Aug 20, 2016

Elizabeth Smart on Her Captivity: 'Pornography Made My Living Hell Worse'

NBC News
August 20, 2016

The man who held Elizabeth Smart captive when she was a teenager regularly looked at pornography, which "just led to him raping me more," the now 28-year-old woman says in a new video.

"He would just sit and look at it and stare at it, and he would just talk about these women, and then when he was done, he would turn and look at me, and he would be like, 'Now we're going to do this,'" Smart said of her convicted abductor, Brian David Mitchell.

The video, posted to YouTube on Friday, was produced by Fight the New Drug, an anti-porn non-profit group.

Mitchell kidnapped Smart, clad in her pajamas, from her Salt Lake City bed in 2002, when she was 14. He chained her to a makeshift campsite in the mountains only miles from her home, where his wife, Wanda Eileen Barzee, was waiting for them. Mitchell raped Smart over and over again for the next nine months while her family frantically searched for her. She was recognized and rescued on a Sandy, Utah, street in March 2003.

Smart has become an outspoken child safety activist since her ordeal and has publicly talked about it extensively. But Friday was the first time she delved into the role pornography played in what she called "the longest nine months of my life."

"Looking at pornography wasn't enough for him. Having sex with his wife after looking at pornography wasn't enough for him," she said, simply referring to Mitchell as her "captor" during the 5-minute, 15 -second video, and never mentioning him by name. "He just always wanted more."

She said every time she thought she had "hit rock bottom, my captor would find something new to make it worse."

One time, she said, Mitchell forced her to drink so much alcohol, she passed out. She woke up face-down on the ground, vomit crusted in her hair.

"And I remember waking up that moment and thinking, how can it get any lower than this?"

A few days later, it did.

"My captor was really excited and really kind of amped up about something, and he said, 'Oh, you know, I have something and I'm going to show it to you, and you have to look at it,'" Smart said.

Mitchell then pulled out a "magazine full of hard-core pornography," she said.

"It just led to him raping me more, more than he already did — which was a lot," she said.

"I can't say that he would not have gone out and kidnapped me had he not looked at pornography. All I know is that pornography made my living hell worse."

Smart was rescued in March of 2003. She has said her strong Mormon faith, plus returning to the activities that brought her joy before her kidnapping, such as playing the harp, have helped her process her trauma.

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