Responding to a question from a follower asking when she told her parents about the abuse she suffered during her kidnapping ordeal, Elizabeth Smart revealed on Instagram on Sunday that she actually never did so directly. "I never sat them all down and had a 'tell all' experience with them. Honestly when I got home I didn’t want anyone to know what had happened I was embarrassed and ashamed," she wrote. She did tell two people at an advocacy center she was taken to the details of what happened, and those professionals in turn told her parents, "but I don’t think my parents ever heard in detail what happened from my own lips until my court appearance almost a decade later," Smart writes.
The post was in support of the Elizabeth Smart Foundation's #webelieveyou campaign, which she also posted about Monday. She says she tried to avoid discussing exactly what happened to her (she was repeatedly raped during the 9-month ordeal she underwent at age 14 at the hands of Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Barzee, Fox News reports) because she was ashamed, but that changed one day when her father talked to her about the charges Mitchell was facing. "I felt anger, because of all the charges he was faced with none of them included the worst things he did to me. It was ultimately in that moment that I stopped caring and worrying about the shame and embarrassment that I felt," she wrote. She got involved in advocacy, which ultimately led to her current campaign. "The first step towards changing the culture of how we treat victims and survivors is to start by believing them!" (Read more Elizabeth Smart stories.)