To young women traveling alone: Remember Natalee Holloway

Filed under “Are you freakin’ kidding me”:

From The Associated Press: “A Dutch man [Joran van der Sloot] long suspected in the disappearance of an Alabama teen in Aruba was arrested Thursday in the murder of a young woman in Peru.” (Note: Updated from earlier post.)

Remember this guy? He’s been arrested and released twice in the Natalee Holloway murder. He is still their main suspect despite being released for lack of evidence, according to the AP story.

Even five years later, Natalee Holloway is my warning call to all my babysitters when they go away for spring break or senior trips. I stand in the doorway lecturing as the head home:

“Don’t go out alone with boys you’ve just met. Stay in very large groups – two is not enough.  Don’t go to their rooms. Don’t ride away in cars along with them. Don’t split up. Tell your friends where you are going and who you are going with! Don’t drink anything you haven’t seen made by the bartender! Always check  in!”

My sister-in-law, who will be a senior this year in high school, wants to visit some colleges with friends and my feeling is no way!! I feel like they need at least one annoying parent with them.

I say annoying parent because it does no good to bring an adult who just does her own thing when they get there. I don’t want the chaperone sitting at the hotel while the kids go out.  They’re not just there to bail them out. They’re there to make sure they don’t get into trouble in the first place.

I felt pretty strongly about young women traveling alone and then I saw the movie “Taken” with Liam Neeson on cable recently. In the movie his daughter, who I think was like 17, was hit on by some guys in France who eventually kidnap her, drug her and sell her into white slavery.

I’m telling you my girls will be lucky to go to Stone Mountain alone!  (I say this but my parents let me go to Italy for my junior summer with the classics department at UGA. We stayed in a group dorm in Rome but did travel frequently without any chaperones. What were my parents thinking? I especially remember one night a friend of ours taking off on a Moped with a guy. Even at 20 I thought it was a terrible decision! )

So there are several issues here to discuss:

  1. At what age can young women travel alone or with their friends?
  2. How far can they travel alone or with their friends? In-state, maybe over to Athens. Out of state – maybe to Panama City. Out of country? (Did you not just read the description of the movie “Taken”?!)
  3. Are we allowed to worry about or forbid college-age travel?
  4. What do you advise them when they are traveling?
  5. Do chaperones actually help? (I think Natalee Holloway’s group had chaperones.) What are you looking for in your chaperone?

80 comments Add your comment

Jeff

June 3rd, 2010
7:23 am

I think it needs to stated what Natalee Holloway and this girl in Peru had in common: They both encountered an evil man and went off to be alone with him without knowing anything about him.

First time poster

June 3rd, 2010
7:40 am

Another tip: if you are going out with someone for the first time, text their license plate # to a friend so if something happens they have a place to start.

Photius

June 3rd, 2010
8:05 am

By the time a child reaches age 18, if you haven’t taught them what they need to know to be safe, it’s too late. You can’t follow them everywhere as if the boogyman is around every corner – for college age adults. At some point after raising your kids you have to let them go.

Jeff

June 3rd, 2010
8:13 am

Photius……my father told me the same thing but it was by the time they hit middle school. Same point though.

catlady

June 3rd, 2010
8:20 am

What an awful story!

When my children were young (before they went to college) they traveled with me or an adult I approved of (our church minister and his family come to mind). Once they went to college, I had to pray they paid attention to the things I had taught them in any area. Some they accepted, some they didn’t. Some they ended up regretting. Some, probably not :)

You help them put on their armor when they become young adults (in college by my definition). You are there to counsel, warn, and advise. But I don’t see how you can or how you should “forbid college-age travel” as long as it is their own money they are spending. If they are dependent on you for money, obviously you may not give them money to go to the Bahamas. Doesn’t mean they won’t find a way to get there on their own.

Becky

June 3rd, 2010
8:22 am

Whatever happened to just not leaving with a stranger? When I was in high school, we went out partying at least 4-5 nights per week..None of us ever left with a guy..If the guy wanted to see one of us, he had to keep meeting us for about a week, then the others had to know where he lived and we were given a copy of his drivers license..So, I think having good friends is better than chaperones..

Sandra

June 3rd, 2010
8:23 am

When I think back at all the times I could have potentially gotten into trouble, I cringe… Young people don’t think of all the dangerous things that can happen to them…and oftentimes, they are very sheltered and naive (although they don’t think so). At some point, you’ve got to trust your children because they have to spread their wings and fly…but it doesn’t mean that you don’t sit up at night worried until they come back through the door.

catlady

June 3rd, 2010
8:24 am

Teresa, your SIL needs an annoying adult along for more than just that reason! To get the most out of the trip, the adult would help them formulate questions and process the information they get, besides acting as a chaperone. On the plus side, many colleges are kinda quiet in the summer.

maria

June 3rd, 2010
8:24 am

I think the age of 18 u can travel alone, but still call family so they can know that u are fine. I can really say that I hope they get him for the death of that 21 year old since they could not get him for natalee`s murder.

HB

June 3rd, 2010
8:28 am

To Theresa’s daughters: start saving your money now and working toward scholarships if you want any say in your post-secondary education. A couple of weeks ago you were asking about what to allow students to major in and now the question is how much to forbid their travel as young adults?!

Teach kids to be smart and take reasonable precautions, and hope that they make the right decisions. Realize that if they make all the right decisions, bad things can still happen, but you can’t let fear rule your life. And know for sure that the best way not to know where your adult children are and what they’re doing is to forbid them from going anywhere. I knew two people in college “forbidden” to leave town. They travelled more than I did — one roadtripped all the way to Canada from Georgia with friends! The main difference between our trips — my mom (and my travel companions’ families) got a call before I left and every couple of days along the way, and had contact info for my destination; her parents never knew she left campus.

JJ

June 3rd, 2010
8:50 am

Its not just young women. There are some pretty stupid ADULT women out there, who still go home with a guy they just met in a bar……or at the store, etc.

