Elizabeth Smart Shares her Story at Bridgewater College - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Elizabeth Smart Shares her Story at Bridgewater College

Posted: Updated: Feb 25, 2013 11:35 PM EST

It was 2002 when the abduction of Elizabeth Smart played out in front of the nation's eyes. Eleven years later, Smart shares her story of hope to a packed house at Bridgewater College.

It's been more than a decade since Smart was abducted from her home and held captive for nine months. The 14-year-old was taken from her bed in Salt Lake City, Utah by Brian David Mitchell.

"I remember him taking me out through my house. Out through my backyard," said Smart.

Mitchell referred to himself as the Prophet Emanuel. He declared the 14-year-old his second wife, and along with Wanda Barzee he held Smart captive. Mitchell raped Smart daily, but Smart was determined to see her family again.

"I would do whatever it took as long as it was within my power, I would survive," said Smart. She did survive, for nine months, until police spotted her and her captors in a suburb of Salt Lake City.

Smart is now a 25-five-year old college graduate. She's married and currently writing her story. She also travels the U.S. sharing her message of hope to all who will listen.

"Hope that they realize that one person has the potential to make all the difference. Hope that they realize that we all have struggles. None of our lives are perfect. Hope that they can overcome their struggles," said Smart.

Smart has done just that with the help of some key advice from her mom.

"The best punishment that I could give him, these people... was to be happy. Was to move forward and follow my dreams and do just what I want to do in life and never let this hold me back," said Smart.

Mitchell is currently serving a life sentence, and Barzee will be released from prison soon.    

Smart is committed to advocating for child safety and legislation that supports it.

Reported by Tara Todd. 

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