Maybe Society Loves Elizabeth Smart Because She Caters To Their Need to Sweep Child Rape and Child Torture Under The Rug?

Elizabeth Smart has written a portion of a guide, along with other survivors of child abduction, that is meant to provide help for child abduction survivors to deal with their experiences.

“I made a conscious decision that my abductors had already taken away 9 months of my life, and I certainly was not going to give them any more time than that. We all have so much to live for. It is not worth living in the past.”

Most survivors of child sexual abuse, including those who are raped repeatedly in stranger abductions, have serious issues with anyone who says, “let it go,” “move on,” “that’s in the past.” It is like a dagger to many of us, because we know that the mind and body does not allow a person, who has suffered severe trauma and abuse, to so easily “let it go.” When these words are spoken or implied, they are to make comfortable, a society that doesn’t want to hear about nasty subjects like incest, child torture, and child rape. But it is most often the abuser themselves, or the family in denial, who say to the child or adult survivor, “let it go. That’s all in the past.”

The advice and comments which come from the Elizabeth Smart camp caters to people who want to go about their day and not hear about incest, child rape, and on-going child sexual abuse. The way in which Elizabeth Smart portrays healing from trauma, allows society to say, “See! she is fine. We don’t need to dwell on uncomfortable subjects.” “Elizabeth Smart is just fine, so you see, child sexual abuse and rape don’t affect kids.” “Look at Elizabeth Smart, she has moved on, why can’t you?” “Now we can go about our day and watch football, drink our cocktails, and attend our social functions without having to talk about or deal with things like child sexual abuse.”

People, especially Americans, crave and attempt to survive off feelgoodism, good news and “happy thoughts.”

“Each of us has so much potential in this world. I find it hard to believe that one experience can hold us back from being the individuals we want to be and stop us from doing the things we want to do.”

One experience? She makes it sound like it was a one night event, not nine months of being raped four times a day, death threats, being tied to a tree, and being forced to watch oral sex acts. Yes, one experience should not hold anyone back, but on-going trauma can and does.

“I know this can be a struggle for many kids who experience what we did. Hang on. Keep moving forward. Take one step at a time. It will get easier. “

I’m sorry, but this is not earth-moving advice. It is merely an old cliché’. And please don’t ever tell a boy or teen, who has been raped repeatedly by an adult male, that they should merely keep moving forward and that it will get easier. Because without intensive psychotherapy, boys who have been raped by men, will NOT get better, they will get worse. Repressing the pain only lasts so long. One day the male survivor will experience a lot of hell.

She writes about setting goals, and “to work continually toward those goals, and then to set new ones.”

Yep, been doing that for seventeen years. It never rid me of the nightmares, PTSD symptoms, panic attacks, physical pain, depression, or abnormal fears of death. In fact, all of those things hindered and stopped my deeply desired goals from coming to fruition.

“One of my outlets was playing my harp. I could put my soul into my playing, which in return, for me, expressed how I felt better than talking to someone might have done.”

First of all, the treatment for trauma is not merely about talking to someone. If that’s what people think therapy for trauma victims is about, then they are woefully uneducated in that regard. However, I play golf, snowboard, hike, run, walk, take beautiful photographs, and ride my mountain bike, but I could only do those things when I wasn’t experiencing PTSD symptoms, physical pain, insomnia, and being afraid to go out my door. On the good days I was able to do these activities. On the bad days, I was unable to move.

I also spent years writing my memoirs, a research-based educational manuscript, and a self-help guide for abuse survivors. I love writing as much as Elizabeth Smart loves to play the harp. Although therapeutic to help me overcome my fear of telling family secrets, and as cathartic as it was, my writing never removed my physical pain and mental suffering.

“Both my parents did more for me than anyone else could—they would have gone beyond any boundary for me.”

Like myself, many survivors of trauma and abuse have abusive parents and dysfunctional families. Nevertheless, I had a loving husband who would give his life for me, and who stood by me every healing step that I took. I also had the most incredible and loving animals this side of Heaven. Each of my pets were incredibly comforting in so many ways, but in spite of my husband and my animals, I still had to endure years of pain, PTSD symptoms, nightmares, phobias, depression, and fear.

