The kidnapping survivor held herself with poise and grace as she took to ‘Today’ on Oct. 7 to recount how she has managed to heal following her horrible 2002 kidnapping. Though her kidnapper is behind bars, the brave young woman found that the best way to punish him is through her own happiness.
Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped from her Utah home in 2002 when she was just 14 years old. She was raped and held hostage for nine months by her kidnapper, Brian David Mitchell. Now 25, Elizabeth bravely told her story in a new memoir, titled My Story, a decade since her return home. The inspiring young woman revealed on The Today Show that her captor has not controlled her life — and her healing process has involved banishing her captor’s control over her life.
Elizabeth Smart Today Show: ‘I Am Happy’
Elizabeth now takes comfort in realizing her captor “no longer exists” in her life, she told Savannah Guthrie on Today.
Ridding her kidnapper from her life was certainly one of the most difficult things she could ever do, but with the help and support of her family, she moved forward in her life. Brian David Mitchell was sentenced to life in prison on May 25, 2011 — but that was just his formal punishment.
Elizabeth revealed that her mother’s advice to her was that “the best punishment you can ever give him is to be happy.” Elizabeth has found happiness in telling her story to inspire others.
“Going back and writing [this book] was okay because I knew my ending,” Elizabeth said about how she felt writing her memoir. In a brave move, Elizabeth returned with Meredith Vieira to the campsite where she was held in captivity in 2002.
Elizabeth Smart Writes Her Story
Elizabeth wrote a her memoir, My Story, in attempts to help others — and share her harrowing story. “I want people to know that I’m happy in my life right now,” Elizabeth told The Associated Press. “I also, even more so, want to reach out to people who might not be in a good situation. Maybe they’re in a situation that was similar to the one that I was in.”
In her memoir, she writes that over the 9-month span of her kidnapping, “Brian David Mitchell would rape me every day, sometimes multiple times a day, he would torture and brutalize me in ways that are impossible to imagine, starve and manipulate me, like I was an animal.”
Elizabeth even told Savannah Guthrie that “death would have been better” than her time in captivity. But despite her unimaginably horrible experiences, she has managed to find the strength to build herself a beautiful adult life.
Elizabeth is now happily married to her husband Matthew Gilmour and finishing a music degree at Brigham Young University.
What do YOU think, HollywoodLifers? Are you inspired by Elizabeth’s words?
WATCH: Elizabeth Smart’s Advice For 3 Young Women Found In Ohio
– Kristine Hope Kowalski