Elizabeth Smart recounts infamous capture, offers words of hope in online appearance organized by Emporia State Featured

Elizabeth Smart Elizabeth Smart Emporia State University screenshot

Elizabeth Smart shared her story of captivity and hope online through Emporia State University on Wednesday night.

Smart was 14 when she was taken at knifepoint from her home in Salt Lake City, Utah. She says her main captor, later identified as Brian David Mitchell, didn't initially answer her questions about his true intentions

Mitchell later claimed Smart as his bride and raped her repeatedly, also threatening her with death if she tried to escape. Smart was ultimately held prisoner for nine months before she escaped and was returned home. Mitchell, meanwhile, was sentenced to two life terms in prison and an accomplice was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Smart also says her nine months in captivity as a teenager has helped her get through other challenges in her life. Smart says the COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the lesson that happiness is worth fighting for -- but it sometimes takes time to get to a happy spot.

Over the past several years, Smart has become a prominent child safety activist. She started the Elizabeth Smart Foundation to end the victimization and exploitation of sexual assault. She also has promoted the national Amber Alert system, the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act and other child safety measures. She has also served as a commentator and analyst for ABC News.

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