Cleveland (WSYR-TV) – Three women who were rescued after nearly a decade in captivity have quietly started their lives over.
On Tuesday morning, Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight broke their silence to say thank you.
"First and foremost, I want everyone to know how happy I am to be home with my family and my friends,” Berry said in a video the trio released.
The three women were kidnapped and allegedly held in the home of Ariel Castro – a Cleveland man who faces dozens of felony charges.
The women did not give any details of their ordeal or mention Castro by name.
DeJesus – with her mother and father beside her – expressed her thanks.
"I would say 'thank you' for the support,” she said.
Her mother took the opportunity to thank her community for their help and give this advice.
"Count on your neighbors, don't be afraid to ask for their help, because help is available,” she said.
The oldest of the three, Knight endured painful beatings during the ordeal, but says her spirit is unbroken.
"I may have been through hell and back, but I am strong enough to walk through hell with a smile on my face and my head held high. I will not let the situation define who I am I will define the situation,” Knight said.
The video was shot last week at a Cleveland law firm.
The Cleveland Courage fund was established to help the three women, along with Berry’s daughter.
The fund had received more than $1 million in donations as of July 2.