Elizabeth Smart, kidnapped at knifepoint from her bedroom at age 14 and subject to horrible abuses for the next nine months, says she didn’t run from her captors because her abstinence-only education had taught her to feel like a worthless, chewed-up piece of gum.
Rescued kidnapping victim Elizabeth Smart said Wednesday she understands why some human trafficking victims don’t run.
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 no longer have worth, you no 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.”
Smart has founded the Elizabeth Smart Foundation to combat child victimization and teach kids that “you will always have value and nothing can change that.”