Cleveland abduction victims Gina DeJesus and Amanda Berry recently spoke to USA Today about their time in captivity and shared their advice for survival to other young women who may be enduring the same horror they did for 10 years.
“Stay strong and stay positive, and never give up hope,” Berry said, hoping that someone would hear her words and feel comforted.
“Know you’re going to have some hard times,” DeJesus, who was raped, tortured, and starved, added, “but you can get through it.”
For nearly a decade, Ariel Castro held the girls hostage and repeatedly physically, sexually, and emotionally abused them. Thankfully, DeJesus and Berry were rescued two years ago, and they have since been attempting to move forward with their lives.
Berry’s nightmare started the day before her 17th birthday when she accepted a ride from the father of one of her classmates, Ariel Castro. Little did she know that she would remain imprisoned for the next 10 years of her life. It wasn’t until she was 27 years old, with a 6-year-old daughter, Jocelyn, by Castro, that she was able to break out and win back her freedom.
DeJesus was kidnapped by Castro a year after Berry’s abduction. She was only 14-years-old at the time. Ariel had convinced Gina to get in the car with him to help him find his daughter, who was one of her friends from school. However, she soon ended up living the same life of terror as Berry.
While the girls were at first hesitant to tell their stories, they eventually decided to pen a memoir titled Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland, according to CBS News.
“I felt like there were so many people telling our story, what they thought was our story, and I just felt like maybe our voices weren’t heard,” Berry explained. “I definitely wanted to tell my side. I think Gina, too, right?”
“I also wanted to talk to people to, like, tell them to watch out and be aware,” DeJesus added. “I think we were just tired of people talking, trying to tell our stories, and they had no idea, no clue, what we went through.”
Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland was written with the help of Washington Post reporters Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan. The book, which totals 321 pages, was published by Viking and released earlier today.
[Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images, Amazon]