later, I got home. Over the years, I've wondered about what would have happened if I had not been carrying a bag of pointy projectiles, or if I had not woken up in time. The possibilities still terrify me.

Although we'd like to think otherwise, women are still abducted on a daily basis. Sometimes, you get lucky. Sometimes, you don't. And once in a while, you escape by the skin of your teeth.

One woman narrowly fought off a kidnapping last year, and although the incident continues to haunt her, she refuses to stay silent. Instead, she has decided to learn from her experience and create a mobile app designed to help women--anyone, really--avoid falling victim themselves. Here is her story.

Watch Over Me
In May 2012, Xin-Ci Chin found herself living through what could almost pass as a Hollywood-created nightmare. She was running some errands at The Curve, a massive shopping mall in Mutiara Damansara, Malaysia, that boasts about 180 retail stores, and thought nothing was out of the ordinary as she walked back to her car in the basement level of the mall's parking garage.

"It was a Sunday at about 5 p.m. I went shopping for some random thingsdinner, printer supplies, boring stuff," she says. "After walking back to the car, I opened the door and was reaching in when someone slammed the car door into my back before raising a knife to my throat. He then clapped a hand over my mouth and said, 'Don't scream.' so I didn't. He pushed me into the backseat. Another guy appeared and got into the driver's seat. Next thing you know, they were driving off with me in the car."

The next few minutes were a blur for the then 25-year-old Chin. After quietly unlocking the car door, she made an attempt to leap out of the moving vehicle only to be pulled back in. Over the next third of a mile or so, Chin fought off her attackers. She recalls that, at one point, her legs were dangling out of the car.

"I remember biting someone," the petite woman remarks, with a laugh tinged with both fear and resentment. "I remember kicking. I think I punched someone, as well; there were bruises on my knuckles the next day. I don't really know what happened next, but at one point I managed to stumble out of the caryes, it was still movingbefore running straight back to the shopping complex for help."

 

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