Elizabeth Smart has moved on from the horrifying ordeal she endured in 2002 and 2003 at the hands of her rapist Brian David Mitchell.
Mitchell was sentenced yesterday to life imprisonment for kidnapping and raping a 14-year-old Smart between June 2002 and March 2003.
He was a fringe Mormon street preacher who believed he had a divine mandate to take seven wives and restore the Mormon Church to polygamy and the original teachings of Joseph Smith.
Mitchell had a history of sexual offense, the first of which occurred when he was just a teenager. He was also accused of sexually abusing his children and stalking teenage girls in the Salt Lake City area.
When he kidnapped smart, he forced her into a polygamous marriage and raped her repeatedly. He also abused alcohol, abused drugs, watched pornography, and forced Smart to participate in all of these activities. Smart described her capture as “nine months of hell.”
She has moved on, however.
Even before Mitchell’s sentencing, Smart advocated for tougher laws against sexual predators and for women and victims in generals. In public appearances, she seemed confident and poised. She attended the Brigham Young University and remains a practicing Mormon.
Yesterday, at Mitchell’s sentencing, she faced her kidnapper for the first time since 2003. Poised and victorious, she briefly addressed Mitchell.
She said to him: “I know exactly what you did. I know that you know what you did was wrong. You did it with a full knowledge. I also want you to know that I have a wonderful life now, that no matter what you do will it affect me again.”
When she left the courtroom, she said: “Today is the end of a very long chapter and the beginning of a very beautiful chapter for me.”