Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Latest News

February 1, 2013

Powerful message - Smart headlines Healthy Woman event

Corsicana — Poised and beautiful, Elizabeth Smart was a compelling speaker for the Fifth Annual Healthy Woman banquet Thursday night at the I.O.O.F. Event Center in Corsicana.

More than 600 people attended, and the event was sold out weeks in advance based on the fame and reputation of the speaker. Smart became internationally famous after she was kidnapped as a young teen and held for nine months by a self-proclaimed prophet and his wife.

Smart told in surprising detail about her kidnapping at the age of 14 from her bedroom in her parents’ Salt Lake City home, how she felt every step of the way, and her resolve to survive. She didn’t dwell on the nine months as their captive, but instead skipped ahead to her rescue by police. As she worked her way through the story, audience members were crying in sympathy.

Smart began by saying that she wasn’t perfect, that no one’s life is perfect, and she ended on a similar note.

“We all have trials and hardships that seem overwhelming to us,” she said, before describing a situation that could be easily described as any parents’ next-to-worst nightmare. Smart, at least, got home alive and reasonably well.

Poignantly, she described thinking about the children she’d seen in the news who had been taken and killed, and she said that shortly after she was taken and as he was leading her away from her home, she asked him to kill her there.

“If you’re just going to rape and murder me, please do it here, so my parents will know what happened to me,” she recalled telling her kidnapper. “So they won’t think I ran away.”

“He said ‘I’m not going to do that yet,’” she recounted.

Smart also told of her first raping by that same man, who abused her in a tent in the mountains around Salt Lake City.

“I’ll never forget lying on the floor of that tent, feeling so worthless, filthy, and thinking ‘who would want to love me now?’” She also wondered if her parents would take her back. “I felt like I was ruined.” She also said she envied the children on the news who had been killed, because at least they were with God in heaven.

Helping steel her resolve was the memory of her mother’s love, a mother who had counseled her after a disappointing encounter with a popular girl, that only two opinions mattered in the world: God’s and her mother’s.

“She was right. She would always love me, care about me. I would always be her daughter,” Smart told the Corsicana audience.

In that moment, she made one of the two most important decisions of her life, that she would survive.

Her story ended with her rescue by police, when she first denied being a captive, and then admitted she was Elizabeth Smart, whose case was by then famous in and around Salt Lake City. In the moment of her rescue, she was handcuffed and put into the back of a police car and taken to Salt Lake City.

Smart said she didn’t know why she was handcuffed, but she said she ultimately decided it was because “they saw in me the way I see myself now — a lethal weapon.”

Being reunited with her family, Smart said she thought that was what heaven must be like — being surrounded by people you love.

That night, her mother gave her some crucial advice, Smart said.

“What this man has done to you is terrible... but the best punishment you can give him is to be happy... if you live in the past, you’re only allowing him to steal more of your life from you,” Smart’s mother told her.

At that point, Smart said she made the second-most important decision of her life, to take her mother’s advice and move forward and not dwell on what had been done to her.

“We all do have a choice,” she said.

Smart urged the audience to introduce children to RadKids, a program that helps children overcome adversity and make better decisions, as well as her own Elizabeth Smart Foundation, which seeks to prevent child abductions and supports the families of abducted children.

In introducing the speaker, Jenny Bratton, executive director of Child Advocates of Navarro County, said that Smart is “proof that we work with survivors, not victims.”

—————

Janet Jacobs may be reached via email at jjacobs@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “soundoff” to this article? Email: Soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com

1
Text Only
Latest News
  • Navarro College seeks public input at Town Hall event

    Community perception of the role Navarro College plays, and how it can better serve Corsicana and Navarro County is the goal of a Town Hall meeting called at the college for Monday, April 21. The town hall presentation will run from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Dr. Richard M. Sanchez Library on the Corsicana campus.

    April 15, 2014

  • 4-16-14 DowntownHop.jpg Annual 'Hop Downtown' Easter party Thursday

    The Easter Bunny will once again be making its annual pre-Easter stop in Corsicana Thursday for an appearance at the Downtown Corsicana “Hop Downtown” party. The event is taking place from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. with activities up and down Beaton Street in downtown Corsicana.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-16-14 Derrick Days meeting.jpg Countdown to Derrick Days

    A small town hosting a big event like Derrick Days takes a lot of volunteers, coordination and details — lots and lots of details. That's what Tuesday's meeting of the Derrick Days Committee consisted of, nailing down the last-minute wrinkles to make sure things run smoothly next week.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police advise caution with roof repair

    After the hail storm Monday, the Corsicana Police Department began receiving several calls from citizens reporting roofing contractors going door to door soliciting to inspect and repair roofs from possible hail damage.

    April 15, 2014

  • Moment of silence marks Boston Marathon bombings

    Survivors, first responders and family members of those killed came together Tuesday to mark the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing with solemn ceremonies.

    April 15, 2014

  • 4-15-14 TaxDay.jpg Ready for the IRS?

    The calendar shows April 15, and you haven't even started on your federal tax return? Chances are, you don't need to fret. If you're due a refund — and about three-fourths of filers get refunds — April 15 isn't much of a deadline at all.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-15-14 Hail6.jpg ‘All Hail Corsicana’ - Monday storms, Tuesday freeze?

    A Monday morning thunderstorm in the aftermath of Sunday's stormy weather in Texas brought hail up to golf ball in size to parts of Navarro County. And that storm — typical of spring and summertime weather in Texas — preceded by less than 24 hours a forecast of expected near-freezing temperatures.

    April 14, 2014 3 Photos

  • City OK’s electronic billboard

    The Corsicana City Council is going to tell the city's story in a big, big way — on a 48 foot wide electronic billboard on Interstate 45. The council approved the purchase and construction of the new sign Monday, one that will help promote city events and attractions, and hopefully attract visitors — and their dollars — to the city's businesses and events.

    April 14, 2014

  • 4-15-14 Hollomon award.jpg Funding sought to upgrade dam on Chatfield Road

    The Navarro County Soil Conservation Commission is seeking some funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to put into a dam out on Chatfield Road, according to a vote taken Monday at the Navarro County Commissioners meeting.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Local Beat for 4/15/14

    A listing of meetings and events of interest from throughout Navarro County.

    April 14, 2014

AP Video
Twitter Updates