‘I Will Not Let This Situation Define Who I Am:’ Cleveland Kidnapping Victims Speak Out For The First Time Since Their Rescue

July 9, 2013  |  

It has been exactly two months since three young women were discovered in a Cleveland, Ohio home, where they were  allegedly held captive, abused and starved for over a decade. Finally reunited with their families, Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight are attempting to readjust to a normal life. In a recently released YouTube video, the ladies spoke out on camera for the first time since their rescue to thank the public for their kindness, support, financial donations and most of all, for respecting their privacy.

“I want to thank everyone who has helped me and my family through this entire ordeal, everyone who has been there to support us. It has been a blessing to have such an outpouring of love and kindness. I’m getting stronger each day and having my privacy has helped immensely. I ask that everyone continue to respect our privacy and give us time to have a normal life,” said Amanda Berry, who went missing in April of 2003.

When asked what she would say to supporters, a more bashful Gina DeJesus, who appeared on camera with two of her family members, also expressed immense gratitude for the compassion and support offered to she and her family.

Michelle Knight, who was abducted in August of 2002 at age 21 said, “thank you everyone for your love, support, and donations which helped me build a brand new life. I want everyone to know I’m doing just fine. I may have been to 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 my feet firmly on the ground. Walking hand-in-hand with my best friend, I will not allow the situation to define who I am. 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 and the plan he gave me is to help others who have been in similar situations.”

According to CNN, over $1 million has been donated to the Cleveland Courage Fund to help the women heal and readjust as much as possible to normal life after living in captivity for over a decade. Although we will never fully know the extent of what these woman are going through, their courage is admirable.

Turn the page to watch their touching thank you video.

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