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VIDEO: Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight Speak out for First Time
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The three women who had spent years captive in Ariel Castro’s Cleveland Home have finally broke their silence and have thanked those who reached out to them with prayers, well-wishes, and denotations. They made a three-minute video putting a face to the names we’ve heard so much of, and also expressing their gratitude, amidst smiles and looks of well-being.

“I may have been through hell and back, but I am strong enough to walk through hell with a smile on my face and my head held high,” Knight says, reading from a statement. “I will not let the situation define who I am. I will define the situation. I don’t want to be consumed by hatred.” She was the oldest of the three when kidnapped, at the age of 21, and say she is starting a “brand new life.” Her message also indicates that she is taking particularly strong consolation in religion in the aftermath of being kidnapped, and Berry, who was 16 when kidnapped, and who had a 6-year-old daughter by Castro, also mentioned feeling subsequently “blessed” by the community after escaping Castro’s control.


“They wanted to say thank you and there were three options to do that,” says Hennes Paynter managing partner Bruce Hennes, as reported by USA Today. “One was to select a reporter and use that reporter as a megaphone to say thank you. They could have taken out an ad in the (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, or we could have done a video for them.”

Castro, meanwhile, has plead not guilty and has been judged mentally fit to stand trial, which will begin on Aug. 5.

The girls claim that having a sense of privacy to heal has helped them, though of course the rest of the world has wanted to culturally process them in the Western manner with TV interviews and books written about their story, something the women don’t want.

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“They don’t want to do interviews,” said Hennes. “They don’t want to tell their stories.”

But seeing the women bright and brave does make the story a bit better for the rest of us.


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