A Elizabeth Smart YWCA luncheon brought people to tears as she shared the story that gripped the nation after she was abducted.
Smart spoke at the YWCA Empowering Women Luncheon on Thursday as women from all over Rochester, New York came together for the event to listen to her speak.
In 2002, she was only 14-years-old before she was kidnapped from her Salt Lake City home and held captive for nine months. Her message to the women of Rochester is don’t give up on yourself. Elizabeth Smart told the YWCA Luncheon:
“We all have different challenges in life and we all have our ups and downs. I just want to encourage women that there’s always hope and there’s always a reason to keep going no matter what.”
Smart was 14 years old when she was taken from her bed in the middle of the night in 2002. She was found nine months later. Her book, “My Story,” is now available.
At 14, Smart described herself as shy, modest and awkward. Elizabeth was looking forward to starting high school. But the day before her graduation from junior high school, she was taken from the security of her own bed in the middle of the night - kidnapped. Smart said:
“Here I was … In the place that I thought I was the most safe,” Smart stated.
Today, Smart is married, an author and advocate against sex trafficking. In her book, Smart describes her ordeal in detail and the hopelessness she first felt when she was taken captive.
“I felt so filthy, like someone had just smashed my soul into a million tiny little pieces that could just never, never be put back together … [My mother] would always love me and I would always be her daughter and there’s just nothing that could ever change that.”
The Elizabeth Smart YWCA Luncheon also proved to everyone that she found her voice and is working on behalf of the victims of abuse. The girl whose picture we associated with a bad thing wants everyone to know that that is not the end of her story.
“Life is wonderful and for as much evil and wickedness and bad things that you see on the news all the time, there are that many more good people out there and there are that many more people who want to make a difference.”
At the Elizabeth Smart YWCA Luncheon, she urged the crowd not to let bad things stop them from doing good. Smart has started a foundation to help stop the victimization of children all over the world.