“Another important part of coming to terms with my abduction was my faith.…”

I too have faith in God. In fact, it was by dealing with what happened to me, that I found God. I was then able to understand my suffering and that, even though I suffered, God still loved me infinitely. I prayed to God every day for strength, healing, clarity and guidance to make my pain and suffering disappear. I offered my pain and suffering to God and accepted it as what I needed to endure, and had complete faith that one day God would heal me. I forgave my abusers wholeheartedly and continued to be a helpful daughter to the mother who abused, abandoned, and betrayed me, and I prayed for my rapist father’s soul to rest in peace.  I still suffered for years, and so do millions of other survivors of trauma and abuse, who have faith and who love God.

In 2008, Elizabeth Smart told People Magazine that she recovered quickly because she forgave her kidnappers, and that it’s “just not worth holding on to that kind of hate.” People who have been traumatized and raped, and who make a conscious decision to forgive their perpetrators for religious reasons, or even for personal reasons, often develop problems later in life. Ignoring true feelings, and any anger or rage felt during a horrible experience, means the emotions will lodge themselves into the subconscious mind where they fester and grow. Cancer and other disease is often the result of a conscious choice to forgive, while harboring unconscious pain.

Ed Smart remarked, “It’s a part of her life she can never forget, but it’s nothing she wants to dwell on, so we try not to dwell on it either.” The conscious mind might not want to dwell on the uncomfortable and painful, but the subconscious mind will dwell. There is no escaping unconscious energies. Human beings ignore the subconscious mind to their detriment.

Another thing about child abduction and child sexual abuse victims: Not all of them have monetary resources like the Smart family does. It’s so sad to me that Elizabeth Smart, with all the money they have, never ‘needed therapy, and just talked to her parents,’ but there are countless victims and survivors who desperately need competent therapy and they, or their families, cannot afford it. Many children who are raped or abducted by strangers and sexually abused by family members do not have the money to provide their kids with the kind of outlets that Elizabeth Smart has had, like harp lessons, college and horseback riding.

One of my dreams is to one day start a foundation for abuse survivors who cannot afford therapy. I want to find a way for them to receive the best, most competent treatment for severe rape and trauma. Because the vast majority of victims DO NEED intensive treatment.

But maybe I  should be worried about Elizabeth Smart because her words of advice are based in denying that something traumatic has happened and that her subconscious mind is holding onto her true pain. If so, it will be detrimental one day. Maybe I should be worried, but I’m not really sure yet. My next article will explain why………to be continued

–Elizabeth Smart, U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, You’re Not Alone The Journey from Abduction to Empowerment.



People Magazine 2008:

“Although her parents offered counseling, Smart has put her life back together without the help of a therapist, preferring instead to speak with her parents and grandparents when issues come up. “I don’t feel the need to talk about what happened to me, but if I do, I know my family is there,” she says.”


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18 Responses to Maybe Society Loves Elizabeth Smart Because She Caters To Their Need to Sweep Child Rape and Child Torture Under The Rug?

  1. lisbri says:

    I’ve followed this case from the very beginning and early on came to the conclusion that in my opinion, all was not what it appeared to be.

    I believe that the family knew from the beginning that Elizabeth was with Mitchell. Read back in news archives and the very first articles and even those afterwards described someone fitting Mitchell’s description (i.e. the convenience store manager who had video of a man stealing beer around the time of the abduction) Wonder what would’ve made him suspect a man stealing beer? Perhaps the fact that he’d seen him with Elizabeth before the kidnapping? Just a thought anyway. There was the pig-pit digger, the mysterious faxed letter, the homeless man police questioned from the sketch who was “well-known” to authorities was not,and would not ever be a suspect according to police. Even though Elizabeth’s grandfather was sure they’d caught the guy at the time. But you couldn’t have federal charges filed until they’d left the state. Even Ricci. I now even tend to wonder if maybe someone asked him to help dig the pit in the mountains. Looking at the photos of the place, sure does seem like a post-hole digger and some tools might’ve been used to put the place together. Perhaps Neth Moul was telling the truth. Why did Elizabeth’s attorney feel that Mitchell’s attorneys were trying to blackmail the family into a soft plea deal by asking for her school attendance records? I could go on and on…but am glad to know I’m not the only one who sees so many holes in this story.

