Elizabeth Smart was rescued from her kidnappers 10 years ago, has taken time to adjust to a normal life, and is happily married. Now that she has successfully put her past behind her, Smart has chosen to dig up old bones and write a book detailing the horror of her experience in order to heal herself and hopefully help others.
Elizabeth is currently appearing on various talk shows in order to promote the book titled My Story, including a visit to Anderson Cooper’s 360. Watching her speak, it’s difficult to believe that the bright, articulate 25-year-old endured a horrific 9-month ordeal that included multiple daily rapes, torture, and beatings.
The former victim told Anderson that she was empowered to write her story because of this “staggering” statistic: one in four girls and one in six boys are sexually abused before the age of 18. She also said that she’s completely frank and truthful in the book, sharing “100%” of what happened to her during her nightmarish imprisonment.
In the book, Elizabeth details her abduction at age 14 from the bedroom of her family’s Salt Lake City home and her subsequent abuse by street preacher Brad Mitchell and his wife Wanda Barzee.
"The next nine months, my days consisted of being hungry, of being bored to death because he talked nonstop always about himself," she said. "I mean, talk about self-absorbed. And then my days consisted of being raped. I mean, not just once, multiple times a day."
Although Elizabeth says that it wasn’t long into her ordeal that she decided to become a “survivor,” several people have questioned why she didn’t attempt to escape the couple earlier. When Anderson brought up this sensitive question, Elizabeth replied, “You can never judge a child or a victim of any crime on what they should have done, because you weren't there and you don't know and you have no right just to sit in your armchair at home and say 'Well, why didn't you escape? Why didn't you do this?' I mean, they just don't know."
Elizabeth also discussed the Cleveland kidnapping victims during her conversation with Anderson, telling the host, "I want to reach out to those survivors and those victims. I want them to know that these things do happen, but that doesn't mean that we have to be defined by it for the rest of your life. You can move forward and you can be happy."