3 Women Who Survived Ariel Castro's 'House of Horrors' Speak on Rebuilding Their Lives
The women who survived being kidnapped by Ariel Castro and kept in his so-called "House of Horrors" in Ohio are now speaking out about their experiences and how they’re rebuilding their lives.
Michelle Knight, 38, Amanda Berry, 33, and Gina DeJesus, 29, were held captive for more than nine years in a Cleveland, Ohio home by Ariel Castro.
The women were kidnapped between 2002 and 2004, during which time no one knew what happened to the girls. They were all horribly abused by Castro in the long years they spent in his home. Berry spoke about the first time she was raped by Castro.
“He took me in there, and he told me to pull down my pants. And from there I knew, like, this was not going to be good,” Berry said during the "20/20" special, “Trapped” set to air Friday.
Castro initially tricked Berry, who was 17 at the time, into getting into the car with him in 2003 by telling her that he’d take her to see his daughter, a classmate of Berry’s. They drove to his house.
“So he started showing me around the house. And I never got back out,” Berry said.
Knight, who was 21 at the time of her kidnapping, was already being held captive by Castro when Berry arrived.
DeJesus was 14 when she was abducted in 2004. She was a friend of Castro’s daughter, Arlene. Castro also tricked her into getting into a vehicle with him by saying he couldn’t find his daughter and asked if she could help him look.
When they got to his house, he took her into the basement. He made sexual advances toward her and she tried to escape, but to no avail. He chained her in the basement.
It would take years before the women would break free.
During that time, Castro got Berry pregnant. She had a daughter, Jocelyn, in 2006. The women were freed in 2013 when Berry escaped and called 911 from a neighbor’s home.
This Christmas, Jocelyn, turned 13.
“You hear of rape victims who have a child. How do you just wrap your mind around it and make it work?" Berry said during the interview. “This is his kid and how do I feel about that? She resembled him a lot. and I would look at her and I just felt like... she's mine. She's mine.”
In 2013, Castro was sentenced to life in prison plus 1,000 years after he pleaded guilty to 937 counts of kidnapping and rape. He killed himself a month later.
Knight spoke at his sentencing about how Castro took years of her life, but was adamant that she would overcome all that happened.
“I had to show him that he no longer has control over me,” Knight said during the special. “That he doesn't define who I am. I define who I am by everything I do in life.”
Knight has since changed her name to Lily Rose Lee, has gotten married and started a nonprofit, Lily’s Ray of Hope, to provide help to victims of child abuse, domestic violence and human trafficking.
The full interview will air at 9 p.m. Friday on ABC.
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