FORT LEE, VA (WWBT) - A message of hope from a young woman who was kidnapped ten years ago from her bedroom in Salt Lake City.
Elizabeth Smart was at Fort Lee, Wednesday, to talk about the horrible experience and how she's moved on.
Ten years have passed since Smart was found alive. She was kidnapped for 9 months. During that time -raped, abused, and tortured.
Ten years later, this poised young woman at 24-years-old is continuing her mission to help others by sharing her story.
"I don't think anybody fully realizes, how strong of an individual you are until you are tested. And I think so many people are able to rise above their challenges and they're able to flip them and turn them into wonderful things and make the most out of it," said Smart.
She's created the Elizabeth Smart Foundation - it fights against child pornography and teaches child empowerment.
She says the latest scandal at Penn State hits close to home.
"It's always heartbreaking to hear of a case of abuse going on about a child being abused but if anything good can come from the Penn State Scandal is that we are talking about it and we are raising awareness," she said.
Southside Regional Medical Center invited her to speak about her experience. You could hear a pin drop. When Smart spoke, everyone listened.
"I was so hurt and I know how I felt and I don't anyone to feel that way," she said.