Elizabeth Smart was abducted as a young girl, held captive for nine months and raped repeatedly.
She managed to survive the ordeal and while some women would choose to forget about it, Smart has chosen to share her story in hopes of empowering other women.
Smart said that being positive wasn’t easy at first and that her mother helped motivate her to use her experience to help others and to feel empowered herself.
“What these people have done to you is terrible and there aren’t words strong enough to describe how wicked and evil these people are,” Smart said her mother told her. “But the best punishment you could ever give them is to be happy. Move forward with your life and follow your dreams, do exactly what you want to do because by feeling sorry for yourself and by dwelling in the past … that’s only allowing these people to steal more of your life away from you and they don’t deserve a single second more,” reported the Democrat and Chronicle.
— Deseret News (@DeseretNews) September 30, 2014
“I remember just sitting down … I felt like what was the point in even trying any more … I should just give up because I was now worthless, I was chained up … and I remember my mom telling me that she would always love me, no matter what. I didn’t matter where I went or the people I hung out with or the choices I made, she would always love me. It doesn’t mean she would always agree with me or that my decisions would always make her happy but that she would always love me … I remember that giving me so much hope and deciding that was worth surviving for, that was worth living for. Maybe nobody else would ever accept me back or maybe nobody else would want anything to do with me ever again. But that was enough,” she added.
Smart’s abductors are in prison and Smart has moved on to write a book about her experience and travels the world talking to other women who have been abducted and raped.
Helping other people has helped her heal and feel better about herself.