Mother's Day 2013: Cleveland Kidnapping Highlights Mothers' Courage

Nancy Ruiz kept a vigil every year after the disappearance of her daughter Gina DeJesus. Even though far too many mothers remain in their shoes, this Mother's Day is an especially surreal one for the families of Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight, and Gina DeJesus.

Nancy Ruiz told ABC's 20/20 that she "does not hate [kidnapper Ariel Castro]. I forgave him years ago ... Because you know what? When you start to hate a person, that eats you up." This is despite the fact that as it turns out Ruiz and Castro had known each other for years. He often showed up to offer condolence and support at the vigils.

Louwana Miller kept pushing the police and reporters to keep her daughter Amanda's search going and died without knowing she was right about Amanda being alive. Amanda was responsible for their freedom when she managed to escape the home she and the others were being held captive in and called 911 with the assistance of Charles Ramsey.

Berry had a 6-year-old child with her when she escaped, who is suspected to be fathered by Castro. It is unimaginable to understand the complexity of raising a child who is the product of a rape, but Berry's captivity and torture make her 

Their lion-hearted bravery is the epitome of love and humanity. 

Sadly, Barbara Knight is having a far more complicated reunion with her daughter Michelle. Michelle was abducted before Knight and Berry and has suffered the most significant torture, even needing facial reconstructive surgery. Michelle has "shunned" her family for failing to continue looking for her and has not allowed anyone but her brother to visit her.


Michelle Knight has shunned her family

Knight was held down and raped by three classmates when she was still in high school, which led to her first child. She was 20 when her toddler son was taken away by child welfare authorities. She disappeared shortly after that and was mistakenly considered a runaway by police and subject to another world of horror with Castro.

Knight was starved, tortured, and punched repeatedly to miscarry her five pregnancies according to a police report. Other horrifying details are emerging from Knight's experience and it is unmistakable that she suffered immensely.

Knight is now 32, and has a very long recovery ahead of her after this unthinkably horrible period in her life. It must be unimaginably difficult for Knight's mother to not be able to see her child after nearly 11 tortuous years. One can only hope that Michelle, her now teenage son, and her mother are reunited soon.

Her brother Freddie told the press, "she is excited to start a new life."

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Shwetika Baijal

Shwetika is PolicyMic's first columnist and writes for the Millenials and the Media column. She focuses on how the media frames policy and cultural issues, how the media's framing effects public opinion, and in turn how public opinion affects the policies and issues under discussion.

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