WARNING – DISTRESSING CONTENT: The teen, who was abducted and subjected to abuse for nine months, says she wants parents across the world to tell their children three important things.

Elizabeth Smart was snatched from the bedroom she shared with her nine-year-old sister Mary Katherine in Salt Lake City, Utah, on June 5 2002, and taken to a camp in the woods by her captors Brian David Mitchell and his wife Wanda Barzee.

For months, the young teenager was raped and drugged while her captors forced her to drink alcohol and watch pornography, reports The Mirror.

Elizabeth was routinely left tethered to a tree without any food between extended periods of horrific abuse.

The now 30-year-old participated in a Reddit forum titled Ask Me Anything.

One of the top questions read: “In your opinion as a children’s advocate, what are some practical, commonsense steps parents can take to help their children avoid abuse? (And I guess I mean abuse in a general way, anything from extreme bullying to abduction.)”

Elizabeth replied with three clear points:

1. Make sure your child knows that they are loved unconditionally, and make sure your child knows what unconditionally means.

2. Make sure that your child understands that no one has the right to hurt them or scare them in any way. It doesn’t matter what that person may be: family, friend, religious leader, community leader, it doesn’t matter.

3.Should anyone hurt your child or threaten them in anyway, they need to tell you.

She later added, “Practice screaming, encourage your kids to fight back, there is a place and a time when it’s not only acceptable it’s encouraged.”

The statistics for child sexual abuse will shock you

Every two hours in Australia, a child is sexually harmed, according to child protection advocacy group Bravehearts.

1 in 5 children in Australia will be sexually harmed in some way by their 18th birthday. That’s 59,000 Australian children each year.

Tips for Parents

Based on Bravehearts’ Ditto Keep safe Adventure program, the 5 basic principles we need to teach our children (remember: it’s never too early to sow the seeds of personal safety) are:

1)  To trust their feelings and to distinguish between ‘yes’ and ‘no’ feelings
2)  To say ‘no’ to adults if they feel unsafe and unsure
3)  That they own their own bodies
4)  That nothing is so yucky that they can’t tell someone about it
5)  That if they feel unsafe or unsure to run and tell someone they trust.

We are all responsible to help change this statistic!

Lilly Lyons defied the odds to become a teenage crusader against sexual violence. She is encouraging others to share their stories of sexual assault. Read her story HERE.

If you need support please know you can always contact someone.
Kids Help Line – 1800 55 1800
Parent Line – 1300 30 1300
Lifeline – 13 11 14
1800 Respect (Family Violence and Sexual Assault Line) – 1800 737 732

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  • How horrendous! Poor girl, yet so brave to speak out and raise awareness and speak her mind!


  • Such a brave young woman.


  • I remember when Elizabeth was taken, the man was employed by her family to work on their house or garden and had been there for some length of time. When he did take her, he told the sister to be quiet or he will hurt them, so she didn’t say anything for quite some time because she was so scared


  • An important message for all parents and all children.


  • Brave girl and good tips for the parents to make their children as brave as they can.


  • A very important message ! Amazing how she can share this after such traumatic experience.


  • What ab rave girl to come forward with such important messages after all she has been through.


  • We’ve been drumming it into our son “if someone says you can’t tell us something, then come and tell us right away” for the last year or so. With kinder coming up soon that will be stepped up a bit too. I like the idea to practice screaming.


  • What a horrid traumatic this young girl has endured. No person should be forced into any bad situation, especially sexual and other abuse. Obviously the house had been watched to know the best time to break in, possibly which windows too. Do we need to put bars on our windows? Some may say yes, but how do we escape if there is a fire?


  • I can imagine such an experience will stay with you forever. Very brave to speak about what happened. Those people that did this to her.. I hope they will stay in jail till the last day of their life. :-(


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