Fox TV show Crime Watch Daily welcomed new correspondent Elizabeth Smart to the team this week. For her first episode with the show she explored the response of her alma mater BYU to students who were sexually assaulted during their time on campus.
Brigham Young University currently has an “Honor Code” for student conduct, and that code was allegedly frequently used to aggressively persecute anyone who came forward about their assaults. Deseret News reports that during her 18-minute segment, Smart spoke directly of her feelings about BYU’s failure to support those students:
“It really makes me feel terrible to think that these women are not coming forward and getting the help that they not only need but deserve because they’re too worried about the rules that are in place, worried that they’ll get expelled,” she said.
Smart also spoke of her experience with captors Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Barzee, touching on the emotional manipulation perpetrated by rapists alongside physical violence:
“I don’t think most people realize, rapes are premedidated[SIC] and thought out,” Smart said during the show. “These people who are committing them are not stupid. They know how to target women, they know how to target people.”
The BYU Honor Code has been the subject of much criticism, with even the Provo Police Department stating that BYU should provide limited amnesty to those reporting a sexual assault around the time of the incident, so they would not fear retaliatory punishment for code violations. In an online petition, more than 110,000 people have signed for this provision to be added to BYU’s honor code.