It’s one of the kidnapping crimes of the century.
I lived a few blocks away from Elizabeth Smart when she was kidnapped from her Salt Lake City bedroom in 2002.
I also worked as a news producer for FOX so the story has been one I have followed intensely from the first hours of her abduction until now, when she has written a memoir, My Story, revealing details of her experience she has never before shared publicly.
As I was from the moment she stepped out her front door hours after her safe return to wave at our news cameras and say ‘thank you,’ I am blown away by what an impressive young lady she is.
Cabled to a tree, forced to use a bucket to relieve herself, starving, repeatedly raped – Elizabeth Smart has never played the victim. From the moment of her return she has empowered herself and lived her life purposefully and, as she says, not allowed Brian David Mitchell to rob her of her humanity. In fact, that’s exactly what she told the three survivors of the Ohio kidnappings. As Yahoo reports, she said, “…nothing that anybody else can do to them will ever diminish their value…Each of us are born with value that will never leave for our entire life.”
Smart has been busy proving that over and over again. In 2011, she established the Elizabeth Smart Foundation to advocate for missing children and help prevent predatory crimes. In 2012, she married Matthew Gilmour, whom she met while serving a mission for the Mormon church in Paris.
Smart is the ultimate kidnapping survivor, not only forging ahead in life, but thriving. Something others in her shoes have struggled with. “I want people to know that I’m happy in my life right now,” Smart told The Associated Press. “I also, even more so, want to reach out to people who might not be in a good situation. Maybe they’re in a situation that was similar to the one that I was in.”
Smart said she hopes the book can help other kidnapping and rape survivors know recovery and a happy life is possible.
My Story hits bookshelves Oct. 7.
Image source: Monica Bielanko
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