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The three women rescued from the Cleveland home where they had been held captive and abused finally are speaking out.
Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight released a video on YouTube on Monday night thanking people for their support since they returned home and offered updates on their well-being.
The three women allegedly were kidnapped by Ariel Castro roughly a decade ago, after each accepted rides with him.
Berry was able to escape in early May and called 911, saying: “Help me. I’m Amanda Berry. I’ve been kidnapped, and I’ve been missing for 10 years, and I’m, I’m here, I’m free now.”
The three women then were rescued, and Castro later was arrested.
Castro has pleaded not guilty to hundreds of rape and kidnapping charges. He faces hundreds of years in prison, if convicted, and possibly the death penalty.
“I want everyone to know how happy I am to be home with my family and friends; it’s been unbelievable,” Berry says in the video filmed July 2 at the offices of the Jones Day law firm in Cleveland.
“I want to thank everyone who has helped me and my family through this entire ordeal,” Berry added. “Everyone who has supported us, it has been a blessing to have such an outpouring of love and kindness.”
Berry said she was “getting stronger each day” and urged people to continue to respect the girls’ privacy so they could “have a normal life.”
DeJesus, accompanied by her parents, also thanked people for their support, as did Knight, who claimed that donations from strangers helped her “build a brand-new life.”
Knight said she was “doing fine,” adding, “I may have been through hell and back, but I’m strong enough to walk through hell with a smile on my face and my head held high and my feet firmly on the ground.”
She noted that God’s plan for her was to help others who have been in the same situation she was in.
All three women looked healthy and happy, even sporting new hairstyles and makeup.
The video was uploaded by Hennes Paynter Communications, a PR firm that, along with the attorneys, social-media strategist and videographer involved in the clip’s production, is working pro bono on behalf of the Cleveland kidnapping victims, according to a note posted with the video.
Watch the full video below.
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