Posted Jul 09, 2013 07:25 pm CDT
Three kidnap victims who made international headlines after their dramatic escape in May are speaking publicly for the first time via video.
The women—Amanda Berry, 27, Gina DeJesus, 23, and Michelle Knight, 32—offered thanks to supporters, both financial and emotional, and pleaded for continued privacy as they work to rebuild their lives.
“I may have been through hell and back, but I am strong enough to go through hell with a smile on my face, and with my head held high, and my feet firmly on the ground,” says Knight, who was the first of the three women taken captive. “I will not let the situation define who I am.”
The video, filmed last week, was released by the law firm managing a trust, which has amassed more than $1 million for the women.
“People are recognizing them now as they go about in public, so they decided to put voices and faces to their heartfelt messages,” Knight’s lawyer, Kathy Joseph, is quoted saying.
Ariel Castro is charged with abducting the women and with murder for causing multiple miscarriages. His next court date is July 24 in Cleveland.