FCM

June 3rd, 2010
9:14 am

Jeff & Photius. I agree with you. We have a short time to instill values in our children. We have a short time to help the START to understand right/wrong and the real consequences of their actions…unfotunately science says this won’t really kick in until they are in their 20s. I also agree that at some point you have to accept they will make their own (bad or good) decisions so you have to let them go. I also agree with my mother that all you can really do is your best to teach them and PRAY. Then keep on praying.

However, if it is your daughter, or one of mine that makes the wrong choice or falls victim to foul play, all of the belief and intellectual knowing in/of what we said is going to be of little comfort.

Lady Strange

June 3rd, 2010
9:16 am

Unfortunatly some of us learn the hard way. You meet a guy and just don’t think about bad things happening but they can and do. So ladies, as JJ said, even us adults need to think and not run off with a stranger.

TechMom

June 3rd, 2010
9:19 am

@ JJ I’m with you. Age does not equate to common sense.

I also wonder how blown out of proportion kidnapping is due to media. Media causes so many people to be paranoid about things that are so unlikely to happen to them when they should be worried about other things. I’m pretty sure that statistics state people are more likely to be kidnapped or abused by people they know than by strangers. Not saying we should all go home with strangers, I’m just saying we need to use some common sense when raising our children.

DB

June 3rd, 2010
9:23 am

Being the mother of a very independent college sophomore young woman, here’s my take:

1.At what age can young women travel alone or with their friends? IT DEPENDS ON THE GIRL. Some girls are so witless, I would worry about them going to the grocery store. Others are born savvy. For my daughter, it was more a function of my comfort level with her driving expertise — which meant no extended driving at 16 and really, not until she was almost 18. At 17, the summer before her senior year, I allowed her to travel two states away with my “other daughter”, her best friend who is very savvy and a year older, to visit family. They shared driving, but it was the other girl’s car because she was the more experienced driver. Did I worry? Yes. But I let her do it anyway — and made sure she had her AAA card!

2.How far can they travel alone or with their friends? In-state, maybe over to Athens. Out of state – maybe to Panama City. Out of country? (Did you not just read the description of the movie “Taken”?!) During her senior year, she was allowed to drive to visit friends between here and Athens. She stayed overnight in Athens unaccompanied for a long weekend in January of her senior year to attend a music camp. NEVER to the beach unaccompanied — she always went with other families that I trusted. She traveled extensively abroad, but always with organized groups — England and France with a school group in 8th grade, southern Europe with a music group in 10th grade, and with school groups to the Ukraine and Romania in 11th and 12th grade. I was always comfortable with trip organizers.

3.Are we allowed to worry about or forbid college-age travel? Nope. We can advise, but at that point, their travel is at the extent their pocketbook can take them :-). At that point, life is their biggest teacher, not their mom and dad.

4.What do you advise them when they are traveling? To my son: “When you’re out of town, always go to a bar you can walk to from the hotel.” (He’s 21). To my daughter: NEVER accept any drink from a stranger, and never put your drink down. Take it with you to the restroom, or just get a fresh one when you get back. And call your mom when you arrive and leave, just to check in “so I know you aren’t lying in a ditch!” (I didn’t ask this during the overseas travel — they weren’t allowed to bring cell phones, anyway, so they could concentrate on their trip!)

5.Do chaperones actually help? (I think Natalee Holloway’s group had chaperones.) What are you looking for in your chaperone? DEPENDS ON THE CHAPERONE AND THE KID. No chaperone can help a kid who is determined to get in trouble, though. Basically, a chaperone should be willing to be a part of the trip, an interested bystander and a knowledgeable resource, not just looking to “do their own thing”, and be willing to be authoritative, not just “be the cool parent/chaperone.” I chaperoned four 18 year old new high school graduates last summer on a cruise. They were free to move about the ship as long as they had a buddy, but I never let them out of my sight on land.

And don’t think this is all about protecting girls, ok? Guys make stupid decisions all the time, too, and are prone to violent muggings if they don’t develop street-savvy.

Jeff

June 3rd, 2010
9:40 am

You made a copy of the guy’s driver’s license? Seriously? Did he get a copy of your therapy papers in return to prove you aren’t psycho?

Peachy

June 3rd, 2010
9:41 am

I think that when children live under your roof you can dictate where they go and who they go with. Once they are out of your house (in college, working, whatever) they have the right to travel where and with whom they please. Once your children move out you have to trust that you have done your job, raised them right, and believe that they will make the right decisions. When you children are under your roof teach them about good, safe, smart decisions and most likely when they are gone they will make good, safe, smart decisions. Additionally, you can’t live your life in fear because of “bad people.” Don’t let punks like this Van der whatever guy rob your children of experiences. That gives them too much power. All you can do encourage your children to make good decisions, lead by example, and trust they will follow.

By the way – Theresa: Are you serious? Your parent’s blessed you with the once in a life time opportunity to study abroad and you are considering not letting your children do it because of a movie? (by the way – she was sold into the sex trade, not white slavery. the girls being auctioned off were of all races, the one thing they had in common is they were all pretty) I learned so much during my study abroad summer, and I can only hope I can provide the same opportunity to my children.

gpkbsin

June 3rd, 2010
9:44 am

don’t have girls so don’t have to worry about. but, talking about myself.. i was sent out of the country with 3 other girls when i was 18. me and a friend were roaming about singapore on our own at 18 years old. then we went to a trip to africa when we were 20.. but with a travel agent’s group of 6 people. it was great experience. i was the savvy one and so the other girl’s parents sent her out of the country only if I went. it was a great feeling to be trusted.. and also a responsibility. sometimes, its a great thing to send the kids away on their own to find out how to deal with independence.

stepmom2

June 3rd, 2010
9:45 am

I agree with everyone’s thoughts. There were chaperones on Natalee’s trip but I don’t believe they were with them that night at the club. So regardless if you have chaperone’s or not it doesn’t mean they are actually doing what they are there to do. Did anyone watch the Natalee Holloway movie on Lifetime? It was interesting.

But like others have said- it completely depends on how well you’ve raised your child to act/respond in situations like Natalee Holloway was in. and yes, Adult woman are no better and I agree that guys make stupid decisions too.

