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October 31, 2014

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Elizabeth Smart, Jaycee Dugard Speak Out After Amanda Berry Rescue

Elizabeth Smart, Jaycee Dugard Speak Out After Amanda Berry Rescue

05/08/2013

Elizabeth Smart (pictured above) and Jaycee Dugard were both victims of tragic kidnappings that managed to escape their captors after lengthy imprisonments. After the story broke of missing persons Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight being recovered in a Cleveland home, both Smart and Dugard took the opportunity to speak out with words of support for the victims.

When asked about her thoughts regarding the Ohio Kidnapping, Smart, who works on behalf of the Elizabeth Smart Foundation speaking out about the harmful effects of abstinence-only education on rape victims, hopes the victims don’t blame themselves. “[Their abductor] has stolen so much from them already, they deserve to be happy," Smart told ABC's Good Morning America.

"I would tell them I hope that they realize there is so much ahead of them, that they don’t need to hold on to the past, she added. "They don’t need to relive everything that’s happened, because it’s proof, their rescue is proof that there are good people out there."

Dugard’s statement that was released in the wake of the Ohio kidnapping scandal echoed Smart’s sentiments. She too hopes that Berry, DeJesus and Knight will be able to heal, and to recognize that the grave situation that they suffered through doesn’t define them. "The human spirit is incredibly resilient," Dugard said. "More than ever this reaffirms we should never give up hope."

Smart went missing in 2002 when she was 14 years old, and was rescued nine months later after having been raped repeatedly. She had been taken from her bedroom and kept in a house only 18 miles from her home. Dugard had only been 11 years old when husband and wife Phillip and Nancy Garrido abducted her on her way to school in 1991. She was raped hundreds of times during her captivity, and gave birth to two girls. She was rescued in 2009.

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Read more: Elizabeth Smart, Jaycee Dugard, Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight, Gina DeJesus

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