Elizabeth Smart is for the first time sharing all of the grisly details about her nine months in captivity after she was abducted from her bedroom a decade ago. Of particular note, she told TheBlaze about the surprisingly positive impact the horrific scenario had on her faith.
Smart said that her new memoir “My Story” contains information she’s never shared publicly before. This book is different, she said, because it allows readers to experience what happened from her perspective.
“I never shared my story from my perspective and I never shared a lot of things surrounding what happened when I was kidnapped,” Smart, who is now happily married and living in Utah, told TheBlaze.
Taken at knife-point from her bedroom in Salt Lake City in 2002 when she was just 14, Smart was raped daily and abused by her captors, Brian David Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee. TheBlaze previously interviewed Smart over the summer to discuss her emotional recovery after she was rescued.
Today, Smart isn’t dwelling on the past. She said she hopes “My Story” will inspire readers and help victims realize that they are not alone.
“I really hope that people walk [away] with a renewed sense of hope,” she said. “I do a lot of public speaking … but every time I speak I have at least one person come up to me and tell me that they were raped or sexually abused.”
Smart said one in four girls and one in six boys are assaulted before they reach the age of 18, according to Centers for Disease Control estimates. She said she’s made it her mission to reach people like her who have been forced to face horrific scenarios.
For those impacted by abuse, Smart said she wants to show them that “they can move forward and take their life back and be the person they want to be.”
For her, healing happened through music, horseback riding and spending time with her family. A devout Mormon before and after her ordeal, she also relied heavily on her faith to cope in the aftermath.
While Mitchell and Barzee manipulated religion in an effort to hold her captive, she said her belief in God was never swayed or negatively impacted by the experience. In fact, Smart said her attackers’ efforts had the opposite internal impact.
“My parents have always raised me believing in a kind and loving God who cares about each of his children here on earth,” she told TheBlaze. “When I was kidnapped and being told that all of these things were done because God commanded it — it made my personal faith stronger, because I knew God would never demand these things.”
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