When I was in high school we all went down to Panama City for Spring Break without our parents. I drove both years that we could (Jr & Sr years). I have always had a sense of direction for where I am at and like DB says, I am one of the savvy girls she’s mentions. That’s how I was raised. and at 32, I still call my mom to let her know when I arrive on an out of town trip. She has and always will know where I’m at in those regards. That was always one of the things she required when I was a teen(and even in my 20’s when I was in college & still living in their house).

JATL

June 3rd, 2010
10:06 am

FIrst off -I cannot BELIEVE this idiot Van der Sloot! It’s disgusting -an international serial killer with some obsession for the end of May. May 30th 2005 is the day Natalee Holloway disappeared! Are any other young women missing from areas where he’s been the last 5 years? Somehow I don’t think Peruvian or Chilean jails are very nice places, and I hope he’s in one for the rest of his very short life.

As far as young women traveling alone or with friends -HELLO HELICOPTER MOM!!!! No, I don’t think your 16 year old needs to road trip it to PCB to party for a week, but high school seniors and kids who are 18 need to be allowed some freedoms. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with accompanying your child on college visits because you have a vested interest in that, but it should be no biggie for a group to visit on their own. How on earth do you expect them to ever handle college if they’ve never been given an experience away from adults or parents for a day or two?

You must teach (from the beginning) that you never -EVER -go off on your own with an unknown person. No matter how drunk and hormone-ridden you are! It doesn’t mean that girls and women don’t do this every day -some do. Luckily 99% of them are just fine and usually the worst that happens is an STD, embarrassment or an unplanned pregnancy (not making light of those things -but they’re not death). At some point -and that point is usually 17-18 years of age -you have to trust your raising and let your kids go! This doesn’t only apply to girls either. You can bet I will tell my sons that they should NEVER leave a party, bar, etc. with someone or people they don’t know. Plenty of guys get beaten or worse in those situations when they’ve made the bad judgment call to buy some weed or something or if they’re gay and thinking they’re hooking up. I think all of our kids really need to be taught that you never go off alone with strangers or people you’ve just met -EVER -no matter what!

And TWG -seriously -you do realize that movies are make believe, right? Even those based on true stories heavily dramatize situations! It’s actually very, very, VERY rare for someone to be kidnapped and/or murdered while traveling -especially in Europe or elsewhere for that matter. The reason you think it happens all the time is the news media takes every isolated incident and blows it up and blathers on about it for at least a year. And it’s even more rare for a prospective college student and her girlfriends to encounter life-ending tragedy when visiting schools.

PLEASE, take this to heart -my mother was EXTREMELY overprotective and all I learned from it was how to become an expert liar and to be super sneaky. It also made me put myself in FAR more dangerous situations that I probably normally would have because whenever I managed to get out and not have her hovering over me -I went wild! I was also active in our Baptist church, my family was very upper middle class/upper class and I had a 4.0 GPA at the private school I attended every year, so don’t think that applies to “some kids” but not your kids. Don’t be overprotective to the point of silliness with your kids -you’re not doing anyone any favors -especially yourself. Oh yeah -I had the opportunity to go to England and France with a group between my jr. and sr. years in high school, but of course I wasn’t allowed to go. SO, when I was in college I saved my money and went backpacking through Costa Rica in the late 80s for a month (long before it was a tourist haven) as well as more extensive travel on my own or usually with one other friend in my 20s. If you have a child who wants to experience a lot of different things in life -you won’t stop her.

Becky

June 3rd, 2010
10:17 am

@Jeff..Stated that wrong..Didn’t actually get a copy of his license, just made sure that we saw them..Nope, never was questioned about being
psycho..Of course I was always the one that was the “mother hen” in the group..I was the youngest and wasn’t as “wild” as some of the others that were in our group..I also had a boyfriend, so I wasn’t on the prowl.

@JJ..Boy are you right on that..Not all adhere to the saying that with age comes wisdom..Lts of adult women do some really stupid things when it comes to leaving with strangers..

LPBren

June 3rd, 2010
10:22 am

You don’t think they should go on college visits alone? Are you going to send a chaperone with her for all four years she is in college too?

Michelle

June 3rd, 2010
11:08 am

I don’t think sheltering them from everyone and everything is a good idea. As many have stated, that will just lead to the child being dishonest and sneaking around OR being blatantly defiant!

I think the best thing to do is educate them beginning at a young age at which they can understand. Teach them about strangers, personal space, and things like that. Allow them the opportunity to “learn” by giving them some space where they can be observed.

Allow them to make mistakes early. If they learn from their mistakes, they are less likely to make the “BIG” ones as they get older!

Johnathan Walker

June 3rd, 2010
11:09 am

It is a tragic story and I pray that they catch and convict this character. I have a question though: what is “white slavery?”

Denise

June 3rd, 2010
11:12 am

Women and men, girls and boys, are going to do what they want to when they want to as soon as they get the chance. Sometimes that is a good thing, sometimes it’s bad. The key is to try and teach kids common sense, instill a little bit of fear – not the fear that turns into paranoia, just enough to make them careful and smart about their surroundings. That will follow them forever. I did some foolish things in college but I was always in a group. The groups usually included a guy because of the safety factor. But we partied, rode the Marta all times of night, walked all over the place all times of the night, rode in the back of pick up trucks, took rides from strangers… We didn’t realize we were stupid until we got older. LOL! But, like I said, we had strength in numbers at all times. (Yeah, I know 6 people can all be shot but if it’s just a fight, at least one can get away to call for help.)

Because my family and friends were concerned about safety (once we got smarter), I am still very diligent about who I let come to my house and who I ride in a car with and I’m 37 years old. I usually don’t give me the location of the secret bat cave but I’ve invited over the 2 guys I’m seeing because I felt comfortable…and both have been seen and friends checked in on me while they were there and I had to call when they left. Not paranoid but wanting to be safe until these guys have been around a REALLY long time. I learned that from my mama many moons ago and it stuck. Teach your kids and it will stick…or at least it will come back to them.

