Three women who were abducted and held for ten years by Ariel Castro have spoken out for the first time.
Amanda Berry, Gina De Jesus and Michelle Knight were held for a decade in the Cleveland home where they were abused by the 52 year old man.
Amanda Berry managed to escape from the home and alert neighbors when her abductor allegedly forgot to shut the door.
"First I want everyone to know how happy I am to be home with my family and friends," she said on video.
"I want to thank everyone who has helped me and my family through this entire ordeal… to everyone who has been there to support us it has been such a blessing."
She also asked for the continued respect of her privacy as she tried to build a normal life.
Berry gave birth to now six year old Jocelyn during her kidnapping – a paternity test is underway to determine if Castro is indeed the father.
Further investigation has revealed the girls were chained up, tied up and had their mouths taped closed during their abduction.
Michelle Knight, who delivered Berry's baby during the incarceration, also spoke out.
"Thank you everyone for your love, support donations which helped me build a normal life.
"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 and my feet firmly on the ground... I will not let the situation define who I am – I will define the situation."
The Cleveland Courage fund has been set up by local council members to allow people to help financially support the girls.
Gina DeJesus thanked everyone who had donated to the fund, her mother Nancy Ruiz also thanked their supporters.
" I would personally like to thank Courage Fund and everyone in general. I'd also like to thank my community and neighbors. I want to say to people and parents…who does have a loved one missing. Please… count on your neighbors. Don't be afraid to ask for help, because help is available."
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