elizabeth smart

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Untitled // composed and performed by Elizabeth Smart

(it’s untitled to maintain the element of surprise because I’m not a nice person)

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Elizabeth Smart shares the story of her kidnapping and how she pieced her life back together after such a traumatic experience. Smart attests her strength to advice her mother gave her:

The morning after I was rescued my mom gave me the best advice I’ve ever been given. … My mom said to me, ‘Elizabeth, what this man has done to you, it’s terrible, there aren’t words strong enough to describe how wicked and evil he is. He has stolen nine months of your life from you that you will never get back. But the best punishment you could ever give him, is to be happy, is to move forward with your life and to do exactly what you want to do. … The best thing you can do is move forward because by feeling sorry for yourself, and holding on to what’s happened, that’s only allowing him more power and more control over your life and he doesn’t deserve another second. So be happy.’ … I’m not perfect at following her advice … but I do try to follow it every day.

Hear the interview, read an excerpt from her book, or listen to a clip from the audiobook (which she reads herself) here

photo via USA Today

Elizabeth Smart and Abstinence Only Education

If anyone is still holding on to the idea that abstinence only education isn’t all that bad, check out this quote from kidnapping and rape victim Elizabeth Smart: 

Smart said she “felt so dirty and so filthy” after she was raped by her captor, and she understands why someone wouldn’t run “because of that alone.”

Smart spoke at a Johns Hopkins human trafficking forum, saying she was raised in a religious household and recalled a school teacher who spoke once about abstinence and compared sex to chewing gum. “I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh, I’m that chewed up piece of gum, nobody re-chews a piece of gum, you throw it away.’ And that’s how easy it is to feel like you know longer have worth, you know longer have value,” Smart said. “Why would it even be worth screaming out? Why would it even make a difference if you are rescued? Your life still has no value.”

“By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept,” by Elizabeth Smart 

Read By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept

The train was waiting and she was sitting there reading. I saw her through the open doors. I walked in, took a seat infront of her, and I photographed her. She became aware of me after I took the shot. Instinctively, I knew that her awareness was informed. She looked up and asked, “Are you the underground?”. I hesitated for a moment, as I wondered myself if I was the underground. Then I quickly said yes. She took my hand and held it, so warmly, like we were already connected. I won’t forget it. That moment will be a part of me. It will enrich my work. Thank you. 

Talking to a reporter in 2013, kidnapping victim and rape survivor Elizabeth Smart recollects the conversation she had with her abductor shortly after he led her into the hills behind her family’s home.

At just 14 years old, Elizabeth was abducted from her Utah home one night in 2002 after a man broke in and forced her out of bed. The intruder warned her that if she attempted to make a noise, he would kill her family while they slept. Not wanting to endanger her loved ones, Elizabeth bravely followed his instructions and was led out of the house at knife point. They then walked through the hills behind the home and into dense woodland, and it was during this time that Elizabeth came to recognise her captor. Just months prior to her kidnap, Elizabeth and her mum had given $5 to this man after they saw him begging on the streets, and they even offered him some work. His name was Brian David Mitchell.

Mitchell took her to a temporary camp built deep into the woods, which is where she met his co-conspirator for the first time: Wanda Ileen Barzee. Elizabeth was led into a tent, where Mitchell began performing a wedding ceremony and announced that the young girl was now his wife. Proceeding this, he pushed her onto the ground and raped her. For the next 9 months until her discovery, Elizabeth was moved across the country while being starved, raped and forced to consume illicit substances on what she described as an almost daily basis.

In March 2003, after convincing her captors to return to Utah, Elizabeth Smart was finally rescued. She had even persuaded her captors to hitch-hike in the hopes that somebody would recognise her as a missing person. One citizen did recognise Mitchell and Barzee suspiciously escorting a young child dressed in robes and a veil. Police immediately responded to the call, and the kidnappers were caught and subsequently arrested. Brian Mitchell, now 63 years old, spent 6 six years in a psychiatric institution and is now serving a life sentence as a federal prisoner. Wanda Barzee, now 70 years old, was given 15 years for her involvement.

No daughter of mine should ever be in a position to be able to write BY GRAND CENTRAL STATION I SAT DOWN AND WEPT, exquisite prose though it might contain. BY GRAND CENTRAL STATION I TORE OFF HIS BALLS would be more like it, I should hope".
—  Angela Carter, in a letter to a friend, on why she was joining the board of Virago.

Wanda told Clint that he was pulling his punches. This means he wasn’t hitting Natasha as hard as he could have.

All three of them know what he’s capable of doing in hand to hand combat. But Clint also knew that in his right mind, he’d never be able to hurt Natasha the way he did under Loki’s control, he couldn’t allow himself to. And Wanda caught that.