Michaela Smith, who is now 18-years-old, also revealed that she has tried to convince and encourage her mother not to divorce her estranged father, Michael Smith.
Smith, who hails from Pell City, Alabama, made the startling discovery in April 2011 when she spotted a red flashing light between some of her trophies, which turned out to be a camera.
An investigation was then conducted and it soon became apparent that her dad was the man responsible. Evidence revealed that he had filmed her on four separate occasions and he had stashed dozens of images onto his computer. Because of this Smith was imprisoned for 12 months.
Michaela has now been talking about her ordeal, almost three years after it took place, as she received the Bryant-Jordan Student-Athlete Achievement Award, an accolade that is handed out to student-athletes who have overcome tumultuous events and still prosper in their studies.
She told AL.com, “I lost my innocence that day. I realise it was horrible but it was a necessary price in order to help my father and to use this experience to help others. That sacrifice has created positive changes in so many other people.”
Smith candidly noted that she was initially devastated at the discovery, however she has been able to forgive him because of how much she has been able to help other victims. She even praised her father, explaining that he has changed because of his time behind bars.
“Sometimes it takes hitting rock bottom for us to make a change and that is what happened to my father,” Smith declared. “I am so thankful for the year he spent in prison because it truly saved his life.”
Michaela made the discovery while she was in her room with her mother, Rhonda. The Smith matriarch immediately feared the worst and blamed herself for placing the camera in the room, before she then contacted her other daughter, Janet, to assist with examining Michael’s computer.
Michaela has insisted that she wants her mother to stay with her father, despite the incident, stating, “Families are supposed to stick together. Marriages are not easy. A man and wife should stay together. They made a promise to God. There is always counselling and help if things get bad.”
Rhonda and Michael have been separated for over three years, but they are yet to officially divorce and even attend the same church.
Michaela hasn’t spoken to her Michael since he was released from prison last March, and if he tries to contact her he will be sent back. However, Michaela has admitted that while she is still not ready to meet him yet, she could change her mind in the future.
[Image via Facebook]