How One Trauma Survivor Uses TikTok to Help Others Avoid the Same Fate

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Kara Robinson Chamberlain was taken in 2002. She was watering plants in a friend's front yard, and when she was left alone, a man named Richard Evonitz pulled into the driveway and forced her into his car with a gun. She bravely escaped, astonishing police, and since then has used her experience to educate other women on the dangers of predators...

Gone Without a Trace

Kara thought that sunny June afternoon would be like every other she'd had during the summer of 2002. She was over at a friend's house watering plants and helping with some yard work when, in a flash, her life changed forever. When her friend went inside to take a quick shower, a strange car parked in the driveway...

"Can You Help Me?"

Many of these stories start out the same. A stranger approaches and asks for help, and, feeling pressured into complying, the target is quickly manipulated and forced into a car or van. This didn't even cross Kara's mind at the time, though. The strange man got out of his car and asked if he could sell Kara some magazines...

Too Close For Comfort

When Kara hesitated, the man quickly pulled out a gun and ordered her into his car. Terrified, she did what he said. She was afraid that she'd get hurt, or he'd hurt her friend if she came back outside. Little did Kara know the horror that was in store for her next...

Another Victim

The man forced Kara into a plastic container, tied her up, and gagged her before shutting her in the trunk of his car. She was completely petrified. How was nobody seeing this? Who was this man? What was he going to do to her?

Wanted: Richard Evonitz

The man behind Kara's abduction was a known rapist and serial killer named Richard Evonitz. He targeted young women that matched her description, sexually abused them, and then got rid of their bodies. He took Kara back to his apartment where he held her captive for 18 hours and tortured her...

Following His Rules

Evonitz was extremely convincing when he kidnapped Kara. He asked for consent when approaching her and then caught her off-guard with a gun. He ordered her not to scream and reminded her that he had a weapon and that he would use it. He drove away from her suburban neighborhood, and she listened intently to any noises she could hear outside of the car. He was much more calculated than Kara anticipated, but she was also ready to fight for her life...

Committing It All to Memory

As soon as she was let out of the bin, Kara made sure to memorize every possible detail she could about Evonitz's apartment. He hadn't told her his name or where they were, but she found small things to latch onto like his dentist's name on a piece of mail and a serial number on the inside of the bin. Kara was determined to stay alive...

An Interrogation

Evonitz immediately handcuffed Kara to a radiator and began to ask her a series of questions. He was meticulous, writing down everything she said with care. Did she have a boyfriend? Did she have any prior sexual experience? Kara didn't realize it then, but every move Evonitz made was his way of gaining psychological control over her...

A Trophy

Police later discovered that Evonitz kept these notes from all of his previous victims as a sort of trophy. He liked to document everything about them, and there was even a journal found that linked him to a supposed next victim after he killed Kara, if he got the chance. The records he kept of these girls were a way to savor their memory long after he disposed of them...

No One Was Looking For Her

One of Evonitz's most useful tactics was showing his victims the local news as proof that nobody was searching for them. He told Kara her family didn't even miss her. They didn't care that she was gone. It was a way for them to feel hopeless and give in to him. But this was something Kara refused to believe...

An Escape Plan

Kara knew her disappearance would be an immediate cause for concern, so she didn't fall for any of Evonitz's lies. That night, he handcuffed her to his bed and slept beside her, but lucky for Kara, he hadn't done a good job of securing her. She was able to pry the cuffs off with her teeth, and she carefully slipped out of the room...

Running For Her Life

Kara knew that Evonitz's sleeping was her only chance at escape. She pried the door to the apartment open, ran down the hall and out into the street. She flagged down a car and begged them to take her to the police station. The couple listened intently to what she was saying and believed that she'd been kidnapped...

The Police Weren't Convinced

To Kara's intense shock, the police were skeptical of her story, even though she was sitting in front of there with the handcuffs dangling off one of her arms. She felt completely demoralized by their lack of empathy or belief. She'd been missing for just 24 hours when she made her way to the police station, and for that reason, the officer didn't feel like her story added up...

Taking Action

Kara's story was finally taken seriously, and Evonitz was arrested. However, he committed suicide after confessing to his sister and being surrounded by police. Instead of falling victim to her trauma, however, Kara vowed to use her story as a way to educate others on the dangers of serial killers and kidnappings...

Pursuing a Career in Law Enforcement

The summer after Kara was kidnapped, she got a job with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department. She did administrative work throughout her entire high school and college careers, specifically focusing on victim services. After she graduated, she joined the police academy. The final stage in her career was working as an investigator for child sexual assault and abuse cases...

