Elizabeth Smart shared a new photo of herself and a caption that explained she felt too ‘ashamed’ to give her family details about what happened to her during her headline-making kidnapping.
Elizabeth Smart, 33, who was abducted and held captive for nine months at the age of 14, is revealing why she didn’t want to tell her family about the rape and other devastating details that took place during the horrific time, in a new honest post. The activist took to Instagram on Nov. 29 to share a new photo of herself and a message that addressed a question about when she decided to tell her loved ones about the experience, and admitted that conversation never took place. “The truth is I never sat them all down and had a ‘tell all’ experience with them,” she wrote in the beginning of the message.
“Honestly when I got home I didn’t want anyone to know what had happened I was embarrassed and ashamed,” she continued. “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.”
Elizabeth, who was held captive by Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Ileen Barzee, went on to explain that the way she handled her experience is not necessarily the way other kidnapping victims should handle theirs and pointed out that because her case was “highly publicized”, enough information was known for her captors to be “taken into custody.” “Everyone already knew crimes were committed against me,” she wrote. “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.”
The inspirational young woman concluded her message by sharing her support for other kidnapping and/or sexual assault victims/survivors. “For these and many other reasons I want Victim’s to know that #Ibelieveyou and I hope that as all of us move forward when we come across Victim’s and survivors our first reaction is to believe them!” she expressed.
Elizabeth’s latest post is just one of many ways the now married mother of three has been using her life-changing kidnapping to relate to and help others who have gone through similar situations. She launched the Elizabeth Smart Foundation, which is dedicated to educating children and teens about violent and sexual crimes, in 2011, and has written books about her kidnapping experience, including My Story in 2013 and Where There’s Hope: Healing, Moving Forward, and Never Giving Up in 2018. She’s also had several films made that are based on her story.