When Elizabeth Smart was only 14-years-old, she was kidnapped from her Salt Lake City, Utah home and held prisoner by her kidnappers for nine months, forced into a polygamous marriage, and raped on a daily basis. She’s 25 now. It’s hard to imagine the horror she felt and the pain and confusion she suffered. It’s physically sickening to even think about, and yet she survived. And now she’s speaking out.
Think Progress is reporting on a speech Smart gave at Johns Hopkins about human trafficking and sexual violence. In that speech she answers the question about why she didn’t try to escape when she was brought outside to public venues by her captors. And that answer was that she, like other human trafficking victims, stay put because they feel worthless after being raped, especially after being influenced their whole lives by conservatives who push abstinence-only and sexual purity:
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 know longer have worth, you know 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.”
“Pro life” but not “your life has value.” Got it.
Think Progress takes it from there. Please link over and read the rest.