LOCAL NEWS

Elizabeth Smart celebrates sex abuse-prevention bill 21 years after she was found

Mar 12, 2024, 12:50 PM | Updated: Mar 13, 2024, 3:39 pm

Elizabeth Smart and her family....

Elizabeth Smart and her family.

SALT LAKE CITY — Tuesday, March 12 marks 21 years since Elizabeth Smart was found.

Smart was kidnapped from her Salt Lake City home as a 14-year-old girl on June 5, 2002. She was missing for nine months until she was found by police in Sandy, Utah on March 12, 2003.

Smart reflected on her rescue in a post on her social media.

“I believe in miracles,” she said.

Sharing photos of her family, her marriage, a marathon she participated in, and other life milestones, she said: “When I was kidnapped I thought I’d never finish school, go to college, fall in love, get married, or have a family. I thought every dream I had for myself was stolen. For me today is a celebration of all of the happy moments of my life, and a reminder to never give up.”

Now, Smart advocates for programs to help other victims of sexual assault. The Elizabeth Smart Foundation‘s social media bio states, “Bringing hope and ending the victimization and exploitation of sexual assault through education, healing, and advocacy.”

Most recently, Smart worked with the Policy Project, Saprea Organization, and Prevent Child Abuse Utah to highlight the importance of child sexual abuse prevention through education.

The organizations advocated for the passage of SB205, a bill on child sexual abuse prevention.

“I was able to work with the Policy Project with a number of other incredible organizations that have worked to develop this education make sure that it truly is age appropriate and we invite you to learn to take the education for yourself so you know exactly what your children are taking,” Smart said in a video on social media.

The bill passed unanimously in its final vote in the Utah legislature, requiring sexual abuse prevention to be taught in age-appropriate ways in elementary schools across the state.

“This is so important because this education isn’t just for the moment, this is for life; because right now, one in seven children is being sexually abused in Utah. And guess what? The statistics don’t get any better as you get older,” Smart said. “If you’re a female and you go to college, you are two times more likely to be sexually assaulted or raped than you are to be robbed on campus. As you get older, guess what, the national average, the national statistic, is one in five women is sexually abused. In Utah, it’s one in three. We can do better. We have to do better and this is the first step to doing better.”

Survey results show what Utahns think and know about domestic violence, sexual assault and harassment

Smart said this type of prevention should be a continual conversation and implemented as part of other general safety education.

“If we don’t, our statistics are never going to change and we’re still going to continue to see such high numbers of victims,” she said.

The bill outlines the age-appropriate material would include instruction on: the responsibility of adults for safety of children, how to recognize uncomfortable inner feelings, how to say no and leave an uncomfortable situation, how to set clear boundaries and the importance of discussing uncomfortable situations and other trusted adults.

The material would not include materials that invite or allows students to share personal experiences about abuse during instruction, teaches instruction regarding consent, or includes sexually explicit language or depictions.

The bill would go into effect in in July, and would be implemented in the coming school year.

“I am so proud to have been a part of this to be able to support these other incredible organizations fighting to get this legislation passed,” she said. “It has been a journey and is an absolute triumph today.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

three firefighters stand in the demolished remains of what was a house...

Lauren Steinbrecher

Holladay neighbors assess damage, begin cleanup after dynamite detonation

Neighbors in Holladay are figuring out what it’ll take to clean up and who’s paying for the damage, after a massive home explosion with planned dynamite detonation

3 hours ago

You’ve likely noticed a growing number of businesses that have gone completely cashless. When it ...

Matt Gephardt

Businesses are passing their credit card fees onto customers, what can you do?

You’ve likely noticed a growing number of businesses that have gone completely cashless. When it comes time to pay, it’ll involve a tap, swipe or maybe a click on an app. It's a phenomenon that is contributing to the price we pay for goods and services.

4 hours ago

Juan Diego Catholic High Principal Galey Colosimo speaks to the Utah High School Activities Associa...

Amy Donaldson, KSL Podcasts

Big changes proposed for Utah high school sports involving local, international students

Some massive changes could be coming to high school sports in Utah.

4 hours ago

$20 bills...

Larry D. Curtis

Ring customers getting millions sent after suit by FTC

The Federal Trade Commission is sending millions of dollars to people who had an account with Ring, a home security camera company, through PayPal.

5 hours ago

A yellow plastic police line, blocking off a scene, and showing a blurred police car in the backgro...

Pat Reavy, KSL.com

Cause of Parowan teacher’s death ‘undetermined’

A recently completed report by the Utah State Medical Examiner's Office could not come up with a conclusive manner of death for a Parowan teacher who died in December.

5 hours ago

a destroyed home...

Lindsay Aerts

Only chimney remains after Utah house containing old dynamite, detonated in Holladay

A chimney and the smell of smoke was all that remained of a home in Holladay Wednesday after a significant amount of old dynamite was discovered inside.

7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Elizabeth Smart celebrates sex abuse-prevention bill 21 years after she was found