    • Alethea says:

      Greetings Lisbri. Unfortunately for me, I did not follow the case from the beginning because I thoroughly believed she was a victim 100%. I wish I knew everything you are talking about. It sure sounds interesting. I might google some of what you mentioned.

      The points you make have reminded me of an interview with Tom Smart, given about a week after the “kidnapping.” I am going to post an entire article on it. Check back to my main page soon, or subscribe to my Blog and you will be notified when it posts. Thank you so much for bringing this up!


      • lisbri says:

        Thanks Alethea. Here is an excerpt from one of the early articles where family members pointed fingers to a homeless man matching Mitchell’s description:

        “It was in a social setting,” Atkinson said of the contact between Elizabeth and the man. Other family members recognized the man, the police captain said, but did not know his name. Atkinson declined to elaborate further.

        Ed and Lois Smart, the parents of the missing girl, said they did not know the man and were not aware the sketch of him had been circulated. Baird said the description came from other family members.

        Those family members, as well as police, had hoped the man would provide information about the case. Baird said the man was sought as a material witness who might be able to tell authorities “where (Elizabeth) is or who she’s with.”

        Baird said the man is a “docile person” who wanders throughout the city. He has been seen by authorities at a variety of events throughout the city, including the University of Utah. “He is not a stranger to us,” Baird said.

        It is interesting to note that while early news reports that I remember said a convenience store manager reported the man on surveillance video stealing beer that according to Tom Smart, it was actually Brent Pack, a longtime neighbor and friend of Elizabeth Smart and her family who owned a surveillance company. (Page 25 of “In Plain Sight)

        I do believe Elizabeth was a victim – just not entirely as has been portrayed. I believe at some point – perhaps even some time before the actual kidnapping was reported – Mitchell maniuplated Elizabeth and perhaps even her parents under the guise of religious beliefs. I believe she is a victim and that there is a story out there far more interesting and intriguing than the one that has been portrayed and told thus far. I hope some day Elizabeth has the courage and strength to tell it.

  2. Alethea says:

    All Black, we have run out of room about this, so I am starting another section:

    Of course the choice of a religion is about one’s relationship with God. But you can’t choose a religion by how the building looks, how the inside of the church is decorated, how nice the people are to you, or how good the sermon is.

    The historical foundation of a religion is vital. Would you join a religion merely because the spiritual message is good, but the founder was a child sexual abuser?

    Would you join a religion because the spiritual message is good, but the church hierarchy are all Satan worshipers with a front of goodness?

    Would you join if the belief system is based in a lie, but the essential message is a good one?

    • Alethea says:

      All Black,,,I notice that you have to hit the ‘notify me of follow up on comments’ button each time you post. Are you doing that? Are you getting notices from other Blogs? Have you checked your email settings? I tried to get help from the WordPress forums and they were of NO help.

  3. Kate says:

    Every survivor deals in their own way. This piece is you bashing Elizabeth Smart for dealing in her way and no one has that right, not even another survivor.

    And you may feel that reliving the abuse every single day is something that every survivor does. But you’d be wrong. Because that is not the experience that all of us have.

    YOU do not get to determine the solitary experience that WE ALL HAVE.

    • Alethea says:

      Hello Kate. I never stated ANYWHERE that reliving trauma and abuse every single day is something that every survivors does, nor that I have done it.

      So you think I have no right to “bash” Elizabeth Smart and her family, but you have a right to “bash” me?

      Don’t be a hypocrite.

  4. All_black says:

    You make a good, strong argument on why some people may need therapy, and that’s fine. No one denies that nor advises against it, the Smarts included, and ES said so during that interview with Oprah in 2008.