Van

June 3rd, 2010
11:16 am

Hi all,

I am following this case closely since as a Peruvian I am totally upset of how this guy kill the daughter of a well-known peruvian car racer. I just saw her shcoked Dad talking to the Media, it was really sad.
Peru is not Aruba and we will take care of this serial murderer even if he ran away to Chile. as somebody said above, the peruvian jails are not the best places on earth especially for somebody who killed a peruvian girl.

All the best to all of you

Van

Kevin

June 3rd, 2010
11:22 am

You will be doing more harm to your child by being over protective. Yes, it is possible to shield “precious” to much. I worked in Res. Life at a university for years. I can tell you, the students with the helicopter parents who would not trust their children to make responsible judgements, had the most problems with peer pressure, adjustment, home sickness etc. The students who were allowed to be self determinant in college were far more successful academically and socially.

Our children will eventually have to learn to be adults. Think about how you were at the age of 18, you probably made mistakes, go into trouble, and faced a few sticky situations as a young adult. As a result, you learned coping skills, life skills, and confidence to face much larger challenges latter in life.

So, I think it is totally fine to allow your children to visit college on their own with out annoying parents lagging behind them. Let them get an idea of the life they will face a few months latter.(Not just the side the school wants you to see.) Show your children you are confident in their ability to make responsible adult decisions in a college (Adult) setting. They may take a few a risks, try new things, and maybe make a mistake. But hey, that’s what becoming an adult is about? Right?

[...] suspect in the Natalee Holloway case is wanted for the murder of another woman, one blogger issues a warning to all young women traveling alone. But where’s the line between being careful and being cloistered? More » [...]

Photius

June 3rd, 2010
12:13 pm

In New York when I was a small child my father would teach me lessons by showing me examples of hustlers/beggars/bums and theives in action. “Look at those two guys… watch them, they are going to pick that guys pocket – see the scam happening???” at age 8 leaves an impression. I’ve done the same teaching to mine as well as my nephew who lives in the country. Much more effective to have a child see “the creatures” than reiterate the typical “don’t talk to strangers”. Take your child to a Hawks/Thrashers game sometime – watch the show outside.

Jeff

June 3rd, 2010
12:42 pm

My apologies Becky. Thank you for clearing the air. Sensitive subject on my part.

Becky

June 3rd, 2010
12:50 pm

@Jeff..No biggie..We all looked out for each other..We did a lot of stupid stuff back in our day, but we always took care of each other no matter how drunk some of us were..Do you mind if I ask what makes it so sensitive to you? If not, I understand and hope I didn’t upset you by asking..

talking won't help

June 3rd, 2010
1:06 pm

I have been trying to mentor a group of kids now for the last 5 years. It has finally occurred to me that there is nothing you can say or do to them. They do not listen. They nod their head and pretend to listen, but they don’t. You can tell them the horror stories, you can show them the scars, take them to the jails, but it won’t make any difference.

I used to believe that you could take any kid and raise him/her in the right environment and they will turn out fine. I now believe that its nature, not nurture that is the primary driver.

They post naked pics of themselves on the internet, they join gangs, they do drugs, they have random sex, they don’t use protection, they lie, they steal, and they do it all with no knowledge from their parents.

The group of kids I have tried to help are not homogenous, they are rich, poor, two parents, single parents, they are black, they are white, and none of those factors seem to make a difference.

Here is what to look for. If they are obnoxious and getting in trouble when they are 10, they will always be that way. You can’t help them.

talking won't help

June 3rd, 2010
1:07 pm

Oh, and you don’t know if its your kids or not. There is nothing you can do.

Annie

June 3rd, 2010
1:07 pm

Uh, “Taken” is a work of fiction. And many, many women travel alone without winding up like Natalee Holloway. Scare tactics are not helpful. What’s helpful: Encouraging young women to be aware of their surroundings, to learn self-defense, and to identify sketchy situations (and yes, men). There’s a difference between being a traveler and a tourist. Teach girls to be the former and they’ll be fine; if they’re the latter, as Natalee Holloway was, they’re more likely to have problems. Also, duh, don’t get trashed on vacation.

Honestly, I think you’re being alarmist. Your parents had you go abroad as a teenager, and you ask “What were they thinking?” And yet, you were fine. Instead of teaching girls to fear the world as a big scary place, it is better to teach them how to be strong in it.

I would also argue that young American women who go to “party” destinations are more likely to encounter crooks and sleazy dudes than those who avoid places like Cancun, Ibiza, etc.

I, too, would like you to clarify what “white slavery” means.

Becca

June 3rd, 2010
1:20 pm

I’ve never been able to get over the image of Natalie leaving with those three boys and her friends watching her ride off. My girlfriends and I were like the Marines – leave no one behind. I’ve pulled girls out of the back of pick-up trucks, out of bathrooms (hello girls in Milledgeville with Big Ben), and I have to admit, it’s been done with me. I’m 39, so I guess I’ve officially crossed over into the older generation but when I was young and reckless, we lived by a code and watched out for each other. If I had a daughter, I’d be drilling the same thing into her head but I would worry if she got it. For some reason the value of human life and the realization of danger and consequences doesn’t seem to be connecting in the youth of today. What feels good right now? That seems to be what they’re doing. That’s sterotyping I’m sure and I’ve always railed against it. I was part of the Gen X and we were labeled slackers and I took offense to that.

White slavery

June 3rd, 2010
1:22 pm

White slavery (prostitution), a term sometimes used to refer to sexual slavery, not in reference to the race of the victims (which can be of any race), but to distinguish it from the full-scale, hereditary system of slavery that had been imposed on black people in the Americas.

cloe

June 3rd, 2010
1:30 pm

You seem to have the same philosophy on parenting as my sister– and I think you’re both crazy. You clearly believe it’s a parent’s job to protect them from the big, bad world. I believe it’s a parent’s job to PREPARE them for it. Like Annie said, teach your kids to be strong, knowledgable and prepared to take care of themselves in tough situations and then trust that you did the best you could in raising them. It’s so sad to me to see mothers who let fear guide their parenting. The world isn’t as horrible and scary as the 6 o’clock news would have us believe. These are isolated events, and while they are sad and devastating, they shouldn’t be the reason you don’t allow your college-age kids to experience other cultures and live their lives. The truth is, you can’t protect your kids from everything, no matter how hard you try. And while you’re obsessing about it, the enjoyment of life will pass you (and your kids) by.

