— The Cleveland Courage Fund has raised more than $1 million and it’s all thanks to everyone who has donated. Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight thank supporters in a video.
— I keep thinking George Zimmerman and Ezekiel Gilbert look alike even though they really don’t.
Yet another call for donations. No, this blog isn’t going to turn into that. But sometimes things happen that move me and I know that many readers have good hearts. It never matters how much you give because I know those in need appreciate every dollar; but it does matter what happens to your hard-earned money.
My friend Jill and I have discussed the Ohio women every day since the news broke. We’ve wanted to help but didn’t want our money to go anywhere but directly to the victims. Jill feels she has found a way to donate that will help the women the most. I’ll let her explain why this matters so much to Gina, Amanda, Michelle.
I’m Jill Brenneman. Amanda graciously asked me to do a guest post on her blog about donations for the Cleveland kidnapping victims. I want to express why it is very important that anyone who can donate does so, because while they are now free from Ariel Castro, their recovery will be a lifetime process.
Donations are being processed by the Cleveland Foundation. While there appears to be more than one donation website, the Cleveland Foundation is the only site that states it will be giving 100 percent of the proceeds to the victims.
My post will refer a great deal to my own life experiences after being held captive for three years until I escaped. It is imperative to me that my purpose is understood: I am using my experiences to illustrate what life is like once one has escaped because there is little information or discussion about it. While much of this discussion is about me and my experiences, the post is about why the three kidnapping victims need our help. While I appreciate whatever concern may be felt about me by those who read this post, I would ask that you please focus on the purpose of the post: Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight, and Amanda Berry need our help. They are the focus of this post. My experiences are only to illustrate the reasons why a former captive needs immediate assistance. This post is about the three women in Cleveland. Not about me.
I was a kidnapping victim in circumstance similar to Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight, and Amanda Berry. I was fortunate to escape after three years. Nonetheless, escaping a captor isn’t even a halfway point to recovery. For three years I was tortured, raped, endured sensory deprivation, placed in restraints that kept me in stress positions for long durations of time, malnourished, and had absolutely no control over any part of my life. Life for me as a captive was always cause and effect — usually with violent consequences. Even involving things I had no control over; for example, bruising from a vicious beating was cause for punishment. I was expected to address basic bodily needs once a day when he came to take me to the bathroom. Anything beyond that was automatically grounds for punishment because it was seen as defiance. This has profoundly impacted my life even though I escaped nearly thirty years ago.