The three Cleveland kidnap victims have spoken out for the first time since they escaped their horrific captivity, allegedly at the hands of Ariel Castro, who is accused of holding them against their will in his house for a decade. There, the women were allegedly beaten, raped, and tortured until Amanda Berry managed to scream for help and escape the house. The other two victims, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, were also freed. Since then, the women have been quietly trying to repair their lives despite intense media and public interest in the case. Amanda and Gina both live at home. Michelle, who was estranged from her family, lives in an undisclosed location. The women have lawyers and a press relations firm working for them for free. The PR company put out a video in which the ladies spoke out to thank their supporters. What you hear will totally astonish you.
In the video, the women appear healthy, well-groomed, and happy. They are smiling. When they speak, their voices are strong and upbeat. It's simply amazing.
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I'll be honest. I did not expect this. Considering that the women were reportedly tortured like "prisoners of war" for a decade, it would have been perfectly justified if they were utter emotional wrecks, unable to form a sentence or even look you in the eye.
But these women not only look you in the eye -- they speak the truth from their hearts. Michelle Knight, who has developmental disabilities and reportedly suffered the brunt of Castro's abuse, including having a miscarriage after he repeatedly punched and kicked her in the stomach, and needing facial reconstruction surgery because of the constant beatings, sounds the strongest! She an awesomely inspiring young woman.
I may have been through hell and back, but I am strong enough to walk through hell with a smile on my face and with my head held high and with my feet firmly on the ground ...
Walking hand-in-hand with my best friends, I will not let the situation define who I am. I will define the situation. I don't want to be consumed by hatred. With that being said, we need to take a leap of faith and know that God is in control.
We have been hurt by people, but we need to rely on God as being the judge. God has a plan for all of us. The plan that he gave me is for me to help others that have been in the same situations I have been in -- to know that there is someone out there to lean on and to talk to. I am in control of my own destiny with the guidance of God.
Can you imagine?! Can you imagine being this strong in the face of such senseless evil?! Michelle Knight is an unbelievable heroine and I have no doubt she will go on to live a very important life and will give so much hope to so many others. Do any of us have a right to complain about something trivial when Michelle is this strong?
Amanda and Gina are strong, amazing women too. The three of them deserve every happiness that comes their way, and more.
Check out the heartwrenching but uplifting video. Do they inspire you? Do you have anything to say to them?
Image via HennesPaynterCommunications/YouTube