Michelle Knight, who was kidnapped in August 2002 when she was 21, said she realises now that Ariel Castro had a disease, and therapy has taught her that what he did had not been his fault, The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.
Knight, Amanda Berry, and Gina DeJesus broke out of the house in May 2013 after suffering years of torture. Knight said it was not until about a year and a half after her rescue from Castro’s home that she reached a breakthrough.
“I was able to say his name, Ariel Castro,” the 33-year-old said. “I was able to forgive him.”
Castro pleaded guilty to a long list of charges and committed suicide in prison in September 2013.
“I felt very appalled by it, but I understood,” Knight said of Castro’s suicide. “I don’t condone what he did.”
She received applause from the crowd when she said she hopes for the best for Castro’s family.
“A lot of people who have contacted me through Facebook see me as an inspiration,” said Knight, who has written a book about her ordeal called Finding Me.