SALT LAKE CITY – Recalling her childhood kidnapping experience, Elizabeth Smart said she didn’t know her self-defense training program would end, but she fought back and knew “I’m strong.”
Brian David Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzi, kidnapped her from their Salt Lake City home in 2002 and held her captive for nine months.
His captor was no stranger to him. However, most victims of sexual assault and rape know the perpetrator.
“The sad reality is that not all, but most sexual assaults, most kidnappings happen by people you know,” Smart said.
Don’t blame the victim
“They started teaching girls self-defense at the age of 10. Personally, I want to know what you mean to these girls – 10-year-old girl, 15-year-old girl – Debbie?”, Dujanovic ask.
“First and foremost, I want people to know — and this — that if something happens to them, it’s not their fault. First, we want every survivor and victim to know. ,” Smart Say replied.
Practice makes for success
Smart emphasizes that self-defense is not a skill that can be learned once and then given up.
“You can’t just think, ‘I’m going to do this self-defense plan, that means I’m ready for life,’ because when you’re in a moment of panic, stress, fear, muscle If you don’t, you can train muscle memory, so you can practice if you don’t continue, you might not be able to use a weapon,” Smart said.
She also recommends making self-defense training a habit and having a coaching partner to ensure accountability and consistency.
“If you have to answer someone, come,” Debbie replied.
Tell your child to speak up in an emergency!
Debbie said she teaches her children to speak out loud if a stranger tries to kidnap them.
“I’ve taught my five-year-olds not to swear and I’ve taught them to do everything they can to see what happens when someone tries to pick them up,” she says. “Do you teach your own children?”
“Sure. I teach it to my kids. Every time I talk about it now, they roll their eyes,” Smart said.
Where is the self-defense school?
Smart points out that the school has fire drills, earthquake drills, and active shooting drills, but why not self-defense drills?
“Honestly, we have all kinds of security, which is great and another is fun, but…. No one wants to teach you what to do when someone tries to sexually assault you. ,” Smart said.
She also said that she was never taught the difference between rape and sex.
“When I was kidnapped and raped, my thoughts were like sex and I felt bad,” Smart added.
She said she was taught self-defense by Mitchell before she was kidnapped, unaware that it would keep her from being kidnapped.
“But I think I’ll be empowered to know that I can hit the ball, I can handle, I know the right way and I’m strong,” Smart said.
The truth about sexual assault
According to RAINN:
- Every 68 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted.
- 1 in 6 American women (17%) have been a victim of rape in their lifetime (14.8% raped and 2.8% attempted rape).
- About 3 percent of Americans (one in 33) have experienced or committed rape in their lifetime.
- Between 2009 and 2013, child welfare agencies identified or found evidence of 63,000 children being sexually abused each year.
- Most of the victims were children between the ages of 12 and 17. Among victims under 18 years old: 34% of sexual assault and rape victims are under 12 years old, 66% of sexual assault and rape victims are between 12 and 17 years old.
Smart Defense courses are taught online and in person at Colorado Springs, Salt Lake City, Riverton, St. Leverton. George, Pocatello and Kansas City. A new location in Utah County will open this fall.