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.'” 
Smart said she awoke and expected the man to pull his hand away, but he didn’t move or say anything. She added that she reported the incident to Delta online after the fact and the airline was “so apologetic,” offering to “back (Smart) up as far” as she wanted to take the accusations. 
Delta spokesman Anthony Black emailed The Associated Press a company statement that said Delta is cooperating with the investigation.
Following her flight, Elizabeth Smart contacted Delta and shared that another passenger had acted inappropriately towards her, the statement said. We took the matter seriously and have continued to cooperate with Ms. Smart and the appropriate authorities as the matter is investigated. Delta does not tolerate passenger misconduct towards other customers or Delta employees.
“I mean, it’s not Delta’s fault,” Smart added. “It was this man. This man made a decision. But I wanted Delta to know, and they were appalled.” 
She says the FBI is still investigating, but the bottom line is that she doesn’t “want him to be preying on other girls.” USA TODAY has reached out to the FBI for further information. FBI spokeswoman Sandra Barker could not confirm or deny that an investigation exists.
In the aftermath of the situation, Smart trained with a family friend in self-defense. She said the experience led her to found Smart Defense, an organization based in Utah that teaches women and girls the tools and confidence to protect themselves. Since her abduction in 2002, she has worked as an advocate for kidnapping victims and has written several books about survival and her personal story as a victim of kidnapping.  
Would her new training tools have helped her 14-year-old self from getting abducted? “Probably not,” Smart said, but thought it would have given her “the confidence to try” and escape her kidnapper at some point. 
“I speak to other women about this and I say, ‘It’s OK to say no. It’s OK to take care of yourself and be safe,” she said. “We’re not training them to be assassins, we are trying to train them to give themselves an opportunity to get away.” 
Contributing: Jessica Durando, USA TODAY; The Associated Press