Using Her Platform For Good

Kara knew that many young people were constantly on the Internet, so she decided to find a platform that would help educate them about the dangers of predators. She used TikTok to make quick, easily digestible videos and tell her story from her own perspective. She hoped by making it personal, young people would take her lessons seriously...

A Storytelling Technique

Today, Kara has a massive following on TikTok. Over 176,000 people are invested in her story, and the way she shares her content is unique. She posts quick, vlog-style videos recounting her experience in a way that is easy to understand for younger viewers. She also emphasizes when things her kidnapper said were untrue even though at the time he was so persuasive, so others in similar situations can read red flags...

Constant Safety Posts

Some of Kara's other posts are just basic safety tips that you can take with you every day. Because women have frequently been targets of assault while out running alone, this is something Kara highlights frequently. She also tends to go running alone, showing her strength as a survivor and her inability to give in to fear...

Living a Normal Life

After Kara retired from the police force, she got married and had two kids. A lot of people comment on her TikTok channel and ask if she's ever worried about her children being abducted. Her response has been pretty surprising...

The Statistics Differ Between Young Boys and Girls

@kararobinsonchamberlain

Reply to @little.miss.merciless  ##keepourchildrensafe ##questions ##survivorsquad ##qanda ##parenting ##momsoftiktok ##dadsoftiktok ##boymom

♬ original sound - Kara Chamberlain

Kara says that, despite having a lot of control over her young boys' lives since they're homeschooled, she isn't worried about them dealing with the same trauma that she did. Statistically, boys are less likely to be abducted than young girls are. In that way, Kara and her husband are lucky, but she still educates them on "stranger danger" every day...

How She Came to Terms With Her Captor's End

Along with recounting her incident in story form and sharing safety tips, Kara also answers questions from her viewers. Many are interested in the immediate aftermath of her case, like how she dealt with her captor committing suicide rather than facing her in court. Many women fear for their lives after their captor makes parole, so Kara knows she's lucky...

Silver Linings

Many of Kara's TikToks are also just feel-good posts to show that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Her trauma has not been easy to overcome, but there are things in life that make things easier. In this case, a police officer familiar with her story asked to name their new K-9 partner Kara, after her...

Positive Mental Health Habits

Kara also makes sure her posts are attainable for everyone. You don't have to be a kidnapping survivor to follow her page. She shares her positive mental health habits (like gratitude journaling, mentioned in this TikTok), and explains her tips for calming herself down during a panic attack or depressive episode. She's like a thirty-second therapist...

Cultivating a Following Based on Self-Love

Kara values self-love and acceptance above all, no matter what your trauma is, or even if you don't have any at all. She shares lots of positive affirmations and tips to work through anxiety and doubt. This particular video discusses the difficult task of accepting what happened to you...

Promoting Awareness For Child Abuse

Because of her background in law enforcement and working with victims, Kara also uses her knowledge to shed light on common cases of things like "grooming" seen in the media. In this video, she explains why a particular Hasbro toy raised controversy and desensitized children to things like "sexual touch," which leads to problems in the future should they ever be abused. Issues like grooming make it difficult for children to differentiate between what is and is not appropriate if they're ever taken advantage of, and Kara makes sure her followers are aware of that...

Positive Feedback

Kara gets lots of comments like this on her page from viewers who truly take her content to heart. There aren't many advocates to this extent, and Kara works hard to be a positive voice for victims. Using the platform of TikTok is also a smart move on her part, because it has such a wide audience and the videos are often upbeat and creative, making the viewer feel safe while watching...

A Professional Motivational Speaker

Aside from being a trending TikToker, Kara also works as a motivational speaker. She addresses all sorts of audiences and shares her story with whoever can benefit from it. Whether it's framed as a lesson on how to avoid abductors, a way to heal from past trauma, or tips on positive mental health, she has a platform for it all...

A True Crime Feature

For audiences who prefer to learn about cases like Kara's through re-enactments, she was featured on an episode of True Crime Daily where she recounted her abduction alongside realistic footage. No matter how you learn best about safety, make sure you take all of her tips seriously...

A Documentary In The Works

Other kidnapping survivors like Elizabeth Smart have had their stories retold as feature-length documentaries, and now it's Kara's turn. Her pitch has officially been green-lit by a production company, as she shares above. The more awareness she can spread, the safer children will be...

A New Lease on Life

Kara's story is inspirational to anyone who hears it, and what's most important about her survival is that she never let her trauma define her. She's living proof that you can move on and be a stronger person in spite of bad things that have happened to you. Let her be a source of light whenever you're feeling overwhelmed with darkness.

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