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Kara Robinson and Elizabeth Smart were both abducted in the same year. Robinson was just 15 when she was taken at gunpoint by a man who drove up while she was watering plants in her friend's yard in South Carolina. Smart, 14, was taken from her bedroom in Utah by a stranger at knifepoint. Against all odds, both girls survived their horrific ordeals.
Years later, the two met and became friends, able to connect as members "of a sisterhood no one wants to be a part of," Robinson told Oxygen in a recent interview. And now, they're co-producing an Oxygen documentary, "Escaping Captivity: The Kara Robinson Story," airing Sunday, Sept. 26 at 7/6c on Oxygen.
In advance of the documentary, Robinson and Smart spoke with Oxygen about their unique friendship and why they wanted to bring this story to a bigger platform, which you can see in the video above.
"I remember the first time I met her and we were talking about why I hadn't come forward with my story before and I said, 'You know, there's this look people get when they hear your story and she said, "Oh, I know the look,' and that was the first moment of being like, 'You get me, you see me, you see what I've been through,'" Robinson said.
Robinson was kidnapped in June 2002 by Richard Evonitz, who brought her to his Columbia, South Carolina apartment. There, he held her captive for hours, drugging and sexually assaulting her. Robinson was ultimately able to escape her restraints and flee after Evonitz fell asleep. When she went to the police, they uncovered ties connecting Evonitz to the murders of three girls in Virginia. Her escape and the information she gathered led them directly to a serial killer.
Evonitz shot himself days later during a police chase, The Washington Post reported in 2002.
Robinson explained it was important to have someone like Smart working on this documentary with her.
"When someone else is telling your story, it can be difficult because it can be done in a way that almost re-victimizes you sometimes," she said.
Smart agreed, adding, "We call them stories but they're not just stories. These are the darkest moments of survivors' lives. I think unless people have enough sensitivity or experience themselves it's easy to think of it as just a story."
The two women have since become advocates for survivors, hoping their experiences can help others who have gone through trauma and educate those who want to help survivors. Smart believes telling Robinson's story will help do exactly that.
"I want everyone to always have a sense of hope because no one gets through this life without their fair share of struggle and trial and heartbreak, and I think Kara's story really just brings that ultimate sense of hope. I'm so proud of Kara and I'm so proud of everything that she's doing," Smart said.
For more on Robinson's story, watch the Oxygen documentary, "Escaping Captivity: The Kara Robinson Story," airing Sunday, Sept. 26 at 7/6c on Oxygen.
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