Leon Bibb: Video chronicles abduction to escape for three Cleveland women

CLEVELAND - There is an old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Sometimes a moving picture is worth far more than that.

In the still-dark hours of the early morning on Tuesday, Cleveland television stations and the city's primary newspaper were given video of three women who had been held captive for more than a decade in a house on the city's west side. 

With the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum splashed in sunshine over their shoulders, Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight spoke.

Throughout the day, news operations in Cleveland and in many other places throughout the world played the video of the women who thanked their supporters and assured them they were working toward recovery from their years of captivity.

In the minds of those who viewed their images and listened to their words in video, which was less than four minutes in length, the pictures are another step in the chronicle of their last 10 years. 

Before this, the images of the three were only of their homecomings to family or friends a few days after they escaped the horrors of a house on Seymour Avenue owned by Aerial Castro. Castro faces more than 300 charges with more charges certain to come.

For about a decade, the only pictures the public had of Berry, DeJesus, and Knight were photographs that had been shown on television, in newspaper reports, on city utility poles and in police stations. 

Just as when a major event occurs in any family and the cameras click photographs or roll video, these new images of the three women are now added to the album.  As with all events of celebration, these pictures, with the addition of their voices speaking in strong and steady sentences, are now pasted to the mental pages the public will carry.

The smiles of Amanda, Gina and Michelle are evident. However, we must realize they have pictures in their memories we cannot see. They probably see them with their eyes closed as they reflect on the horrors of the past 10 years while the world frantically looked for any clues as to their whereabouts. The pictures of the crimes that were forced on them for thousands of days, will not easily be forgotten. If, indeed, they ever forget.

It was not surprising they asked for continued privacy. News people always look for pictures and interviews. This case was no exception, but reporters and photographers will have to wait.

Perhaps there will be more pictures and sound of their voices, but only when the women are ready. 

There is an old phrase that has been the bedrock of thousands of generations: "Home is where the heart is." Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight have again found home. It is the place they long to be. We must allow them their privacy, and allow them in their own way to savor the concept of home and be in the place where they have brought their hearts.


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