On the twenty-year anniversary of her rescue, Elizabeth Smart is recalling the horrifying event that happened to her, when she was only 14-years-old.
Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped from her bedroom in Salt Lake City and held hostage by her captors for nine months. Now, Smart works as a victim’s advocate, sharing her story and encouraging women in trafficking situations to share their own.
For the 20th anniversary of her rescue, Smart posted a photo of her family to Instagram. The caption read in part,
“It is fair to say I could have never imagined my life turning out the way it has. 20 years ago when I was kidnapped I didn’t know if I would survive, each day was a question right up until I was rescued. […] And now 20 years later looking back although it was difficult and often overwhelming I’m so grateful for my experiences and the path it has lead me down, meeting my husband, having children, learning a whole new level of empathy and compassion, meeting the most amazing and dedicated individuals, and being able to devote my life to a cause that I feel so passionate about and feeling like I’m contributing to the betterment of humanity is more than I could ask for. Thank you again, and God bless us all.“
Smart shared with CBS Mornings, “March 12 is nothing but a good day, nothing but a happy day. I mean, the biggest miracle in my life happened on March 12.”
Smart used her platform to create a course for adolescents called, “Wholehearted Consent”. The class is designed to teach young people how to recognize when their personal boundaries are being crossed and what steps to take to protect themselves.
“If you don’t know what your boundary is and something happens, I mean, that can have devastating effects,” Smart said. “It can follow you and shadow you for years to come.”
Though Smart is still feeling the effects of her abduction, she lives by a “victim-no-more” mentality.
“The day after I was rescued, she [Smart’s mother] said to me, ‘Elizabeth, what this man has done is terrible. There aren’t words to describe how wicked and evil he is. He’s stolen nine months of your life that you will never get back. … But the best punishment you could give him is to be happy.”