The full and horrific extent of what the victims of Ariel Castro had to endure for more than a decade has been laid out in painstaking detail in their memoir, released today.
‘Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland,’ penned by Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus, reveals graphic details of how the girls were routinely raped - sometimes up to five times a day - beaten and chained to radiators.
(Photo Credit: Viking Books)
Never giving up hope they would be rescued, Gina, 25, and Amanda, 29, wrote first-hand accounts of their ordeal during their time in captivity — sometimes using napkins and takeout bags when they ran out of pages.
In one passage, Gina — who was only 14 when she was abducted — details the first time she was sexually assaulted by Castro.
“He seems angry, like he wants to hurt me as much as he can. I’m screaming and beating him back, but it’s useless,” she writes.
“I’m crying and bleeding. I’ve been terrified he would do this… I want to die. I try to cover myself with my clothes. ‘We gotta celebrate!’ he says, standing up and pulling his pants back on. ‘That was your first time!’”
Amanda (left) and Gina (right) at the time of their kidnappings. (Photo Credit: Splash)
In another chilling essay, Amanda recalls a time, during one of her daily rapes, she screamed at Castro, "Let me go home or kill me!"
To this, he wrapped the chord of a vacuum cleaner around her neck, pulling it tighter and tighter, before shouting, "I'm not here to kill you. I don't want to kill you! This is just about my sexual problem."
An exterior shot of the Cleveland home where they were held against their will for nearly a decade. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Cleveland.com reports the women chose to publish details of their nightmare because they "want people to know the truth, the real story of our decade as Castro’s prisoners.”
Gina, Amanda and a third victim Michelle Knight were freed on May 6, 2013, after Amanda and her then six-year-old daughter by Castro escaped and called the police.
Ariel’s mug shot after the women were saved. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Days later, Castro was charged with four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape.
He was sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole, plus 1,000 years behind bars after pleading guilty to 937 criminal counts of rape, kidnapping and aggravated murder as part of a plea bargain.
On Sept. 3, just one month into his sentence, Castro took his life by hanging himself in his jail cell.
‘Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland’ is out now.