Jeff

June 3rd, 2010
1:31 pm

Thanks Becky. For the sake of maintaining the purpose of the blog (unlike other blogs on AJC), I’ll pass on going in to the detail. Everyone has things their life experiences make them sensitive to and quick to react. I should have thought more before typing. The vast majority of the people on here are extremely nice and I briefly forgot that fact.

stepmom2

June 3rd, 2010
1:50 pm

Like Becca- if we went together, we left together. If you met someone then great get his number and call him tomorrow. You have to trust that you have instilled the values and decision making skills in your kids so that they will make right decisions.

Voice of Reason #1

June 3rd, 2010
1:53 pm

It was unfortunate that Holloway disappeared and was undoubtedly killed. But the lesson MUST be that she would likely be alive today if she hadn’t gone off alone with this guy to get a roll in the hay (or, sand) with some guy she’d just met.

Most times bad decisions lead to bad outcomes. Unfortunately we live in a society that leaves the door open for all kinds of reasoning; things are no longer about delayed gratification and young people often can’t process true risk.

All parents need to advise their kids of the Natalie Holloway story, as a warning to stay with their group.

Johnny Friendly

June 3rd, 2010
1:55 pm

How about this advice? Don’t be a drunken slut. This might keep your precious little strumpets from being tossed lifeless into the ocean.

JASon

June 3rd, 2010
2:02 pm

Jesus Christ Theresa. Chill the f out. Its not like this happens four thousand times a day. Taken is a fictional movie you moron

iRun

June 3rd, 2010
2:05 pm

Ha ha, you said “white slavery”!

I know Jonathan and White Slavery brought it up but it’s time for an update. It’s called Human Trafficking. By and large young women, as young as are the victims and they are trafficked for purposes mostly to do with sex. They are truly enslaved and are unable to escape for fear of their lives or the lives of loved ones back home.

But it is not just for sex. It is for labor, too, though the sex side gets the most attention.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_trafficking

“Taken” was a work of fiction and this article is a little alarmist. But, not completely. Know your son and/or daughter and be a parent. Is he/she mature enough to handle this? If you have any doubts at all, then adjust the plans.

My son is nearly 9 and he’s mature enough to handle walking to school alone or walking to the corner store alone and to walk to his friend’s house alone and to stay home alone while I or my husband go for a jog. But he’s not mature enough to babysit himself when Dad and I want a date night. Oddly enough, I’m not sure he’d handle summer sleep-away camp so well. He’s certainly not mature enough to ride MARTA alone.

But YMMV with kids.

I went to Russia when I was a senior in high school. We had a large group, with 4 adults. We pretty much ran free. I had a lot of fun. But I knew better than to go anywhere alone or to go off with someone I just met.

JC

June 3rd, 2010
2:06 pm

In re “Taken”; only the virgins were auctioned off; the others were placed in brothels and coerced into submission by shooting them up.

And Johnny Friendly; slut is an ugly word. Why would a girl be a slut if she wanted to go out and drink and flirt or get laid? Do you think it is a woman’s role to be the keeper of virtue for her family? The thing is, we have a right to be sluts if we so choose. Some dirtbag troglodyte doesn’t have the right to use you up and kill you when he’s done.

iRun

June 3rd, 2010
2:12 pm

And what’s with this obsession with virginity? OMG, nothing worse than a virgin when it comes to having sex.

I hope my son’s wife has a few years experience behind her belt before deciding to commit the REST OF HER LIFE to my son and the family they will make.

Good grief.

Creepy!

KH

June 3rd, 2010
2:13 pm

Johnny – Not a fair assessment at all, I knew a girl just a few years ago (close friend of a roommate) who was brutally murdered because she was on a job assignment, she took pictures for a magazine and it was basically a set up by this man who killed her so that she would be there alone.

I’m not saying Natalee didn’t make some poor decisions (and the friends who should have stayed with her) but violence, especially to women, can happen anywhere and it may have nothing to do with being a “drunken slut”.

Aquagirl

June 3rd, 2010
2:17 pm

The only reason Natalee Holloway got so much attention is because she was cute and white. I’m tired of these 24-hour “news” networks seizing on the latest Damsel In Distress story and scaring the h3ll out of people like Theresa. Children are most likely to be raped, abused, and murdered by someone you know. Driving on 285 is more dangerous than vacationing overseas. Most child kidnappings are custody disputes gone wrong.

Real life is entirely different than movies or on TV, they really aren’t the same thing. Assessing risk by what you see on a square screen is not good parenting.

tampabravos86

June 3rd, 2010
2:19 pm

honestly I’m 23 and in todays world what you said in this article is a joke. Ya I have followed the case of Natalee Holloway and everything and feel very bad for her cause I graduated from Norcross High School in 2005. Todays Women are stuborn and think they rule the world. Like a poster said above if you haven’t taught them how to take care of themselves by the time they are 18 you didn’t do your job as a parent. I was raised by a single mom so I had to grow up pretty quick. All these kids today feel like they are entitled to everything. Grow the Hell Up!!!!! Obivously she was looking to get laid by the wrong guy. Its her fault and her friends fault. Its called being independant and responsible of your own actions!

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

June 3rd, 2010
2:20 pm

van der Sloot picked up in Chile!!! However, they’re debating whether to release him until the paperwork comes through to send him to Chile — really, really — you just captured the guy — let’s release him while we wait for paperwork. just makes no sense.

“He will either be returned to Peru or released under supervision in Chile, however both paths eventually lead to his return to Lima,” says Inspector Rodriguez.

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Americas/2010/0603/Joran-van-der-Sloot-captured-in-Chile

Hangthadadtoo

June 3rd, 2010
2:24 pm

While it is important for women to be careful who they date, encounter, or go off alone with, it does not excuse the fact that HE IS A KILLER!!!! THAT HIS DAD, THE JUDGE, IS A LIAR!!!! This KILLER allowed his freedom time and time again and has managed to kill another woman. So while I agree with the comments about girls being careful -I have always said I would have fought one of my friends before she ever left a bar alone with three guys- I don’t think that’s the real problem. The real problem is that the father of this psycho and the Dutch Antilles Justice System failed!!!!

