Elizabeth Smart reveals her own personal struggles during her time in captivity in an emotional and intimate interview with sexual-assault survivor and victim advocate Daisy Coleman.
“For me, because I grew up in a very conservative Christian neighborhood, the first time I was raped I remember feeling devastated. I felt like it would be better to be dead than to continue living being a rape victim, being a rape survivor…I felt, in that moment, if there had been an easy way out, I probably would have taken it,” Smart said.
Coleman also describes how incessant bullying impacted how she coped with her trauma.
“The bullying was really intense because it didn’t just end at school…when I would go home, it would be all over the internet," Coleman said. "These people are able to say a lot crueler of things because it’s such a dehumanized way of speaking…because you’re talking to a computer screen and not a real person, but a real person is receiving that message…a lot of things affected how I looked at myself and my idea of self-worth."
Smart said, “It’s so ridiculous when you see anything on the news and some people's first comments are questions like, ‘What was she wearing? What was she doing? It doesn’t matter. It literally doesn’t matter if you are dancing around naked completely drunk. Nobody has the right to hurt you."
Smart also describes the confusing experience she was subjected to after her rescue.
“Nobody told me what was going on," Smart said. "One second I was being reunited with my parents, the next second I was being questioned, the next second, they take me up to the hospital that then they’re like, ‘Oh, take off your clothes. Oh, let’s do this kit on you.’ Nobody was really telling me anything and I remember when they were doing the rape kit, I just remember thinking, ‘What’s going on?’”
To help other survivors, Coleman and her two friends, who are survivors themselves, along with her brother started a support group called “Safe Bae."
Their mission is to raise awareness about sexual assault in middle and high schools and students' rights under Title IX.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, or call the RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).