She’s overcome obstacles greater than many have faced. Kidnapping survivor Elizabeth Smart has become a fierce victim advocate over the years and she will be featured in the new Lifetime documentary, Smart Justice: The Jayme Closs Case, airing on April 27. Before the special hits TVs, Elizabeth shared her thoughts on faith, family and fighting for justice while chatting exclusively with In Touch magazine, revealing how much she has grown from her past experiences.
Elizabeth was kidnapped from her home at the young age of 14 and her story made national headlines in 2002. After being rescued, she soon became an advocate for other survivors, including Jayme Closs. “To know that there are other people out there who understand what you’ve experienced is empowering,” Elizabeth tells In Touch magazine about how she relates.
For the documentary, Elizabeth actually traveled to the scene of the crimes in Wisconsin to fully grasp what happened, meeting both Jayme and the people who helped get her to safety. “She may never decide to tell her story, and that is perfectly all right, but it’s important to talk about these cases, to have the input from other survivors, because when you go through abuse of any kind, it can be extremely isolating,” Elizabeth explains to In Touch magazine.
It’s been 16 years since Elizabeth’s own ordeal and she’s understandably still coming to terms with the terrifying experience. “I have my ups and downs; it’s just not a constant upward trajectory,” she said. “But I do the best I can, and I try to work through it,” noting how she’s turned to her Mormon faith in order to get through it. Elizabeth added, “It’s such a comforting thought for me to believe that there’s someone [like God] who’s all-powerful, all-knowing, and he’s looking out for me.”
Another big change: Elizabeth, 31, is now a mother-of-three. She and her husband, Matthew, are proud parents of two girls and a boy: Chloe, 4, James, 2, and five-month-old Olivia. Elizabeth credits her family with helping her heal and says she’s been teaching them some important lessons along the way. “Nobody has the right to hurt, scare or threaten them,” Elizabeth tells In Touch magazine.
Looking ahead, Elizabeth confirmed that she is still determined to help others. “Victims should not be blamed for something that absolutely was never their fault,” she said. “We need to help to make sure that they make that jump from victim to survivor — to moving forward with their life successfully, and that they find happiness, find their support group and realize they’re not alone.”
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