Quite so. Smart isn’t ruined; she’s not a psychological wreck; she hasn’t let being the victim of a grotesque crime break her. She rides her horses; she plays her harp. She’s loving and beloved. The monster tried to destroy her, but she won.
However, there’s a double-edged aspect to her cover-girl looks that Smart herself never discusses, partly out of modesty, I imagine.
If TV audiences saw her as a symbol of innocence brutalized, then so did her captors. The “holy man” who took her — a psychopath using religion to mask pedophilia, she believes — clearly got off on defiling and degrading her, while his wife’s collaboration just as obviously stemmed from insane jealousy over her girlish beauty.
The fact that she came from a close-knit, loving family also contributed to Brian David Mitchell’s destructive obsession. And it was precisely his constantly repeated threats to murder her parents and siblings if she ran that prevented Smart from bolting. Remember, the child was 14.
“I’m just a little girl,” she begged that first terrible night. “I haven’t even started my period. I’m still a child.”
So it comes as more of a disappointment than a surprise to see people who ought to know better talking nonsense. Commenters to a sympathetic article in Jezebel, an online magazine also featuring articles on “Creatively Exposed Skin at the Golden Globes After-Parties,” sneered that she belonged in “the category of ‘how a wealthy white woman rises above a truly horrible experience,’” and doubting that her family had to beg for help.
Actually, family members were treated as suspects for a time.
Meanwhile, the comparative silence of the feminist left has been noticeable. I suspect Smart’s religiosity has a lot to do with that. Anyway, too bad, because she’s talking about sexual victimization and shaming in ways that young people of every persuasion need to hear.