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CLEVELAND– Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry, and Gina DeJesus are survivors, full of strength and character.

At Ariel Castro’s sentencing, Thursday, another example of courage prevailed.

Michelle Knight spent the entire time in the Justice Center courtroom.  Before the sentencing, she spoke confidently to the victimizer.

“I will overcome all this that happened, but you will face hell for eternity,” Knight said.
From this point on I will not let you define me, or affect who I am,” she went on.

Her words were emotional, but she stood strong. She also spoke of the hope she and the other victims had while they were held in captivity on Seymour Ave.

“We said we would someday make it out alive, and we did,” Knight said.

“I am just truly, truly inspired,” said Renee Jones, President of the Renee Jones Empowerment Center in Cleveland.

Jones told FOX 8 the survivors are role models for women everywhere.

“I have seen such strength and courage from these women; it is absolutely remarkable,” Jones said.

Jones also believes the women will rely on their faith to get them through whatever lies ahead.

“Now they can close this chapter in their lives, move forward, and have
that continued support they’ve been given, the privacy; that privacy is very key to their healing.”

The Cleveland Rape Crisis Center sent FOX 8 a statement in regards to the survivors.

It says in part:

“Once again, we are struck by the bravery of Michelle, Gina and Amanda at today’s [Thursday’s] sentencing hearing.

We are choosing to focus our energy on their inspiring words and actions.”

Castro was sentenced to life in prison without parole, plus 1,000 years.

Before sentencing, Dr. Frank Ochberg spoke with love about the three survivors.

“Among them are marvelous, compelling examples of resilience, of imagination,
of humanity,” Dr. Ochberg said.

Dr. Ochberg reviewed videos and the survivors statements after they were freed on May 6.

The psychiatrist believes that being locked away, beaten, and treated like animals for about a decade by Castro, was no doubt torture.

*Get continuing coverage on today’s sentencing and other stories on the women here*