Cleveland Abduction celebrates three real life heroines

A Screen shot of the film Cleveland Abduction.
A Screen shot of the film Cleveland Abduction.

“Cleveland Abduction”, the Lifetime movie that aired on May 2, retold the heartbreakingly gruesome story of Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus, three women who were kidnapped and held captive by Ariel Castro for more than a decade.

Adapted from Michelle Knight’s memoir, Finding Me: A Decade of Darkness, a Life Reclaimed, the film features Michelle Knight, (Taryn Manning) a single 21 year old mother, who only wishes to give her best for her son. On the day of her kidnapping, Michelle Knight accepted a ride from Ariel Castro (knowing him as father of her friend Emily Castro) to a child custody court appointment, Ariel suggested on making a quick stop at his home. Knight protested at first, but agreed in hoped he would eventually help her make her important court date on time.

Michelle Knight never knew that those five minutes would become eleven years.

Knight’s capturing and first assault had the audience in dead silence as they watched. Ariel gagged her and hogtied her, before suspending her off the floor. From that moment forward, Knight suffered from constant physical, sexual, emotional, and psychological attacks from her captor. He would rape her whenever he pleased, with her chained up like an animal, and constantly insult her to make her feel worthless. In one occasion Knight informed Castro of her pregnancy, and he reacted by violently hitting her uterus. She awoke to a puddle of blood. This was one of the multiple abortions she was forced to have. The only ways Knight survived her torment was with her commitment as a mother and her strong spiritual beliefs. She constantly prayed with her child in mind.

Nine months after her abduction, Castro brought home a second girl, Amanda Berry. While Knight stayed defiant and hoped to find a way out, Berry did not budge.  It was not until the perpetrator captured his third victim, Gina DeJesus, that Knight found determination that matched her own. Together, they helped each other find the will to survive.

The women ultimately were able to escape because of Castro’s carelessness; he forgot to lock the house’s front door. Berry was able to get the attention of the neighbors, who would help secure the arrest of Castro. Finally free, Knight struggled to overcome her trauma. Ultimately, she decided that the only way that she could move on was if she confronted Castro during his sentencing.

Taryn Manning  gave a successful performance in interpreting Michelle Knight and her courage she kept in the 11 years of nightmare she faced. There’s a scene where Manning read Knight’s actual testimony that she delivered in 2013 when she told Castro, “From this moment on, I won’t let you define me or affect who I am.” That moment is where she regained her life, and Manning portrayed the gravity of the moment perfectly.

The movie dealt with the truth what a man is capable of doing and the situations of sexual assault and an abusive relationship that three women lived in for years. They are not victims, but survivors. Cleveland Abduction celebrates this.