At midnight, a video showing Cleveland kidnapping victims Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight addressing the public about their traumatic experience for the first time was released. The three-and-a-half-minute clip, filmed on Jul. 2, shows each woman thanking everyone for their continued support as they readjust to society. The three women were taken captive by Ariel Castro and held hostage in his home on Seymour Avenue for a decade before being rescued in May thanks to the heroics of Charles Ramsey.
The 32-year-old Knight, who was taken in Aug. 2002, was in captive the longest. She may have experienced permanent physical damage and hearing loss as a result of the ordeal. “I don’t want to be consumed by hatred,” she said. "With that being said, we need to take a leap of faith and know God is in control. God has a plan for all of us. The plan that he gave me is to help others who have been in the same situation I have been in.”
Berry, 27, was a mere 16-years-old when she was captured in Apr. 2003. While in captivity, she gave birth to a 6-year-old daughter. She said she is "getting stronger each day," and that "having [her] privacy has helped immensely."
Twenty-three-year-old Gina Dejesus, who was abducted at 14 in Apr. 2004, was joined by her parents. Her mother implored anyone with missing a loved one to "count on your neighbors," and never to be afraid to ask for help.
Castro was hit with a 329-count indictment last month. He faces 177 counts of kidnapping, 139 counts of rape, seven counts of gross sexual imposition, three counts of felony assault, two counts of aggravated murder and a count of possession of criminal tools. He's being held on $8 million bail and has pleaded not guilty.
[via Cleveland Plain Dealer]