Elizabeth Smart has revealed she never told her parents about the horrific abuse she suffered during her nine-month captivity where she was tied up and raped daily, saying, ‘I was embarrased and ashamed.’
Smart made headlines in June 2002 when she was abducted at knifepoint from her family’s Salt Lake City home when she was just 14 by handyman Brian David Mitchell.
She was rescued nine months later in March 2003 after two witnesses recognized her abudctors.
Since then, the 33-year-old married mother-of-three has devoted her life to advocacy against child abduction and sexual violence.
‘The truth is I never sat them all down and had a “tell all” experience with them. Honestly when I got home I didn’t want anyone to know what had happened, I was embarrassed and ashamed,’ she said on opening to up to her parents Ed and Lois Smart in a candid Instagram post Sunday.
Elizabeth Smart, 33, has revealed she never told her parents the horrific abuse she suffered during her nine-month kidnapping where she was tied up and raped daily, saying ‘I was embarrased and ashamed’
‘The truth is I never sat them all down and had a “tell all” experience with them. Honestly when I got home I didn’t want anyone to know what had happened I was embarrassed and ashamed,’ she said in a candid Instagram post Sunday
Smart pictured with her parents Ed and Lois Smart at the Rose Garden of the White House on April 30, 2003 when President George W. Bush signed into law the Amber Alert package, which created a system to help find kidnapped children and imposed tougher penalties on child abusers, kidnappers and pornographers
‘I was brought to an advocacy center where I had to disclose much of what happened to two professionals and they in turn relayed much of what happened to my parents. But I don’t think my parents ever heard in detail what happened from my own lips until my court appearance almost a decade later,’ she added.
Smart was 14 years old when she was kidnapped from her Utah home and held in captivity for nine months
In her abduction Mitchell, a once homeless preacher and self-proclaimed prophet, and his wife Wanda Barzee kept her chained down in a makeshift campsite near her home before moving her to Lakeside, California.
In 2009 she testified in court how she was drugged, tied to a tree and raped daily – as often as four times a day.
She said that unlike other survivors who come forward with their own abuse stories, her story was thrust into the spotlight and no one doubted her account.
‘I also want to point out my case was highly publicized, everyone already knew crimes were committed against me. So it didn’t take me coming forward and disclosing the extent of my abuse to multiple people before my captors were taken into custody. Nor did I have people doubt me,’ Smart said.
‘For these and many other reasons I want Victim’s to know that #Ibelieveyou,’ she said.
Over the weekend Smart shared this picture of herself as a teen with her parents Lois and Ed Smart in 2003 and issued a public thank you for all the support she received when she was kidnapped
Smart’s parents Ed and Lois Smart pictured attending a news conference about their daughter’s disappearance in June 2002 in Salt Lake City, Utah
‘Should we have friends or family disclose to us just listen, they don’t owe us answers to our questions or curiosities. Love them, support them, and be their friend,’ she added.
Over the weekend Smart shared a picture of herself as a teen with her parents and issued a public thank you for all the support she received when she was kidnapped.
‘Thank you to every person who searched for me, prayed for me, followed my story, and did everything they could to bring me home safely!’ she said.
‘I shudder to think what my life would be like if it weren’t for good everyday people! Would I still be with my captors? Would I even be alive? How could I survive so long if I were still with them?’ she added.
‘My life is absolutely different than I ever imagined it to be, even from the day after I got home when this photo was taken my life is still drastically different than I imagined it to be. However I also know I wouldn’t be where I am today without everything that happened and so for that too I am grateful!’ Smart said.
Smart’s captor, Brian David Mitchell (left), was convicted in 2010 and is serving a life sentence. In 2010 Wanda Barzee (right) was sentenced to 15 years in prison and in the plea deal was given credit for the seven years she already served. She was released from prison in September 2018 and now lives in the same town as Smart, despite Smart’s pleas to the parole board not to set her free.
Smart’s captor, Brian David Mitchell, was convicted in 2010 and is serving a life sentence.
In 2010 Wanda Barzee was sentenced to 15 years in prison and in the plea deal was given credit for the seven years she already served. She was released from prison in September 2018 and now lives in the same town as Smart, despite Smart’s pleas to the parole board not to set her free.
In August 2019 Smart’s father Ed Smart announced he is gay and would be divorcing his wife and leaving the Mormon Church, where he was a devout member for years.
Ed grew up in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was married for more than three decades to wife Lois, with whom he has six children.