Posted by: smstrouse | May 11, 2013

“Girl Power: Elizabeth’s Smart Advice”

In August of 2002, on my journey cross country, my traveling companion and I decided to stop and see the sights in Salt Lake City. Checking into the motel, one of the first ‘sights’ was a sign taped to the wall by the front desk: KIDNAPPED. It was a flyer for 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart, who had been abducted from her bedroom on June 5. She wouldn’t be found until the following March, so at the time I saw that flyer, Elizabeth was in the midst of a horrific ordeal of sexual, physical and emotional abuse.

By all accounts, Elizabeth appears to have made a remarkable recovery. She’s become an activist in supporting  sexual predator legislation and the AMBER Alert system. In 2011, she founded the Elizabeth Smart Foundation to (according to the mission statement) “prevent and stop predatory crimes,” and was the keynote speaker at the 2011 Crimes Against Children conference. Now married, Elizabeth Smart-Gilmour has also critiqued the religious teachings that negated her sense of self-worth and advocates for sex education that focuses on how to avoid becoming a victim, rather than on purity.

She has also become a voice of empowerment for others who have endured similar horrors. She responded to the news of Jaycee Dugard’s rescue with words of compassion and wisdom for Jaycee and her family. And now, both Elizabeth and Jaycee are speaking out to the three women in Cleveland, reminding Amanda, Gina and Michelle that it will take time to heal and reconnect with the world. And, perhaps most important of all: this was not your fault.

We all need to hear these messages. And we need to resist our society’s proclivity to “blame the victim” from entering into any of our thoughts, discussions, assessments, blogs, comments, etc. about this case. We need to look to these strong, resilient young women who have endured trials beyond imagining and know that they have a powerful story to share – not of victimization, but of strength. Our hope should be that Amanda, Gina and Michelle will emerge from their time of healing and become equally strong voices and advocates of girl power.

 

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Responses

  1. […] was originally published May 11, 2013 by Pastor Susan M. […]

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  2. Excellent read. I just passed this onto a colleague who was doing some research on that. He actually bought me lunch as I found it for him! Therefore let me rephrase: Thanx for lunch!

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  3. We all need to hear these messages. And we need to resist our society’s proclivity to “blame the victim” from entering into any of our thoughts, discussions, assessments, blogs, comments, etc. about this case. We need to look to these strong, resilient young women who have endured trials beyond imagining and know that they have a powerful story to share – not of victimization, but of strength. Our hope should be that Amanda, Gina and Michelle will emerge from their time of healing and become equally strong voices and advocates of girl power.

    Like

  4. Ms Smart has become a leading advocate for missing persons, and last year married Scottish-born Matthew Gilmour after meeting him when they were both serving as Mormon missionaries in Paris.

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  5. Ms Smart has become a leading advocate for missing persons, and last year married Scottish-born Matthew Gilmour after meeting him when they were both serving as Mormon missionaries in Paris.

    Like


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