July 9th, 2013
08:54 AM ET

Cleveland Kidnapping Victims Speak Out

For the first time since their release, the three Cleveland women held in captivity for more a decade are speaking publicly in a four minute Youtube video.

In the video, Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, are shown separately and each take their turn to say "thank you" to friends, family, the public and those who donated to the Cleveland Courage Fund.

The fund is set up to provide them "immediate, ongoing assistance and facilitate the long-term recovery and healing" after alleged abuse and captivity by Ariel Castro, CNN's Pamela Brown reports.

At the start of the video, Amanda Berry, who was kidnapped when she was 16 in April 2003 and has a 6-year-old daughter born during in captivity, says "I want to thank everyone who has helped me and my family through this entire ordeal, everyone who has been there to support us. It has been a blessing to have such an outpouring of love and kindness."

Gina DeJesus, who was 14 when  kidnapped in 2004, then says "I would say thank you for the support."

Michelle Knight, who was abducted at age 21 in 2002 held the longest. "I will not let the situation define who I am," she says. "I will define the situation. I don't want to be consumed by hatred. With that being said, we need to take a leap of faith and know that God is in control."

They were once silent, but now they want to world to know they have a voice and have reclaimed their lives. As for Ariel Castro, their alleged kidnapper, if a plea deal isn't reached, the trial will be August 5th. He faces 329 charges.

Check for story developments on CNN.com.

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