Elizabeth Smart, herself the victim of a terrifying and lengthy kidnap ordeal, has commented on the shock discovery of three women who’d been missing for years captive in a Cleveland home.
Elizabeth Smart was just a teenager when she was abducted from her home in Utah while her family slept. Hope grew dim that the girl would be found alive, but she was located with her abductors nine months later in March of 2003.
Smart was 14 at the time of her abduction, and now bravely advocates for the victims of similar crimes. Earlier this week, she spoke out about the insidious effects of “abstinence eduction” on abuse victims, saying she felt “so dirty and filthy” after her own abduction that she lost any faith in her rescue.
Before the daring rescue, Smart explained of the effects of abstinence teachings on her morale during the ordeal:
“Why would it even be worth screaming out? Why would it even make a difference if you are rescued? Your life still has no value.”
Speaking this morning on Good Morning America, Smart said that she was thrilled to learn that not one but three victims had been recovered after the intervention of a neighbor.
Smart explains that the positive outcome is proof that hope should not be given up even if years pass:
“I am so overjoyed —so happy to hear another happy ending … We need to have constant vigilance, constantly keep our eyes open and ears open because miracles do happen.”
Elizabeth Smart is optimistic that the three women rescued in Ohio can “find their own pathway back to some sense of wellbeing,” and she added of the victims’ abductor:
“He’s stolen so much from them already, they deserve to be happy. And I would tell them I hope that they realize there is so much ahead of them, that they don’t need to hold on to the past … They don’t need to relive everything that’s happened, because it’s proof, their rescue is proof that there are good people out there.”
In addition to her media work, Elizabeth Smart now heads up a foundation for victims of similar crimes.