A TIME OF HEALING FOR THE CLEVELAND GIRLS - Amanda Berry, Gina Dejesus and Michelle Knight share a story of survival, determination and friendship. These young ladies were held captive for more than a decade by one man; Ariel Castro. Each lived in the same general area and accepted a ride from Castro the day they were abducted. Their families never gave up hope that one day they would return home, and neither did they.
Their dramatic rescue earlier this year in May has been spread in newspapers and the internet all over the world. As each one came home from the hospital, again the cameras were there, allowing the public to be a witness. Over the last few months, little has been seen or heard about the case until this week, when the final sentencing was proclaimed for the man who kept them like prisoners all these years.
It has only been three months since these young ladies were brought out of what can only be called a horrific and heinous experience, and yet as I watched the video above, if I didn’t know the story I might not believe what these ladies endured. The strength and courage that kept them alive the past years, is what is helping them to heal now.
The neighborhood and the city of Cleveland is healing as well. Keeping news coverage to a minimum, it is understood that privacy and time will be the biggest factors that allow the three to gain their footing and establish new lives. The neighborhood has gathered around them, watching for unknown cars filled with the curious hoping to get a peek at one of the girls outside.
Even the home where they had been held captive has been a favorite spot by outsiders to take pictures; that is if they are not spotted and shooed off by local residents. Thankfully, the house is slated to be torn down by the end of summer and the families living there can get back to a normal life.
“I will not let that situation define who I am, I will define the situation.” Michelle Knight
Since their rescue, the Cleveland Foundation has set up ‘The Courage Fund’ that to date has raised more than $1.2 million through donations from around the world. All monies collected, 100%, will be used to benefit Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight, and Amanda Berry and her daughter. If you would like to know more or make a donation, more information can be found here: http://clevelandcourage.org/
Would you be willing to give up time from your life for someone you didn’t know? Alex Sheen is such a man and he founded the non-profit organization ‘Because I said I would’ as a way of bettering humanity through the power of a promise. His ten day walk across Ohio in their honor has helped bring awareness of the many missing children still waiting to be brought home.
Yes, as a nation we were floored to realize what these young ladies went through. As a city, we want to believe it couldn’t happen here; and in their neighborhood everyone is wondering how they didn’t know. We have all been made more aware.
The journey of life is just beginning for Amanda Berry and her daughter, Michelle Knight and Gina Dejesus and their story is not over; they will be remembered and their story re-told as an inspiration for families everywhere.
They are not victims; they are survivors!