    Only problem I have here is that you seem to believe that going through years of therapy and reliving those experiences is the ‘only’ way.

    As with vets (the link’s in the other post) some need therapy, others don’t and some even thrive in that environment. We don’t know why this is the case nor can we predict who will need help and who won’t.

    With ES, the most important statement she made,I think, is “I made a conscious decision that…..” . She decided to live this way without recalling everything everyday nor has she experienced any post traumatic stress it would seem (as she told Oprah) but that’s her case, not everyone’s necessarily but is her case. Also she didn’t just forget and ignore everything, because she was able to tell her ordeal in graphic detail with ‘candor and clarity’ during 3 days of testimony in front of some 50 people inside a court room and never broke down completely only her voice would become softer during difficult moments and she became angry when summarizing her abductors religious belief however, again, that’s her case not necessarily everyones.

    Also you need to keep in mind that the Smarts had some ‘issues’ with the profession overall. Its because of about 4 shrinks who were fooled by Mitchell that this has dragged on to 2010. It should have been over with in 2006 max. Also remember that she ‘stormed’ out of the courtroom one day. Again because of the BS a shrink was saying, relying on someone he himself thought to be delusional, to reach conclusions about what Smart thought and did. So in any analysis of the Smart case we should include both the help they got from their church ministers (who do help) the extended families contributions and the fact that they had issues with psychologist and psychiatrist who Mitchell manipulated with his BS -once he couldn’t reach the plea deal he was seeking by the way.

    • Alethea says:

      “Only problem I have here is that you seem to believe that going through years of therapy and reliving those experiences is the ‘only’ way.”

      Nearly every person on earth is in need of some kind of psychoanalysis. The word “psyche” derives from the word “soul.” True psychotherapy is the analysis of the soul. With the exception of truly balanced individuals, everyone needs to look within themselves and banish everything that has been suppressed into the subconscious. The vast majority of our lives is controlled by the subconscious mind but most people don’t like to hear that because most people like to think THEY are in control.

      I know of very few truly centered, mentally healthy people in the world. The rest of society is divorced three times over, or addicted to alcohol/shopping/pornography. They are having affairs, abusing their kids, abandoning their kids, allowing their kids to control and manipulate them, obsessed with their body and clothes, angry at their neighbor, angry at the bank teller, or in a long-standing fight with a sibling, or arguing over inheritances. Society is sick, dysfunctional, diseased. People are on deadly prescriptions drugs in massive numbers. They are having surgeries and sick with irritable bowels, headaches, insomnia and riddled with fear and selfishness.

      If Elizabeth Smart was truly traumatized, raped, humiliated, and tethered to a tree for a long period of time, then she needs to deal with that at the subconscious level. Because, either she was a runaway and lied about what truly happened to her, or she is suppressing trauma, shame and rage.

      People can make all the conscious decisions they want, but the conscious mind doesn’t know crap. The subconscious is in control.

      One does not need to repress, dissociate, or mentally block the details of their trauma in order to also repress the terror and emotions that were experienced during that time. I don’t care if she recalls everything, her mind still has the capability to ignore her true feelings and to push her true emotions inside herself. The problem with that system is that it only works for a certain time. The subconscious does not allow us to ignore it for long, and if we do not deal with the subconscious mind, it deals with us.

      • All_black says:

        “but the conscious mind doesn’t know crap. The subconscious is in control.”

        That’s what you (and many shrinks) think but it isn’t necessarily true.

        Reading through this reply above I can’t help but think that psychoanalysis is almost a religion to you. Now you have probably seen this, but if not its a good starting point for the problems psychoanalysis can have:

        I’d say you are better off in a church, any church, for better outcomes. Why not start with ES’s religion first and see what it does for you? If it ends up having the same effect on you as it obviously has with Miss Smart?


        • Alethea says:

          I respect your right to an opinion, but I do not respect your opinion. Your opinion is based in ignorance. You can post criticism about psychoanalysis until the cows come home, but I can post just as much positive research about it. I won’t do that because I don’t have time to go back and forth with you.