Dar

June 3rd, 2010
2:24 pm

“Its not just young women. There are some pretty stupid ADULT women out there, who still go home with a guy they just met in a bar……or at the store, etc.”

Yes. Thinking of that scene in the remake of Cape Fear when Sam Bowden’s co-worker brings Max Cady home with her…cringe.

Becky

June 3rd, 2010
2:28 pm

@Jeff,again no big deal..Like Becca and stepmom2, if we went together, we left together..One of the girls that ran with us, once made a comment
that she wouldn’t sleep alone..Well, she didn’t many, many nights, but as I said, the guy had to pass the ok test with the others first..And most of the time, he went to her apt. and she wasn’t really alone with him, we were there..Might be why she’s had about 6 husbands and goodness knows how many boyfriends..:)

So hopefully without sounding ugly..I’m sorry for what happened (or didn’t) and am glad to have you on here with us..I try to be nice (and I achive that sometimes)..

@Becca..I am so with you on your theory..We stood up for each other, we
made sure that we all went home safe..We hung out at some really wild places..I’m talking Stewart Ave. area..This was 30 years ago, but that side of town was still iffy..Heck, we called a place on Stewart Ave. once to find out if a firend of ours was there, they told us no..So we called a cab that took us from Marietta to Stewart Ave., went to the dorr, told them to tell our friend (the one that wasn’t there) to come pay the cab driver..He came out, paid him, then had to pay for 5 girls to get in the bar and our drinks for the rest of the night..Those were the good old days..

DB

June 3rd, 2010
2:33 pm

@JC: Sorry, no PC b.s. from me — I *do* think that a girl or a woman who gets drunk, loses control, and ends up in bed with a stranger is a slut. Not only a slut, but a stupid one, as well, since they have probably been regaled with warnings about drinking, men, sex, pregnancy and STDs for the last 20 years and have chosen to ignore it because “baby, it feels sooooo good.” But I’m an equal-opportunity judge: I also think that a guy who takes advantage of a woman in that condition is the worst kind of predator, man-slut, player, dog, whatever you want to call him (why is there no similar term for a “male slut”?) I won’t stand in anyone’s way to their right to be a slut — but they also can’t tell me what to think about them, either. I’m just at a loss as to why a girl or woman would not value themselves higher than prostitute by putting out for a few drinks and a few well-chosen words.

iRun

June 3rd, 2010
2:36 pm

DB, because sometimes people just like to have sex. What the heck is wrong with that? How is that in ANY way related to morality?

That being said, going anywhere alone to do anything with someone you don’t know very well is a bad idea. I mean, come on, if it’s likely the two, or three, or you are going to end up isolated then, hey, RED FLAG!

JoeV

June 3rd, 2010
2:40 pm

white slavery?

Wow. I think the word you were looking for was sex slavery; not white slavery. Goodness. What in the heck were you thinking when you typed that?

Sally

June 3rd, 2010
2:49 pm

@JoeV – look up the definition of white slavery (or go back and read previous posts that define it for you). I think the word you are now looking for is embarrassed.

iRun

June 3rd, 2010
3:00 pm

Sally, it’s an outdated term. That’s the point. It is not used in any official capacity anymore. In public health research it’s called human trafficking. White slavery is a term that came about to separate the white Europeans who were largely trafficked for sex from the blacks who were trafficked for sex and labor. In the 200 years since the phrase was coined we see that all slavery is against the law and the only slavery still in existences is human trafficking. Race no longer plays a part. It’s for sex and/or labor and it’s victims are largely poor and young and female of all races.

What’s embarrassing is to insist on using a term that brings to mind a separation of race for intention (white for sex and black for labor).

Not that Theresa meant that. She just used it thoughtlessly.

JC

June 3rd, 2010
3:04 pm

DB – I’m not going the bs route either. I was assualted as a teenager; I was doing acid, I lied to my parents about where I was, and I pretty much earned what I exposed myself to – I totally accepted responsibility for my complete lack of judgement being the sole contributor in my assault.

I also agree with you that anyone, regardless of gender (I just call male sluts muts), who gets drunk and goes home with someone they don’t know is stupid. What bothers me, though, is that we women all think we are fearless and brave and good judges of character, but you are none of those things as a young adult or a teenager.

Male or female, young or old, it comes down to how you are raised and your maturity level. Young girls looking for love and a good time fall for that claptrap and run home with someone attractive because they can, not because it will be good sex or lead to a lasting relationship. You reach a “maturity point” where you realize that exercising just the flesh is not as fulfilling as exercising the heart, mind and flesh. You can’t get that out of a one night stand.

I guess the rule my family adheres to is: don’t do anything you wouldn’t want your OWN children to know about.

nita

June 3rd, 2010
3:13 pm

excuse my language but this kid is a rich piece of crap and ought to be stung up by his gonads, whipped and doused with mercurochrome

Asian Al Gore

June 3rd, 2010
3:18 pm

Where is arr the articres on grobar rarming? Grobar Rarming is scrary and deadry. Be ararmed!

DB

June 3rd, 2010
3:20 pm

T: I think my last post got caught in the filter . . . :-)

Shannon OD from A Little Adrift

June 3rd, 2010
3:24 pm

I am a solo female traveler and I really feel empathy for the fear from this mother…but to go so far as to say that college age women should not travel is just too far. Many of the tips are valid, watching your drinks, taking certain precautions, but travel is an amazing experience, especially in the college years and fear should not stop women from traveling.

