Kidnapping Survivor Elizabeth Smart: Abstinence-Only Sex Ed Fueled Shame After She Was Raped

May 07, 2013
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Kidnapping survivor Elizabeth Smart has spoken out against abstinence-only sex education, which she says fueled her feelings of shame when she was captured and raped at the age of 14. During an address about human trafficking at Johns Hopkins University, Smart recalled being taught that women who have sex before marriage are like used chewing gum. As a result, after being raped, Smart said: "I thought, 'Oh, my gosh, I'm that chewed-up piece of gum. Nobody re-chews a piece of gum. You throw it away.’ And that’s how easily it is to feel like you no longer have worth, you no longer have value. Why would it even be worth screaming out? Why would it even make a difference if you are rescued? Your life still has no value." Smart was kidnapped at knife point in 2002 and held captive for nine months.