Elizabeth Smart joins ‘Crime Watch Daily’ to discuss sexual assaults, honor code at BYU

Posted at 10:17 PM, May 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-25 00:21:16-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Elizabeth Smart is joining the national TV show Crime Watch Daily as a special correspondent.

In an episode scheduled to air at 2 p.m. Mountain Time on Wednesday, Smart sheds light on a recent topic in the news; the conflict between rape investigations and honor code investigations at her alma mater, Brigham Young University.

"I was actually contacted by numerous media outlets asking if I had a response about it and at the time I didn't know anything that was going on, so I just kept following the news and looking into it and reading about it, and when I had an opportunity to speak out about it again, I felt like I really needed to, because this is a topic that isn't only at BYU, this is nationwide, worldwide for that matter,” Smart told FOX 13 News. “We need to know more about it. We need to be involved. We need to make sure these students wherever they may be aren't scared about coming forward in case they get expelled."

Smart is now immersed in the issue.

She recently interviewed two former BYU students who will share their stories with a national audience for the first time on Crime Watch Daily. Their choices to come forward are not lost on Smart.

"Probably the hardest five words I've ever had to say was 'I'm a survivor of rape'," she told Crime Watch Daily. "I almost felt forced into the spotlight, but now that I'm here I appreciate it because of the voice it’s given me."

BYU officials have announced they will review the way its Honor Code Investigations are conducted.

Smart was asked if she thinks BYU is doing enough.

"I don't think there's a response that can ever be big enough for me, personally, because I feel so strongly about this issue,” she said. “I think there are changes that are going to be made in the future that does give me hope that there will be a difference that students don't have to be so scared to come forward.

“There's no question in my mind that every victim, every survivor that goes through a rape feels terrible, feels filthy. That has been the reoccurring common theme that 'I felt so filthy, I felt so worthless,' that we need to change society as a whole as to how we look at rape because it is so much more common than any one of us thinks.

“We need to bring it into the open, we need to discuss it. We need to make sure we don't then turn around and shame these survivors, with 'You should've come home early' or ‘you should have not been wearing that shirt or that skirt,' 'you shouldn't have gone to that party by yourself.'

“Those are not the questions and not the responses that we need to be making."