Elizabeth Smart gave an intimate lecture to a sold out crowd on Thursday, February 9th at UNT for the Distinguished Lecture Series. Smart is an American child safety activist that was abducted (and subsequently rescued) at a young age. Read on to find out a few things that Smart said that really resonated with us.
During her talk, Smart described her familial interactions before her time in captivity, her abduction, the nine months that followed, and how the whole experience has shaped her as an adult. Since returning home to her family, Smart has graduated college, gotten married and currently works as a victim’s rights advocate. She also started the Elizabeth Smart Foundation whose mission is to prevent and stop predatory crimes.
Hearing Smart describe her abduction filled me with all of the emotions. A one point during the lecture I realized I was barely breathing. Here are six quotes from her lecture that stood out:
- “I remember that nothing in my life had prepared me for that moment.”
- “No matter who you are or what stage of life we all have problems.”
- “They have stolen 9 months of your life but the best punishment you could ever give them is to be happy, to move on with your life. You may never feel like justice is served or restitution is made…. They don’t deserve a single second more of your life.”
- “We all have our story in life every single one of us. We’ll continue to have problems and struggles in life but it’s not our struggles that define who we are it’s how we react to them.”
- “I’m not sorry for what happened to me. I don’t feel bad for myself. Do I wish it had happened? No. Would I want to go through it again? Definitely not. I’m not sorry it happened to me because of the people it’s allowed me to meet, because of the organizations it’s allowed me to take part in, because of the difference it’s made in my life, because of the person it’s given me the opportunity to be.”
- “Whenever you have a struggle don’t give up, don’t lose faith, don’t allow it to define who you are. Believe in happiness, believe there is a happily ever after and it is worth fighting for, it is worth surviving for.”
UNT calls Smart's lecture a, "unique tale of adversity, hopelessness, and a turn for the better into a learning experience for any audience," and after attending the discussion, we couldn't agree more.
Know someone that needs help? Denton County has a Victim’s Assistance Division that offers a page of resources if you or someone you know is need of assistance.