Elizabeth Smart has joined my list of people I sincerely admire. She appeared recently at a conference for women in California. Its theme was “Overcoming the Unimaginable.” At that conference she stated, “I’ve never let it hold me back. We all have our trials, we all experience hard times. I don’t think we should let it disable us.”
This video was made one year ago. For those of you unfamiliar with child abduction in the United States, Elizabeth was captured and held for nine months, six years ago, being forced to act the part of the abductor’s young wife. She was assaulted repeatedly during that time.
Her ordeal might have crushed and destroyed for life the majority of young girls or even older women who had to endure what she went through. She was only fourteen when she was forced from what she thought was the safety of her bedroom in her family home. That destruction does not seem to be the case with her.
Elizabeth somehow has been given the gift of being able to forgive. That, in itself, is often impossible for so many to do. H. Emilie Cady states in the chapter “Bondage or Liberty, Which?” in her book , Lessons in Truth,
We must forgive as we would be forgiven. To forgive does not simply mean to arrive at a place of indifference to those who do personal injury to us; it means far more than this. To forgive is to give for-to give some actual, definite good in return for evil given. If, under any circumstances, any kind of a “served him right” thought springs up within you over anything that any of God’s children may do or suffer, you have not yet learned how to forgive.”
Actual definite good has come from her travail. She and her father worked on legislation and an organization to benefit other children who have suffered at the hands of predators.
The organization has been named Not one More Child. According to this organization,
Hundreds of thousands of sexual predators are at-large within the U.S., and law enforcement has the evidence to locate, arrest and prosecute them, but officials estimate they are able to investigate less than 2 percent of known child exploitation offenders, due to lack of resources, primarily personnel. The “Not One More Child” campaign seeks to break stereotypes about child pornography, to rally support for immediate federal action, to spark a national public outcry of “Not One More Child!” and to rescue thousands of children from sexual abuse and torture.
The necessary funding to rescue thousands of children is less than $2 per child in the U.S. annually. Legislation now before Congress would
increase funding for law enforcement agencies targeting child exploitation. The “Not One More Child” campaign brings together groups and individuals who share a mission to protect children. The coalition formed will move the issue off the shelf and onto the public’s agenda.
The Senate version of this bill 1738 passed in September, 2008. The bill received President Bush’s signature in October, 2008 and is now Public Law 110-401.
Title: A bill to require the Department of Justice to develop and implement a National Strategy Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction, to improve the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, to increase resources for regional computer forensic labs, and to make other improvements to increase the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute child predators.
I am wondering how much of this bill has been implemented in the year since it was passed. During this year there have been other major crises for the nation to deal with. Children’s needs, because they cannot speak for themselves, are often soon forgotten when the spotlight is turned off and everybody goes back home.
I would love to be an investigative reporter and have the knowledge to track down information like this. With all the budget cuts at every level of government, have any more personnel been hired? Are there any more computer forensic labs? Have there been improvements which have “increased the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute child predators?” Or, are they the same, tired, overworked law officials who have become increasingly jaded by their inabilities to make any difference in the lives of innocent children?
All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men [or women] do nothing. Supposedly this is a paraphrase of a quote by Edmund Burke, an Irish philosopher. The Smart family has acted upon what they have deemed evil and have done something. Perhaps the day will come when we do not have to wait until something has happened to us personally before we act. In the meantime, if something [the capturing and assault of Elizabeth Smart] this horrendous had to happen, it happened to one family who could not just “do nothing”. Not only are their actions helping children nationwide, Elizabeth herself is an outstanding example of how one young woman with her unshakeable understanding faith, can provide comfort to others who face the same ordeal. She has been blessed to be able to put all her experiences behind her. How many of us would ever be able to do the same? Namaste. Attic Annie
This is an update on this post. The woman who was the kidnapper’s partner pleaded guilty and asked Elizabeth, who was not in court, for forgiveness. I don’t know what I would be capable of doing if I were Elizabeth. Would you be willing to forgive?