Elizabeth Smart Shares Her Story at Midland Rape Crisis Center Luncheon

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - It's been almost 10 years since 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped from her bedroom and then rescued nine months later.

On Tuesday afternoon, Smart made a stop in Midland to share her ordeal with women and men at a fundraiser luncheon.

Unbelievable yet amazing. That's how much of the crowd described Elizabeth Smart's story.

"I should've brought a bigger box of Kleenex," Sarah Green said.

Smart was in town as the guest speaker for the Midland Rape Crisis and Child Advocacy Center luncheon.

The theme of the event was becoming survivors.

"That's the point that we want to get across is that victims are survivors," Exec. Director, Jamie Poe, said.

Smart was 14-years-old when she was taken at knife point from her Salt Lake City home.

Now at 24-years-old, she is spreading her message to survivors everywhere.

Although our cameras were not allowed to record audio during Smart's talk, it's obvious the crowd couldn't take their eyes off of her.

"It was fabulous, it was a very inspiring speech," Kate Wolbert said.

"I don't know that in her shoes that I would've been able to talk about it like she did and she went into great detail," Green said.

Smart talked about her days in captivity with her kidnappers. She was raped the first night she was taken. She said she was tied to a tree and would go days without eating.

Her abductors also forced her to drink and smoke.

Poe said child sexual abuse and neglect happens way more than you might think.

"It happens everyday in the Permian Basin," Poe said. "We work with children and adults that were victims or that have family members of victims and we want them to be survivors."

Smart said at one point her captors wanted to kidnap one of her cousins. The trio even traveled to California to hide during the winter.

They hitchhiked back to Utah where she was finally rescued on a busy street.

Smart said it was two 911 calls within five minutes of each other that finally freed her.

There was hardly a dry eye in the house when she talked about reuniting with her dad.

Those who listened to Smart said she opened their eyes.

"If you see something that's out of place, it should raise some red flags in your mind and you should ask questions," Green said.

They hope the fundraiser luncheon will help the Crisis Center continue with their mission of helping women and children to turn from victim to survivor.

"That nine months of her life were horrible and if she can make a fabulous life out of what she's been given then anyone can," Wolbert said.