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Elizabeth Smart to Cleveland victims: forget the past, move forward

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - Elizabeth Smart knows. She's been there.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – Elizabeth Smart knows what its like for the three young Cleveland women found alive.

The three were rescued Monday night after being held captive for ten years.

In 2003, Utah and the nation was shocked when she was found alive.

For nine months she was held captive by Brian David Mitchell and his wife.

Since then, Smart has turned the page, championing children's rights.

Appearing on Good Morning America, she told a national audience that she can somewhat understand what these three women are going through.

“All I can think of is joy, relief, happiness, gratitude,” she says. “But at the same time I think it’s so important to respect their privacy to try and help give them every chance they can in their own way to find a pathway, back to some sense of well being."

The three young Cleveland women were held captive for a decade. Smart understands why some may ask why didn’t they escape.

At a symposium last week at Johns Hopkins University, she says the repeated rapes made her feel filthy, like a used piece of chewing gum.

“I felt like I'm that chewed up piece of gum,” she says. “Nobody re-chews a piece of gum. You throw it away and that's how you feel. You no longer have worth. You no longer have value.”

She says the Cleveland woman need to erase the past and move forward.

“He's stolen so much from them already,” she told the national audience. “They deserve to be happy. I would tell them I would hope they realize there is so much ahead of them. That they don't need to hold onto the past."
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