Cleveland Kidnap Women Move from Victims to Survivors


The public relations firm, Hennes Paynter Communications, released the video, but would not comment further on its content. "The video speaks for itself," spokesman Bruce Hennes he told

"The FBI, who has experience in matters like this, strongly urged the three women to retain the services of one law firm to act as point for all legal matters, money, requests," Hennes said in an email. "They also suggested the law firm retain the services of other experts, including a single public relations firm to handle media requests."

According to Hennes, his firm was retained by lawyer James Wooley, a former federal prosecutor recommended by the FBI in the case.

"Jim then asked my firm to do the PR work," he said. "At some point, Michelle Knight retained a different attorney, but all the lawyers are working closely together. It is important to note that all the lawyers, my PR firm, the videographer and everyone else connected with this situation are all working pro bono."

Kathy Joseph, an attorney for Knight, said in a statement about the video that the three young women wanted to "say thank you to people from Cleveland and across the world."

"People are recognizing them now as they go about in public, so they decided to put voices and faces to their heartfelt messages," Joseph said. "It was their decision to relay their thanks in this way to all of the many people who have offered support to them, for which they are extremely grateful."

RAINN's Marsh said she did not think that hiring a public relations firm was "unusual" in a case like this.

"[They women] are incredibly appreciative of the love and support they received and wanted to communicate that," she said. "I have to think that tons of firms reached out to them to help them through."

Marsh said that the women were likely getting good counseling for their psychological wounds.

One sexual abuse survivor told that recovery is never quick and is filled with setbacks, but victims should not feel "any less brave or courageous."

"For me it was a continuing process," said Lauren Book, CEO and founder of the Miami-based abuse prevention and advocacy program Lauren's Kids, who was raped by her nanny over a period of six years.

"I am 11 years out and every day triggers something different," said Book. "It's a destination not a process. But keep in mind, for all survivors, we are empowered."

For help, victims of sexual abuse can go to the RAINN online hotline.

ABC's Dean Schabner contributed to this report.

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