Elizabeth Smart’s terrifying nine-month ordeal is back in the spotlight after disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar has been transferred to a federal prison in Arizona, where her kidnapper Brian David Mitchell was serving his life sentence. Nassar pleaded guilty to sexually abusing several girls, including U.S. Olympic gymnasts and was sentenced to 175 years in prison. His sentencing and prison transfer served as a recall to Elizabeth’s 2002 abduction.
Although Larry Nassar’s crime has nothing to do with Elizabeth Smart’s kidnapping, people just can’t seem to not think about the now 30-year-old survivor’s torment in the past. She was snatched from her bedroom by a delusional Utah street preacher Brian David Mitchell, who her family gave a job to when they saw him in the street and felt sorry for. She was then dragged to the mountains where she lived for nine months with Mitchell and his wife Wanda Barzee, raped, starved, and mentally abused.
Despite the painful memory, Elizabeth Smart has been using her unfortunate experience to help other people, even if it means getting a lot a backlash for the things she did not do during her captivity. Although she was hailed as a hero by many, there were people unsatisfied with the way she handled things, probably forgetting that Elizabeth was only 14-years-old when she was kidnapped, threatened and brainwashed.
This past week has given me a lot to think about, I spoke in both Atlanta and New Orleans, met some wonderful people, heard some heartbreaking stories, and watched as different people came together to make a change. I am constantly overwhelmed at the support and love and kind comments I have received over the years and I want to say thank you! You will never know how much they mean to me. To everyone out there who is working and sacrificing to help others Thank You.
One thing that bothered a lot of people is why Elizabeth Smart didn’t run away from her captors. The child safety activist has previously told Megyn Kelly on TODAY that “It’s not because any one of us enjoys being hurt. It’s not because any one of us enjoys being raped or kidnapped. It’s because we can. We do everything we can to survive, and there are reasons why we make those decisions.”
After being asked the same question over and over again, Elizabeth Smart shared to Dr. Oz that she felt accused of not doing enough from her kidnappers.
“Whenever I used to be asked those questions, I’d feel really defensive and I couldn’t understand why,” she told Dr. Oz.
“And then one day I realized, my brain was not hearing the question, it was hearing an accusation.”
Elizabeth Smart revealed that she has forgiven her captors. However, she noted that she didn’t do it for them, but for her peace of mind.