JATL

June 3rd, 2010
3:47 pm

@TWG -I went to Britain for 3 months with my college at 20. It was a fine experience! Yes, we ran off and got drunk a lot and partied with locals (but stayed in groups when going somewhere with guys) -so what? That was part of the learning experience and for God’s sake -when you’re 20, you should be allowed to travel without mommy and daddy! A friend of mine and I lied to our parents about the length of the trip and stayed on for 3 weeks to go to Scotland. We were going to head over to France, but we ran out of money. We lived on a dime a day, slept in a $9 a night NASTY hostel in Edinburgh and went to pubs at night where guys bought us pints and pub owners brought us dishes of “chips.” That dime a day we were spending went to a hard roll from a bakery every morning that we would eat with a cup of soup back at the hostel. Any extra cash we had was used to purchase day excursions and bus fare back to Gatwick in England. IT WAS AWESOME! One of the best learning experiences of my life! We spent our last night at Gatwick airport. I had a quarter in my wallet. A kind German man saw us there forever and brought us McDonalds. You know -the thing I’ve learned most in traveling on the fly, alone or with just another woman -for the most part people aren’t BAD -they’re actually very nice and helpful!

jan

June 3rd, 2010
5:14 pm

Life is meant to be lived and mistakes are meant to happen. Some we regret, some we never recover from, but parents have to trust and let go – Sheltering only makes our children weaker adults. Trust your parenting skills and know that you will spend many a sleepless night but in the end don’t you have to let them go.

jan

June 3rd, 2010
5:14 pm

I mean out of your house —

fk

June 3rd, 2010
6:47 pm

Teens do not always think logically, and they really do think bad things happen to other people, despite what you have taught them. Regardless of how mature they appear to be, they are still adults in the making. Add alcohol to the mix, and they are primed to make a mistake.

I think the biggest difference between these days and my “heyday” is that when my friends and I went out together, we went home together. That was the deal. We never left anyone behind. Funny how opinions changed, and many times that really hot guy you met at the end of the night was not so hot, when you met him the beginning of the next night, before the margaritas :)

I have a son, but I think if I had a daughter, I’d feel the same way: There is no need for an unchaperoned senior hs trip. I think that’s asking for trouble. Even if your kid is mature, you cannot count on everyone else acting appropriately. Peer pressure is tough. In college, a year older, and hopefully a year wiser after being on his own, if he’s got the money, then he can go.

convextech

June 4th, 2010
8:35 am

I don’t think ANY high school trip is a good idea. College-age? Of course. But high-school kids are just that – KIDS. I have two daughters, 20 & 25, and they were both just plain stupid when they were in high school. Mamby-pamby head games led to fights with their girlfriends and every other day they had a new set of friends. The kids these days are spoiled and entitled and I sure don’t know where they get that attitude. Now my 25yo is just graduating from college with straight As at the top of her class while we just celebrated my youngest daughter’s daughter’s first birthday. Some you can teach, some you can’t. That one is still making bad decisions but she is of age and I have to let her make her mistakes on her own.

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

June 4th, 2010
2:27 pm

I know I’m late to the game here, but TWG does realize that “Taken” was fiction, right? Did anyone watch Dracula and worry about their daughter going to Transylvania and hooking up with some guy named Vlad Impaler?

G.R.I.T.S.

June 4th, 2010
9:54 pm

my daughter has been driving from here to atlanta since she was 16…its about a 3 hour drive. of course i worried about her….breaking down and stuff…she had her cell phone…the first few trips and most of the time she takes someone with her…she has to call when she arrrives..and she usuallly calls along the way if she stops for any reason. going on a trip to the beach or something…nah…shes 18 now and could go if she wants to….i wouldnt like it…but the same bad stuff could happen to her here as well as anywhere…she has great friends who all look after each other etc….i have taught her all the saftey stuff etc….and hopefully she remembers it…when i was 18 i was hitch hiking across the country….and my mom would have killed me…she never knew where i was….i usually do know where my daughter is….she isnt gonna be put in a fence….and im not gonna fence her….i have taught her as soon as i realized what a free spirit she has (like her mom) how to be safe….thats all i can do…hope i taught her well…

Granny D

June 5th, 2010
2:11 am

After many years of living and travelling abroad, I am always mystified when I read the ideas of Americans with regard to their teenagers and young adult children. Unlike so many other cultures, American parents seem to feel that their children have a ‘right’ to ‘independence’. However, it seems to me that this so-called independence is what often leads to tragic results. And, I’m sorry to say that it also seems to me that so-called ‘independence’ is sometimes an excuse for lack of parenting. With nuclear and single-parent families and parents working two or more jobs to survive, how can children be supervised?

Active Duty Mom

June 5th, 2010
4:06 pm

HB, I’m with you on this one. I can’t wait to see what happens if any of Theresa’s kids decide at age 18 to join the military, where you are guaranteed to be moved to all kinds of places from okay to very dangerous. From what I have seen so far in the military, the people who were the most sheltered sheltered were and still are the ones that typically get into the worst trouble. Heck, I remember driving cross-country from the west coast to the east coast to and from different duty stations twice by myself in my early 20s (before cell phones) and traveling to 10 different European countries and to Japan by myself before I was 30. These experiences were great times and are great memories. Let’s face it, if you haven’t taught basic street smarts to your kids before they finish elementary school, they will only learn it the hard way.

Ole Guy

June 5th, 2010
7:49 pm

I might be from a distant planet, far-removed from the lunacy of late 20th/21st Century “ideals”. Just exactly what, from an academic point of view, is the purpose of a (pre-enrollment) college campus visit? The kid graduates from high school, raises hell for a few weeks, and THEN travels to U. At this point, between classes, exams, and all the anoying college stuff, the kid can scope out the local watering holes, and various venues of entertainment. I can almost guarantee that academics, particularly of the “-101″ freshman variety, is identical from one college to another.

These “visits” serve absolutely no purpose whatsoever…other than to serve as an opportunity to ogle the “campus crop”.

