Apr 18, 2014 fbook icon twitter icon rss icon
Health

Rape Victim Elizabeth Smart Speaks Out Against Abstinence-Only Sex Ed

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Victims of sexual assault who have been raised in “conservative cultures that push abstinence-only education and emphasize sexual purity,” says Elizabeth Smart, often don’t seek help.

Smart, who had been kidnapped and raped at the age of 14, spoke out against abstinence-only education at a recent forum at Johns Hopkins, saying that she “felt so dirty and so filthy” after she was raped, and thus she understands why someone wouldn’t try to escape from that kind of abuse. “Why would it even be worth screaming out? Why would it even make a difference if you are rescued?” she said. “Your life still has no value.”

In 2002, reports MSNBC, Smart was abducted at knifepoint from her bedroom in Salt Lake City and held captive and raped. After 9 months, she was found and rescued.

Smart said that for her, after being raped she felt like a “chewed-up piece of gum.” Nobody re-chews a piece of gum. You throw it away. And that’s how easy it is to feel you no longer have worth. Your life no longer has value.”

Slate.com comments on Smart’s perspective, agreeing that although “sex educators can’t equip children to escape horrific crimes like the ones committed against Elizabeth Smart ... they can help build a society that refuses to compound the psychological effects of those crimes by shaming victims.”

Now 25 years old, Smart has developed her own foundation dedicated to helping to educate children about sexual crimes. “Every child in the world deserves to have a life without abuse in any form,” Smart writes on the foundation’s website. “Children are the future.”

Sources: ElizabethFoundation.org, MSNBC, Slate.com, ThinkProcess.org


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