          Not only is there much research and evidence to support it as being a positive avenue, but also a miraculous one. My own experience with it is miraculous. No psychiatrist, mainstream psychologist, or medical doctor, healed me. Quite the contrary, they could not even figure out what was wrong with me or how to treat it. THEY TOLD ME that what I had is INCURABLE. Psychoanalysis saved my life and rid me of fifteen years of suffering.

          “I can’t help but think that psychoanalysis is almost a religion to you.”

          Religion derives from the word, “re-ligare’, meaning to tie back to that which we were severed….God. Jesus figuratively took my hand and led me to my therapist, and it was by facing and expelling my demons of hate, shame, fear, rage, and guilt that I was healed. God healed me through my therapist. So in a sense, my therapy did tie me back to God because I was an atheist when I met my therapist.

          “I’d say you are better off in a church, any church, for better outcomes.”

          Oh yes? Then why are the millions of people who attend church all having surgeries and on meds? Why are they depressed and full of fear and health issues? Why are they cheating on their spouses and abusing their children? Why are the majority of them lost, addicted to cigs and alcohol, and dysfunctional?

          “Why not start with ES’s religion first and see what it does for you?”

          Why on earth would I want to become a part of a Masonic Mormon polygamy cult, founded by a nut?

          • All_Black says:

            Although now we are just going back and forth, I’d just comment briefly:

            “Why are the majority of them lost, addicted to cigs and alcohol, and dysfunctional?”

            Because not all people who go to a church are good or want what’s good. Many are there for other reasons, ie social, economic, force to by family and community, tradition, etc. But I doubt its the ‘majority’.

            “Why on earth would I want to become a part of a Masonic Mormon polygamy cult, founded by a nut?”

            Because it simply isn’t that. If you actually visited the church a few months you’d realize that. And its simply factually incorrect to call it a cult, although many evangelicals/baptist do prefer that description for Mormons.

            “Notify me of follow-up comments via email” still doesn’t work.

            • Alethea says:

              Even most of those who are in church for the right reasons have many problems. If you don’t know or see that, then you have rose-colored glasses on.

              One cannot just visit a church to determine its value. One needs to research its history, its founder, how it was founded, who are the elders/hierarchy, what is their background, what is its principle belief, etc etc. So you won’t find me visiting a Mormon Church.

              I will look into the “Notify me of follow-up comments via email” issue. I’m sorry that’s not working for you. Does it work for you on my other articles?

              • All_Black says:

                “Does it work for you on my other articles?”


                “One needs to research its history, its founder, how it was founded,”

                Hmmm…not really. Its about your relationship with God, or our, both yours and mine, eternal father. If you only look at the history etc, it will be hard to pick out what is actually true and what is added by opponents of the church. The spiritual message and experience is what a-brings people to church and b-keeps them there. it isn’t about the history or its first leaders or current leadership at all.

        • Alethea says:

          And, by the way:

          “I’d say you are better off in a church, any church, for better outcomes. Why not start with ES’s religion first and see what it does for you? If it ends up having the same effect on you as it obviously has with Miss Smart?”

          Thanks for reminding me of how Elizabeth Smart and her family give great purpose to Mormonism. “See how Elizabeth is a miracle? Come join us.”

          You have a problem with thinking that outward appearances reflect what goes on behind closed doors and WHO people really are. Be careful who and what you think is good because that is how the anti-Christ will reign people in.

          • All_Black says:

            “how Elizabeth Smart and her family give great purpose to Mormonism. “See how Elizabeth is a miracle? Come join us.””

            Well, yes, although there is some positive publicity from the case overall, it still doesn’t make much difference regarding peoples beliefs. Remember that Mitchell was an ex-mormon too. But, yes, thanks to Smart many people now know that Mormon women are basically modern and normal and not dressed the way many polygamists dress from Colorado city etc.

  5. Serieve Marie Elizabeth Andrews says:

    You are, Alethea…there are just no words adequate.
    This piece on E.S is one of your best yet.

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