The three Ohio women- Amanda Berry, 27; Gina DeJesus, 23; and Michelle Knight, 32- who were held captive in a Cleveland home for almost a decade spoke publicly for the first time since they were freed on May 6.
Each of the women appeared in a video released today to thank the public for their support and prayers.
Knight had the longest statement prepared for the video, during which she spoke about her faith in God.
"I just want everyone to know that I’m doing just fine," she said. "I may have been through Hell and back, but I am strong enough to walk though Hell with a smile on my face and with my head held high and my feet firmly on the ground."
"Walking hand in hand with my Best Friend, I will not let the situation define who I am," Knight stated, referring to the Lord. "I will define the situation. I don’t want to be consumed by hatred."
“[W]e need to take a leap of faith and know that God is in control," Knight continued. “We have been hurt by people, but we need to rely on God as being the judge. God has a plan for all of us. That plan that He gave me was to help others that have been in the same situations I have been in.”
“To know that there is someone out there to lean on and to talk to — I am in control of my own destiny with the help of God,” she asserted. “I have no problem expressing how I feel inside.”
“Be positive. Learn that it is [more] important to give than to receive,” she told the audience. “Thank you for all your prayers. I’m looking forward to my brand new life.”
Amanda Berry, 27, had been held since 2003. “I want to thank everyone who has helped me and my family through this entire ordeal, everyone who has been there to support us,” Berry said. “It has been a blessing to have such an outpouring of love and kindness.”
Gina DeJesus, 23, who went missing in 2004, thanked people for their support. She sat with her parents, Felix DeJesus and Nancy Ruiz, who also expressed gratitude to their community.
On camera, the women again asked for privacy. The crisis-consulting media firm that helped produce the video -- Hennes-Paynter Communications -- noted on its website that the women had asked the firm and their attorneys not to give follow-up interviews.
Meanwhile, over one million dollars has been donated to the Cleveland Courage Fund to help the women in their recovery and the rebuilding of their lives.