Elizabeth Smart praises #MeToo campaign, provides tips for keeping kids safe

Elizabeth Smart (Photo: MGN)

(KUTV) Elizabeth Smart said she supports that #MeToo social media campaign for bringing attention to the issue of sexual violence and provided tips on how to help children avoid abuse.

Smart, the Utah girl who famously survived a nine-month abduction in 2002 and was returned to her family against all odds, did an "Ask Me Anything" question and answer session on popular website Reddit Monday. The website hosts such sessions, called AMAs, with noteworthy people. It provides readers direct access to ask questions of notable figures and also serves as a platform to promote upcoming projects the subjects wish to highlight.

In Smart's case, she is marking the 15th anniversary of her abduction from her home, and will be the subject of an A&E and Lifetime cross network event that is said to allow her to tell her story in her own words. "Elizabeth Smart: Autobiography," airs in two installments on Nov. 12 and Nov. 13 on A&E. Lifetime airs "I Am Elizabeth Smart" on Saturday, Nov. 18.

She was asked how she felt about the #MeToo social media campaign and if it felt hallow.

"I think the #MeToo campaign is great. I think it’s bringing attention to the issues of sexual violence. At the very least it’s getting people to talk about a topic that is so easily swept under the rug," Smart said. "I think it’s important to share your story so that everyone understands that these aren’t just isolated incidents. They don’t just happen in dark alleyways or in the woods late at night. It can happen to anyone anywhere."

Anyone who signs up for a Reddit account can enter the message board and post a question. Other users can then vote a comment up or down. That included Smart's answers and the users' favorite questions.

The top voted comment, from a user called blabla1608, was regarding TV personality Nancy Grace, and if smart keeps in touch with her "after the garbage she tried to pull with you? I don't think you could've handled that any better."

"Thank you, and no," Smart answered in perhaps her shortest response.

She was also asked, by user Rusty-Shackleford, for some practical ways for parents to help their children avoid abuse. She provided three tips:

  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.

Another reader, TecumsehSherman, asked if she learned from her abductor any signs to look for. Smart wrote:

There are things that make me wary, one of them being when someone uses religion excessively to justify what they’ve done or are going to do.

She praised her own faith for helping her get through her ordeal and said she met her husband while serving an LDS mission.

To help children avoid abduction she recommended practicing screaming and encouraging kids to fight back. She linked to RadKids.org as a way to learn more about prevention.

Not all of the questions were serious. Smart also revealed that her favorite movie is "Eddie The Eagle" and she can eat pints of Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia ice cream by the pint. She still plays her harp, Posh Spice is her favorite and she listens to books more than music.

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