June 15, 2021

Elizabeth Smart says seatmate touched her while she slept on flight, inspiring her to help others

Elizabeth Smart, the woman who has championed child safety after she was kidnapped and sexually assaulted as a teenager, has founded a self-defense initiative on the heels of another harrowing experience.

Smart, now 32, opened up to CBS’ Gayle King about a situation she said took place last summer on a Delta Air Lines flight. She said she was sleeping on a flight home to Utah when she awoke to the feeling of “someone’s hand rubbing in between my legs on my inner thigh.”

“I’ve always felt safe on an airplane,” Smart said. “I’ve never been worried, I’ve never felt threatened on an airplane until now. … I was shocked. I mean, the last time someone touched me without my say-so was when I was kidnapped. And I froze. I didn’t know what to do. … I kept saying to myself, ‘You’re Elizabeth Smart, you should know what to do.'”

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