Johnny

June 8th, 2010
12:36 pm

This is a bad world and bad things happen, but I think she contributed to putting herself in the situation that made it very easy for her to get killed. You don’t have to be out of the country. I have been to panama City Beach many times and girls/women put themselves in those situations all the time. I have met women teachers down there who most of the time are being mentors to little kids, but on their free time, they choose to go down there and put themselves in those situations. I am not saying they deserve to be killed, but we don’t know that that guy was even in his right mind when he killed those women, if he did kill them. There are bad things/people in this world and it is our rtesponsibility to look out for ourselves and others. Killing that guy is not going to fix anything. Taking him off the streets is good and confining him to a certain place would work, but wasting his life is not going to fix anything. It is just vengeance. I am 37 and a virgin, and it was by choice. I choose to wait for the right person who loves me and I am in love with. If I can wait then so can they. If they don’t keep their legs closed, then they could just as easily die from AIDS. The AIDS virus can go through a condom. Maybe not as easily as if you weren’t wearing one, but it can go through. I have seen videos about it during my medical training.

jeena

June 10th, 2010
8:19 am

My 14 year old niece was attacked a few weeks ago by five teenagers who beat her up and stole her cell phone. It happened because a fight broke out while she was in a dance club (no alcohol is served), she got scared and left her friends in the dance club to walk down the street to call her father, and she was attacked. When I asked her if she remembered me talking to her about the Natalee Holloway case and never to leave her friends, she admitted she remembered what happened to Natalee, but she panicked when she saw the fight break out and left her friends in the dance club, her friends did not get hurt. When fear and panic set it, people don’t do logical things and make mistakes.

Johnny: HIV (Aids) is not the only STD that is a big problem today, high risk HPV (human papillomavirus) is causing deaths from cervical and anal cancers and both men and women are getting HPV-related oral cancer. There is no protection from HPV , condoms don’t work because the HPV virus can live on skin that condoms don’t protect. The HPV virus can be transferred in the saliva also, so French kissing isn’t safe either. The only protection from certain strains of HPV is Gardasil injections or abstaining from all skin to skin contact. Men have no symptoms from high risk HPV (cancer causing strains), and there is no HPV medical testing for men, so many men are carrying and transmitting HPV unknowingly. Women can have the HPV/DNA test with their Pap Smear, but there is no HPV testing for saliva for either sex. Since you are a virgin and looking for a wife, maybe you should consider Gardasil injections for yourself, the government is advocating Garadasil injection for men and women aged 9 yrs, to 26 yrs old. Many women who are testing positive for high risk HPV are not telling the men that they are infected for fear of rejection, so be very careful. Most of my friends have stopped dating due to the devastating news regarding HPV.

jeena

June 10th, 2010
8:55 am

A few months ago President Obama lifted the ban on HIV positive people entering the U.S., so between many more HIV positive people entering the U.S,, in combination with the HPV epidemic, it’s amazes me that anyone would want to date any longer. Parents who want their children to be free spirits should take a realistic look at what America has become today, many freedoms we used to enjoy and took for granted are gone, there is no such thing as safe human contact when you can’t even share a kiss safely unless you are injected with Gardasil, travel is not safe, our school’s are not safe, our young men and women aren’t even safe on our military bases. Protect your children as best you can in our dangerous environment.

Lindsay

June 11th, 2010
11:28 am

Okay, all the women traveling on Natalee Holloway’s trip came back except for her. The choices Natalee made were not the choices the majority of girls made. It’s not Natalee’s fault, but maybe girls just need to look out for each other more.

amy s Jones

June 27th, 2010
1:41 pm

I don’t care how smart you think you are, it only takes a second to make a fatal wrong decision and your life is changed forever. People like Urin Van Der Snot are out there and they are preying on young women like Natalee & stephany.

sue

July 25th, 2010
2:08 am

I found it very strange in the movie when the mother was told she was missing immediately said contact the FBI. This was even before she was given time to turn up. Maybe she was not murdered and did not want to return home.

Eric

August 9th, 2010
7:20 pm

(When my sister traveled to Europe she went with my mom. My mom was in her 40s at the time and my sister had just graduated high school. They went through abc tours and my sister loved Italy. To this day, my sister still regrets going with my mother because she was over controlling. My mom didn’t like the heat and didn’t want to go out at night. I personally think that it was my sisters choice and she shouldn’t complain because my mother actually paid for the trip despite

Traveling is dangerous. But it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t travel. I have read a lot of the comments posted here and some of them make too many assumptions about people. Every person is different and has grown up under different circumstances. NOT everyone young person has lived a sheltered life or doesn’t know that there actions could inadvertently end up costing them something later on in their lives. Many people that do travel alone don’t do it because they chose to. Forget about any STDs that someone may contract because people can get them locally(in your own house) and most people don’t travel to get laid; at least I don’t and I’m a guy. Bottom line I would advise over, over, over worry about your child traveling alone if they decide to do so and you trust them enough, Given that they are at least 18, they actually planned the trip(booked room and transportation), and saved up their own money to pay for their trip.
Sincerely,
EAC

Stephanie

September 16th, 2010
9:39 pm

Wow. I’m shocked at this article. I don’t want to offend anyone, but I feel so lucky that my parents weren’t as panicked as a lot of the parents on this site seem to be.

I’m no mother but my parents put a lot of effort into making me confident enough to feel I could do anything. I’m now 19-years-old and I have spent at least 15 months away from home not including the year I’ve spent at university across the country from them.

Those 15 months included a three month backpacking trip when I was 18. I spent three weeks in a tour group of western Europe with my best friend then a week by myself in a tour group in Egypt then I proceeded to backpack for two months by myself in western and eastern Europe.

And I had an INCREDIBLE time. I learned so much over those three months. I think it’s such a shame that people think women traveling alone is so dangerous. If you have common sense and can speak English worth a damn, you’re going to be fine. I’ve never had a problem and I’ve never run into anyone on the backpacking circuit who’s had a real problem either.

I think it’s wonderful that you obviously care about the well-being of your children. However, the way you’re showing it could be hindering their ability to grow into independent adults. If your child has an ounce of intelligence and common sense, they’ll do much better than you think they will.

However, what’s normal for me may not be for you. I’m Canadian and, I’ll be honest, nearly all of my friends have traveled somewhere by themselves by now. Be it overseas or just camping in the next province. So it could be cultural too.

I don’t want to stereotype, but the most immature young people I saw in hostels, in residences, in tour groups were almost always American. Perhaps this alarmist attitude so many of you seem to have has something to do with it.