During her 13 minute presentation, Smart recounted the details of her captivity and emphasized the need to teach children that they have intrinsic worth, regardless of how others might abuse or exploit them. She further noted that “one of the questions that is most commonly asked [of her] is ‘well, why didn’t you run away? Why didn’t you yell? Why didn’t you scream?’”
This question immediately raised the hackles of my inner humorless feminist, who was already riled after a year of teaching Women’s and Gender Studies 101. This question, as Smart notes, is common – an almost knee-jerk refrain when people feel survivors didn’t resist their own exploitation and abuses enough.