Cleveland Ariel Casto victims speak out, say 'thank you' (VIDEO)


Ariel Castro, 52, appears in court May 9, 2013, to faces charges that he kidnapped and raped three young women and held them in his Cleveland home for a decade. He did not enter a plea and stood with his head bowed while the court set bail at $8 million.


Emmanuel Dunand

Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, the three victims held captive by Ariel Castro for a decade, spoke out for the first time since they were rescued two months ago in Cleveland, Ohio.

In a short YouTube video posted Tuesday, the women spoke separately to give thanks for all the support they have received, making statements of hope and resilience, despite their horrific experiences.

"I want to thank everyone who has helped me and my family through this entire ordeal, everyone who has been there to support us," said Berry, who was kidnapped in 2003. "It has been a blessing to have such an outpouring of love and kindness."

Knight talked about her faith in God and said she was confident about the future.

"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 said. "Walking hand-in-hand with my best friend, I will not let the situation define who I am. I will define the situation."

More than $1 million has been raised to help the three women rebuild their lives. A link to the Courage Fund can be found here.

Watch the video: