Elizabeth Smart reveals details of assault, and what she’s doing about it
COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah — Elizabeth Smart is talking about a recent assault, but not the assault that happened during her childhood.
She says that last summer, she jerked awake and then froze when she felt a man’s hand rubbing her inner thigh. The two were sitting side by side on an airplane.
“I waited for him to say something, or give some excuse,” she told KSL Newsradio.
“He just looked at me and left his hand on my leg. I sat there in shock. I just froze.”
She said that when he didn’t remove his hand or even apologize, she picked up his hand and put it back over the armrest to his seat.
“The rest of the flight I sat there torn. I was angry that it had happened to me, but I also kept thinking, ‘what do I do now? What do I do now?'”
Smart said the FBI knows the name of the man who was seated on that flight. Their investigation is ongoing.
Reaction similar to childhood kidnapping
Her experience last summer reminded her of her reaction when she was kidnapped by Brian David Mitchell in 2002 when she was 14 years old. Frozen by shock.
She says that ever since that flight last summer she’s felt ashamed, angry, and guilty that she didn’t scream or do something.
So now, she’s doing something about it.
Recent assault motivated Smart to help others
The airplane assault gave Smart new motivation and drive to empower other women and girls. She says that’s why she decided to share the story of what happened on the airplane.
“I’m sick of being a victim, and I’m sick of everyone else being a victim,” she told KSL Newsradio.
After the airplane assault, Smart says a friend taught her a few self-defense moves. Then together they developed a line of self-defense classes through the Elizabeth Smart Foundation. The ten-week classes offer a mix of different techniques and fighting methods and are taught with the help of law enforcement.
Self-defense and beyond
Even after each ten-week course is over, Smart wants the women and girls to stay connected and up-to-date with the skills and knowledge they acquired.
So she’s planning a series of workshops, podcasts, and other ways to talk about the issues of consent, boundaries and healthy relationships. It will be called “Smart Talks.”
And Smart wants other sexual assault victims to know something important.
“They did nothing wrong. It’s not their fault for whatever happened. If they froze, that is a completely natural instinct,” she said.
And she wants her three children to know something even more important.
“First, nobody has the right to touch you or hurt you or threaten you. If anyone does, it is not your fault. And no matter what happens to you, I will always love you,” she said.
Today’s Top Stories
- Utah’s GOP Congressmen defeat primary challengers
- Two people injured in Brigham City two-vehicle crash
- Breyer makes it official: He’s leaving the Supreme Court on Thursday at noon
- Sen. Mike Lee fends off 2 opponents to win Utah GOP primary
- Remaining deer, elk permits can be purchased in July
- Bountiful woman arrested after allegedly stealing $6,000 from patient
- Different abortion law now in effect in Utah
- You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake
- Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reacts to Roe v. Wade
- Takeaways from first primaries since Roe v. Wade overturned