Youtuber suddenly shuts down with secret call for help
A female Youtuber with over 5.8 million subscribers uploaded a final video to the platform using a hand gesture commonly used to to signal help from a domestic violence situation.
In the 30-second video uploaded on January 10, Turkey-based Syrian Om Sayf is wearing a shirt that reads ‘Freedom’ and titled her video “Last video on my channel”. She delivers a message in Arabic to her followers.
“I spent the best two years on Youtube with you, I won’t upload any videos on my channel, however, I want to tell you something,” she says, according to a translation by news agency Australscope.
She then raises her left hand and makes the signal, before promptly saying goodbye and ending the video, the news agency explains.
The hand gesture was created by the Canadian Women’s Foundation in an effort for victims of domestic violence to discreetly signal for help if they were in danger during the lockdown.
Signal for help
The hand signal involves placing your palm to the camera, tucking your thumb into your hand, and then bending your fingers over the thumb into a fist.
The signal recently went viral after a TikTok user demonstrated how it could be silently used on a video chat in June.
Ms Sayf made the hand signal shortly before ending the video leaving her followers concerned for her safety, with many calling the Turkish authorities to report the incident.
The video spawned the hashtag #ساعدوا_ام_سيف in Arabic which translates to ‘Rescue Om Sayf’, which quickly went viral on social media platforms.
Some viewers have pointed out a bruise on Ms Sayf’s left wrist.
Others speculated the video was a publicity stunt to attract more Youtube subscribers.
Domestic violence survivor speaks out about community with high abuse rate
Om Sayf appears on BBC to explain her story
Four days after her video Ms Sayf appeared on the BBC’s Arabic service to explain her story.
According to Egyptian news site See, Ms Sayf didn’t address the hand signal and kept answers short, explaining she was leaving Youtube due to “stress and personal issues”, but didn’t elaborate.
Ms Sayf touched on the stress she experienced while posting her videos, See reported.
It said she spoke of various difficult situations, including fans who disturbed her privacy. She would not confirm if she had plans to return to social media.
Ms Sayf launched her YouTube channel in 2017 where she posted content related to the popular online game PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) as well as videos showing gathering and housework.
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