How Elizabeth Smart became a survivor


"Why didn't you run?" Author and advocate Elizabeth Smart was just 14 when she was abducted from her home at knifepoint and she says she gets asked this question all the time. During the nine months she was held captive, she was repeatedly abused and raped. And yet even now, 15 years after her rescue, she says people commonly shift the focus of her ordeal to her actions rather than those of her captors.

"It's important for me to answer that, because I can," she told Mary Elizabeth Williams during a recent "Salon Talks" to discuss her new book "Where There's Hope." "Not all survivors have that. I know that this answer would be the same not just coming from victims of kidnapping and sexual violence — I'd venture to say even domestic abuse and domestic violence…. You get into survival mode, and it's taking 100% of your energy and your focus just to make it through another day."

Watch the video above to see Smart discuss why well-meaning curiosity can make survivors cringe, and the healing power of "realizing you're not the only person in the world who's been through something." Tune in for SalonTV's live shows, "Salon Talks" and "Salon Stage", daily at noon ET / 9 a.m. PT and 4 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. PT, streaming live on Salon, Facebook and Periscope.

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