BOISE, Idaho (CBS2) — Elizabeth Smart, who survived a kidnapping and months of abuse, is now an advocate for victims.
At 14, Elizabeth was abducted from her Salt Lake City home in the middle of the night and was held captive for nine months.
Now, nearly 20 years later, she's become an advocate for survivors of child abduction and sexual assault.
On Monday she toured Faces of Hope and talked to the board about the importance of supporting victims of sexual violence.
"You will always be safer to believe a victim of sexual assault when they come forward and it takes a huge amount of courage and vulnerability to come forward," Smart said.
As a kidnapping survivor, Elizabeth went on to become a wife, mother, and advocate for those moving forward from traumatic experiences.
"Ultimately you get to decide who you are and you define yourself by the decisions and choices you make," Smart said.
On Tuesday, Faces of Hope hosted a luncheon for community members and sponsors to come to hear Elizabeth share the story of her abduction and nine months in captivity.
"I heard a voice repeating the words 'don't make a sound, I have a knife at your neck, get up and come with me. In a matter of hours, I went from being excited about graduating junior high school, about going to high school, and all of a sudden wondering if I was going to live to see another day," Smart said.
Smart also talked about her rescue.
"I remember being so grateful being home and just feeling like everything that had been taken from me had all of a sudden been given back," Smart said.
Her message was one of hope, healing, and overcoming life's challenges.
"Thank goodness not everyone is kidnapped and held captive but we are all survivors to some degree and congratulations for that as well because life is not easy," Smart said.
Following Elizabeth's remarks, there was a Q&A with the crowd as well as a book signing.