"Can't believe this just happened," Elizabeth Smart writes on her Instagram post announcing her Emmy nomination.
Smart was nominated for her work as a special correspondent with Crime Watch Daily with Chris Hansen where her work focuses on helping victims recover from abuse. Since her time working as a correspondent, Smart has reported on BYU's sexual assault controversy, interviewed kidnapping and abuse victims, provided tips for parents to help protect their children against abuse, and candidly discussed contemplating suicide as well as the resilience and hope that can be found after dark times.
Kidnapped, abused, and held captive at 14 years old, Smart has used her personal experiences to advocate change long before her job with Crime Watch Daily.
In 2016, she spoke out about commonly used chastity lessons within the LDS Church and how many can have unintended but harmful effects on men and women.
"The way we talk about [sex and abstinence] needs to change," Elizabeth Smart said. "People need to realize there is nothing that can detract from your worth. When it comes to rape and sexual violence and abuse, that can never detract from who you are."
In a recent Reddit forum, Smart told readers to "ask her anything," beginning a conversation which allowed her to open up about her experience and faith.
"The hardest thing about speaking out and becoming an advocate was the fear of having everyone know what happened to me," Smart writes. "The one thing I would tell a survivor about speaking out is no matter what people’s reactions are, you deserve happiness, you deserve love, you deserve support, and you deserve to know that you are worthwhile."
When asked directly about her faith and whether it may have hindered her healing, Smart replied, "No, my faith helped me survive what I did, but when people justify everything they do through religion, it makes me wary."
In fact, throughout her journey, Smart has always been adamant about her faith's role in providing healing and strength.
"There wasn't a single day I didn't pray," Smart shared in a BYU-H devotional. "It was the hardest time of my life, without a doubt, but at the same time, it was one of the most spiritual times of my life because I felt my Savior's presence so strongly in my life."