Sarah Taylor had just arrived in San Diego to begin her career as a sports reporter when the excitement of her new life situation quickly turned horrific. What was supposed to be a leisurely run through what she considered to be a safe neighborhood ended in a man attempting to abduct her.
Law enforcement authorities determined that the assailant was attempting to abduct her for the purposes of human trafficking.
With April serving as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Taylor — now a mental performance coach and wife to Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Trent Taylor — shared her story through a video with “I am Second,” and shared how her faith in God helped her get through it personally while also allowing her to find forgiveness toward her assailant.
“The name of Jesus brought so much comfort in all of the tremendous fear,” Taylor said.
Taylor arrived in San Diego and settled on living in La Jolla, a family-friendly suburban town just north of San Diego. She felt a run would be a good way to check out her surroundings.
“As I was running, I noticed that there was a man who had the back door of the passenger side of his vehicle open, and he was bent down, and he had something in his hand,” she said in the video. “Before I knew it, he had turned around and grabbed me. I was so shocked. I almost thought it was a joke, like, ‘Why are you touching me?’
“But then it got real.”
She felt “intense” pain in her chest, where the man had his hands locked. The pain was so bad that she thought she’d been stabbed. The man began to yank her hair and assault her before, as she describes it, shoving her into the back of his vehicle.
“It was in that moment that I remember thinking back to a story I had heard on ‘Oprah,’” she said.
In that story, a woman had been taken to a stranger’s car, and Taylor remembered her saying, “I knew if I got in his car, I was going to die.”
“I heard her voice as he was shoving me in the back of his car say, ‘If you get in this car, you’re going to die,’” Taylor recalled. “I knew I had no choice but to fight.”
She kicked. She punched. Probably many other actions she doesn’t fully remember, she said. She finally identified what was causing the pain in her chest: a taser. She wiggled her way out of the man’s hold, dodged an attempt by him to tase her again, and ran into the middle of a road in the residential area.
Someone began to drive down the street and she flailed her arms to flag them down. It ended up being another young woman, who told her to get in her car and drove her home.
The woman’s name, as fate would have it, was Sarah.
“In that moment I really felt like she was my angel,” Taylor said.
God took what was meant for evil and turned it for good in @sarahjctaylor’s story. 🙌
Have you watched her White Chair Film yet? Her story is truly remarkable and inspiring. 🤍
— I Am Second (@iamsecond) April 11, 2022
She took time to collect herself before alerting her family about the incident and working with law enforcement to identify the suspect. Eventually, though, she found herself at home alone in silence. The fear began to set in. She closed all her blinds and fell to the ground crying.
Later that week, she went back to the street where the attempted abduction happened and identified to a detective a vehicle that looked like the one she’d remembered. It turned out to be the one, and it led detectives to identify the suspect, which Taylor confirmed through a police lineup. Detectives were able to determine that it wasn’t someone stalking Taylor, but instead someone trying to abduct her and enter her into the human trafficking cartel.
“I was kind of left to go on as normal, and I quickly realized that there was no going on as normal,” Taylor said.
She experienced nightmares every single night in the short term following the incident.
“I truthfully believed everyone wanted to kill me, and that I wasn’t safe, and that I was going to die,” she said. “All of the happiness and joy that I usually carry with me was just stolen. That’s when I decided to seek help.”
She called her church to seek a faith-based therapist and found one right away, and it was a turning point for her, she said.
“I had this moment in therapy where I closed my eyes for a second and I heard a voice,” she said. “It was a man, and right away, I knew it was Jesus. He said my name. He said, ‘Sarah, don’t be fearful. I will never leave you nor forsake you.’
“Ever since that moment, I felt like I had this incredible peace.”
She started just saying His name out loud when she began to get fearful: “Jesus.” She decided that instead of letting this experience cripple her with fear, she was going to “be better for this” and come back stronger.
The next step was forgiving the man who had tried to abduct her and caused the entire situation. It was important to her to find the ability to offer genuine, authentic forgiveness to this man. Doing so was the only way she was going to truly heal, she said.
Once again, she turned to Jesus.
“I think of Jesus on the cross, and I think of Him forgiving all these people who did Him wrong,” she said. “So if He can do that, I can forgive this person. Again, though it took me many years, ultimately it brought me so much peace.”
The Taylors now work together to find causes to support and ways to help raise awareness about human trafficking. One such organization they support is the Tim Tebow Foundation. In 2020, Trent chose to wear cleats featuring the foundation for the NFL’s “My Cause My Cleats” week.
A cause so incredibly close to my heart.
Thank you @Trent5Taylor for bringing awareness to modern-day slavery. May we always speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves.
— Sarah Taylor, M.S. (@sarahjchaffee) December 5, 2020
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