ABC’s ‘20/20’ features the Cleveland kidnappings, and through its survivors tries to bring into focus how they made it through a decade of abuse. While not everyone is still comfortable with all the details of their experiences, even the ones they can tell require a lot of courage. Ariel Castro’s first victim in this kidnapping series was Michelle Knight who was 21 years old at the time. The kind of torture she has suffered at his hands is one too many, but she showcased her strength at every juncture from her rehabilitation period to the present.
Who is Michelle Knight?
Michelle Knight was a 21-year-old single mom at the time she was lured into taking a ride with Ariel Castro—she had been desperately trying to find a way to reach her son’s custody hearing. In the ‘20/20’ segment, she talks about how she had a tough childhood, filled with abuse of various kinds, so much so that at one time she ran away, sleeping in garbage bins to get by. Her suffering and trauma at the hands of Castro were plenty as well. The one that clearly stood out was the five pregnancies Castro terminated with physical deprivation and force. She said, “…First, he’ll starve me, he’ll give me soda all the time to prevent milk, he’ll throw me downstairs, use blunt objects to abort it…he’ll use anything to make it go away. One day he came into the room and I was sleeping and he jumped on my stomach.” Thus, the sexual, physical, and mental abuse were more gruesome as the days went by.
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🎉 Book Birthday 🎉 Congratulations @official_michelleknight on today’s release of #LifeAfterDarkness! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Michelle Knight-now known as Lily Rose Lee-captured the world's attention in May 2013, when she and two fellow kidnapping victims were found and freed after being held for more than a decade by notorious Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro. On the 5 year anniversary of her escape she brings you a story of healing and resilience. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Get your copy now wherever books are sold. 📚
After her escape, it was found that she was deaf in one ear because of all the times she got beaten on the face and would even require a facial reconstruction surgery. Even though rehabilitation was not easy and took time, she rose from the experience to make something out of it. She penned a memoir titled, ‘Finding Me: A Decade of Darkness, a Life Reclaimed – A Memoir of the Cleveland Kidnappings,’ which went on to become a New York Times Bestseller. She got married in 2016 to Miguel Rodriguez.
In an interview in 2018, she said, “My wedding was the most extraordinary and interesting, heartwarming — oh my gosh — explosive day ever.” In addition to this, she also said that even though she had her fears in being intimate with someone post her past trauma, love made all the difference.
Where is Michelle Knight Now?
Post the incident, she changed her name to Lily-Rose. She seems happy in her life based on her social media accounts. In a recent tweet, celebrating her wedding anniversary, she said, “Many of you are asking me how am I doing today. Well, I am doing AWESOME! I am just loving life! For many of you, it marks the end of my 11 years of captivity. But for me, it represents my beginning! Today, I celebrate my 4 year anniversary of being married to the love of my life.”
Rose is also an animal lover and animals seem to play a huge part in her life. Whether it be birds, snakes, or dogs, she is extending her love to them all. She is also an artist and places a huge value in her creative pieces. She also has a foundation named Lily’s Ray of Hope. Through the non-profit, she aims to alleviate the condition of women and girls who have been through domestic violence, human trafficking, child abuse, and other kinds of abuse. Thus, Rose seems to be making the most of her life.
Read More: How Did Ariel Castro Die?