Lifestyle & Human Interest

Elizabeth Smart Writes that She is 'Grateful' for Kidnapping After Years of Advocating for Others


Elizabeth Smart has become a fierce advocate for victims of kidnapping and sexual abuse since famously surviving her own kidnapping ordeal as a teenager.

Smart, now 31, is an author, wife, mother and activist, sharing her own story of survival as a way to empower sexual abuse victims.

Because of her unique perspective on life, when Smart has something to say, people listen. Her audience is captivated by her resilience and determination to live her life to the full, forgiving her captors in order to fully free herself from their bondage.

Looking back on her traumatic experience, Smart can now say she does not regret what happened to her.

“I never thought I would say that I’m grateful for what happened to me as a 14 year old girl but I can honestly say that I’m not sorry it happened to me because of what it has allowed me to do, the people I’ve been able to meet, and the cause that has become and driven such a large part of my life,” Smart wrote on an Instagram post.

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The experience has opened up opportunities to advocate for child safety on a national level, with a perspective that only survivors like Smart can bring to the table.

“I’ve had the opportunity to speak to and interact with the Georgia Sheriff’s Association on the Sex Offender Registry, and the Federal Probation and Pretrial Officer Association. I know there is no perfect piece of legislation or protocol that makes surviving rape and sexual violence easy on any level but I must say I am so grateful for people who keep coming back everyday doing their best to help protect and prevent future crimes from happening,” Smart continued.

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Smart touched on her thoughts about the prison release of one of her captors, Wanda Barzee.

“Coming up on a year ago Wanda Barzee was released from prison much to my disappointment however I so appreciate the time the federal probation officers took to speak with me and address my safety concerns,” she wrote.

“As an advocate for victims I know first hand that it doesn’t always feel like justice is served however it makes such a difference to be considered in the process even if that process includes perpetrators being released from prison,” Smart wrote.

Smart made headlines earlier this year when she went to visit Jayme Closs and her family, speaking with the teen about the process of learning to heal and move forward after trauma.

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“He has stolen 88 days of your life away from you. He has stolen your parents away from you. But don’t give him a single second more,” Smart told Closs, according to TODAY.  “You need to move forward. And you need to live your life and be happy and do all of the things that you ever wanted to do because he doesn’t deserve a second more of your life.”

The advice that Smart passed down to Closs came from Smart’s own mother, who told her then-teenage daughter that the best way to stand up to her captors would be to heal, move forward with life and be happy.

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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