When, Where, Why: Elizabeth Smart, who was kidnapped at age 14 from her Salt Lake City home in 2002 and rescued nine months later, shared words of inspiration and resilience Wednesday at a Bethlehem Haven fundraiser on the South Side. Executive director Lois Mufuka Martin said that Bethlehem Haven's goal is to help women leave the shelter in a better state than when they arrive. "We know that in order to help women succeed, we must treat them holistically, and take care of whatever challenges they are facing."
#SEEN among the 350 guests: Ina and Lawrence Gumberg, Quirine Okonkwo, Paul and Madeline Malone, Jerry and Lisa Goodrick, Chuck Gottchalk, Tonia Caruso, Carol Massaro, Linda Massaro, Lisa Mason Eck, David and Gabriela Porges, Dan and Shelly Onorato, Kimberly Branch, Bill and Debra Demchak.
An interview with Ms. Smart, now 26 and an activist to protect children:
What is your definition of resilience? To me, it is another word for hope. When I think of someone who is resilient, I think that they are stronger than they thought they could ever be.
What do you remember about the day after you were rescued? I felt like I had woken from a bad nightmare. It felt so great to come home. I remember my mother told me the following morning that the best punishment I could give to those who took so much from me was to have a happy life from this point forward.
What advice do you have for others who are suffering? No matter how dark or how difficult, whatever your trials...there is always hope for a better life. Take advantage of the people and services along the way. Don't shut others out.
Explain the difference between victim and survivor. They are two different mentalities. You can choose to be victimized after bad things happen, or you come to a point where you say to yourself that I am not going to let what happened ruin the rest of my life.
What do you see for your future? I will continue to advocate and educate others on sexual violence. I want to help remove stigmas. I want to let other women know that even if bad things happen to you, that doesn't mean you have lost your value or worth. We need to make these uncomfortable topics part of conversation to remove the shame because these things happen everywhere.
What do you like to do for fun? (Smiles) I love to hike in the woods with my dogs, and I love skiing with my husband. Any chance to be outdoors!