Elizabeth Smart Book: Kidnapping Survivor Says Don't Ask A Victim Why They Didn't Escape Sooner: 'You Weren't There, You Don't Know'
Oct 08, 2013 02:28 PM EDT
Elizabeth Smart is sharing the details about her kidnapping and rape 10 years after her 9-month-long captivity.
Smart, 25, is now married and happy with her life, but believed it was time to share "100 percent" of what happened to her when she was 14-years-old. Brian David Mitchell and wife Wanda Barzee kidnapped her at knifepoint; both are serving 15 years to life in prison for their crimes.
Smart held nothing back in a candid interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper.
"I didn't just want to go 10% and sugarcoat the rest," Smart told Cooper. "I wanted it to be really what happened and what it was like every single day I was there, because I don't think I'm doing anyone any favors by sugarcoating it."
She also shared her frustrations with the question, "why didn't you escape sooner?"
"You can never judge a child or a victim of any crime on what they should have done, because you weren't there and you don't know and you have no right just to sit in your armchair at home and say 'Well, why didn't you escape? Why didn't you do this?' I mean, they just don't know," Smart said.
"That's wrong. And I was 14. I was a little girl. And I had seen this man successfully kidnap me, he successfully chained me up, he successfully raped me, he successfully did all of these things. What was to say that he wouldn't kill me when he'd make those threats to me? What was to say that he wouldn't kill my family?"
Smart explained she was deprived of food and water, raped multiple times daily and force fed alcohol so her captors could control her.
"Every time I thought 'OK, this is rock bottom,' I mean, my pajamas have been taken away from me and I'm being forced to wear this nasty robe, the next thing I knew they'd say, 'We're going to have you go naked now,' or I had been forced to drink alcohol, which I had never done before," she told Cooper. "I would throw up and I would pass out and when I'd wake up I'd find that my face and my hair was just crusted to the ground in vomit. I mean, just every time I thought it couldn't get worse, something always happened."
Smart's motivation with her new book is to show those who have experienced similar things she has that you do not have to live you life as victim.
"I want to reach out to those survivors and those victims,"she said. "I want them to know that these things do happen, but that doesn't mean that we have to be defined by it for the rest of your life. You can move forward and you can be happy."