Video: Three women rescued from Cleveland house of horrors thank supporters

posted at 8:41 am on July 9, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight want to thank everyone who has donated to a relief fund set up for their benefit after having been rescued from ten years in captivity in a Cleveland house.  They want to thank everyone for the prayers being said on their behalf.  And they want to thank everyone in advance for respecting their privacy as they try to pick up the threads of normal lives after their horrific ordeal at the hands of their tormentor, Ariel Castro, who now faces 329 counts relating to his kidnapping, torture, and murder during their confinement.

In this video shot last week but released this morning, the three and a few family members talk a little about how they are transitioning to regular lives again, and express gratitude for all of the support they’ve been given:

Specifically, the three women express their gratitude to everyone who has donated to the Cleveland Courage Fund, set up to aid their transition to non-captive life, and for the moral support — and privacy — they’ve received since their rescue. So far, the Courage Fund has received $1.05 million from 9,200 donors.

The women all smile, showing strength and fragility, sometimes at the same time. “First and foremost, I want everyone to know how happy I am to be home with my family, my friends,” says Berry, 27. “I am getting stronger each day and having my privacy has helped immensely.”

DeJesus, 23, appears with her parents, Felix DeJesus and Nancy Ruiz. She speaks the least of the three, thanking Courage Fund donors for their support. Her father echoes that theme, but Ruiz literally thanks everyone, with special mention for her neighbors. “Parents in general that do have a loved one missing, please do me one big favor,” she says. “Count on your neighbors.”

The longest statement is from Knight, 32, who talks about how her faith helped her survive and move forward. “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 held high and my feet firmly on the ground,” she says, concluding: “Thank you for all of your prayers. I’m looking forward to my brand-new life.”

The Cleveland Plain Dealer has more:

“I don’t want to be consumed by hatred,” Knight says in the video. “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.” …

“Amanda, Gina and Michelle wanted to say thank you to people from Cleveland and across the world, now that two months have passed,” said Kathy Joseph, the attorney for Knight. “People are recognizing them now as they go about in public, so they decided to put voices and faces to their heartfelt messages. ”

James Wooley, an attorney for Berry and DeJesus, said the women “still have a strong desire for privacy.” He said the women do not wish to talk about their ordeal with the media or anyone else.

Let’s hope that wish gets respected by all involved, and let the women tell their stories on their own terms — or not at all.  If you are interested in donating to the Cleveland Courage Fund on their behalf, you can start here at this link.


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I’m looking forward to my brand-new life.

After January 20, 2017 at noon we hope and pray that happens too, or we’re all going to feel like we’re trapped in a house, being beaten and we can’t get out and no one cares.

PappyD61 on July 9, 2013 at 8:45 AM

God bless those brave young ladies and may He provide peace and healing quickly.

jwehman on July 9, 2013 at 8:51 AM

What an inspiring attitude Michele conveyed in her words.She has been through hell so things can only get better. Blessings to them all.

3dpuzzman on July 9, 2013 at 8:52 AM

The ultimate survivors! I’m speechless. Tears many tears.

justonevictory on July 9, 2013 at 8:55 AM

God Bless and keep these young women and their families as they heal from their captivity and these remarkable women build new lives in freedom.

workingclass artist on July 9, 2013 at 8:57 AM

God Bless you ladies. May you have a wonderful life filled with happiness and joy.

gophergirl on July 9, 2013 at 9:17 AM

Wow, wouldn’t most be bitter and hold grudges?

OmahaConservative on July 9, 2013 at 9:21 AM

My god.
I cannot even imagine the anger and grief they must feel at having so much of their lives stolen from them as they lived in captivity with those twisted freaks.
Thank God they had the strength to survive.

NeoKong on July 9, 2013 at 9:24 AM

The last one had her faith to keep her…

OmahaConservative on July 9, 2013 at 9:25 AM

Michelle Knight made me cry. Well, all of them did, but especially her. I know she had to have facial reconstruction surgery due to the injuries that monster inflicted on her, her bravery is inspiring. Makes my problems seem pretty insignificant.

mbs on July 9, 2013 at 9:31 AM

God bless those brave young ladies and may He provide peace and healing quickly.

jwehman on July 9, 2013 at 8:51 AM

Amen.

I am especially encouraged by Michelle Knight, because she wants to use her experience to help those who have faced similar traumas.

The fastest way to be emotionally healed is to become a healer.
I know this because I have lived it.

“Give, & it shall be given to you.” — Jesus Christ

itsnotaboutme on July 9, 2013 at 9:35 AM

When I read the headline I assumed that another Gosnell operation had been uncovered.

slickwillie2001 on July 9, 2013 at 10:14 AM

When I read the headline I assumed that another Gosnell operation had been uncovered.

slickwillie2001 on July 9, 2013 at 10:14 AM

.
Ouch.

listens2glenn on July 9, 2013 at 10:53 AM

God bless those brave young ladies and may He provide peace and healing quickly.

jwehman on July 9, 2013 at 8:51 AM

.
Amen.

I am especially encouraged by Michelle Knight, because she wants to use her experience to help those who have faced similar traumas.

The fastest way to be emotionally healed is to become a healer.
I know this because I have lived it.

“Give, & it shall be given to you.” — Jesus Christ

itsnotaboutme on July 9, 2013 at 9:35 AM

.
Dittos.

When the details of this story first broke, my second thought was “how many more of these situations are undiscovered and ongoing within our country”?

God bless these ladies.

listens2glenn on July 9, 2013 at 11:00 AM

God bless them all…I can’t even begin to imagine the utter hell each has been through.

JetBoy on July 9, 2013 at 11:08 AM

Wow, wouldn’t most be bitter and hold grudges?

OmahaConservative on July 9, 2013 at 9:21 AM

I dunno. When somebody’s life is extremely good, that somebody frequently finds trivia to whine about. So I don’t think people’s emotions are necessarily tied to objective reality.

This other extreme wouldn’t necessarily make them blame everybody in general. Especially when you do have family waiting. At some point you’ve just got to let it go or you’re hurting yourself. Unless you’re a young child that hasn’t really developed a strong personality yet. Well, everybody’s different, who knows.

Fenris on July 9, 2013 at 11:13 AM

This reminds me of the captives freed from the home Austria. Many of them were products of incest, and there was a huge outpouring of support there. It is wonderful how people come together and help these people.

bluegill on July 9, 2013 at 12:06 PM

God Bless them. I hope donations continue to pour in.

ctmom on July 9, 2013 at 12:14 PM

Their attitudes are inspiring. God bless them.

There isn’t a hole deep or foul enough to drop their tormentor into.

SteveThomas on July 9, 2013 at 12:53 PM

To come from that and have such an inspiring and positive attitude…

These women will be unstoppable.

The devil will cringe at the mention of their names.

CurtZHP on July 9, 2013 at 1:03 PM

God bless those brave young ladies and may He provide peace and healing quickly.

jwehman on July 9, 2013 at 8:51 AM

Amen to that. It would have been easy to burn up with hate and self-destruct. These girls seem to be so resilient! God must be with them.

Jaibones on July 9, 2013 at 5:43 PM

I have absolutely zero to complain about in my life.

Jackalope on July 9, 2013 at 6:25 PM