Age when abducted and now
Elizabeth Smart was only 14 when she was kidnapped from her home by Brian David Mitchell. The 52 year old man along with his wife kept Elizabeth captive for over 9 months and police could not locate them because they were holding her at a location in the woods. Now 15 years later she is 29 years old and is married with two children. Her kidnappers are in jail Mitchell is serving a life sentence for abuse, while his accomplice and wife, Wanda Barzee, is serving 15 years for aggravated kidnaping. Smart recounts her times while she was taken by them.
Mitchell aggressively raped her everyday she was held captive by them. She said when he had first taken her she had contemplated suicide since she came from such a religious neighborhood and being raped made her feel devastated. She said “I felt like it would be better to be dead than to continue living being a rape victim, being a rape survivor.” This was only in the beginning, for nine months Mitchell forced Smart to watch pornography and then he repeatedly raped her, aggressively. Finally, she became accustomed to it. What she does believe is that pornography lead Mitchell to be so aggressive. There is no proof on this but she believes watching Pornography led him to raping her more than usual which was already a lot.
Husband and Wife and the Kidnappers
Learned helplessness seems to play a huge roll in this case. Learned Helplessness is when the person eventually believes they cannot be helped due to the fact that all these outside characteristics play a part and they are told nothing will work so they believe it. Smart was held captive for 9 months being raped repeatedly. She even said “I felt in the moment if there had been an easy way out, I probably would have taken it.” This shows that she eventually thought she would not be helped and thinking that she eventually came to terms with the fact that she believed she would not get out.
The second concept that relates to this a great deal is Locus of Control. There is both internal and external locus of control. For internal locus of control it is believed that we have control over what happens to us and for external we believe that outside factors have control over what happens to us. We believe in this situation Smart could have thought she had an External locus of control due to the fact that she could not help what was happening to her; all the way from being kidnapped from her own bed to being raped repeatedly. She probably believed it was all out of her hands; even her escape which is why she had contemplated suicide.
Smart went through a great while being held captive for over nine months. Thankfully she did not let it run her life once she was rescued from the situation but instead embraced it and made the best of her life. Because of that she is married and has two beautiful children. She now has control over her own life.
This is the movie created about this story:
- Maryse Godden. (2017). Elizabeth Smart Contemplated Escape “Porn Addict” Rapist. NY Post. http://nypost.com/2017/09/19/elizabeth-smart-contemplated-suicide-to-escape-porn-addict-rapist/