Elizabeth Smart — the woman who, as a 14-year-old girl, was kidnapped and raped in 2002 — just revealed she was sexually assaulted last year.
“I’ve always felt safe on an airplane,” Smart said during an interview with “CBS This Morning” host Gayle King. “I’ve never been worried. I’ve never felt threatened on an airplane. Until now.”
After the encounter, which took place on a Delta flight into Salt Lake City, Smart said she called her husband, asking him, “Do I just have, like, a big badge on my forehead that says, ‘Easy prey’ or ‘victim?’ Because I am sick of it.”
She told King she had been asleep in her seat when she woke up, feeling someone’s hand rubbing in between her legs. The incident, Smart said, left her “shocked.”
“I mean, the last time someone touched me without my say-so was when I was kidnapped,” she explained. “And I froze. I didn’t know what to do.”
In addition to being stunned by the man’s actions, Smart says she was also shocked at how she immediately froze, unable to do anything to stop the man’s advances.
Smart told CBS she reported the assault to Delta officials, none of whom she blames for the incident, and alerted the FBI. Today, there is an “ongoing investigation” into the matter, she said.
“I don’t want him to be preying on other girls,” added Smart.
Since the encounter took place, Smart has been trained in self defense and is working to spread her curriculum — Smart Defense — around the country.
King accompanied Smart to one of her classes, where she met Smart’s mother, Lois, who was also there training.
“I think she’s remarkable,” the elder Smart said of her daughter. “She’s a strong woman who survived hardships, but to look at her now, you would never know she went through anything.”