Michelle Knight has lived through so much. The years in captivity could not quiet her voice. On Wednesday, she shared her message of hope to those who have also survived abuse.
Several hundred people attended the Faces of Change Luncheon held by the
The Cleveland Rape Crisis Center supports survivors of sexual violence and serves more than 18,000 people each year. More than a 150,000 people in Cuyahoga County alone have experienced rape in their lifetime.
The keynote speaker for the event was Michelle Knight, one of the three women kidnapped and held captive by Ariel Castro.
Columnist Connie Shultz served as the moderator. One of her first questions for Knight was why she chose to rename herself "Lily."
"It's a peaceful name," explained Knight. "It's a way to say I own my life now, and no one has control over what I did."
There were emotional moments as Knight explained how she uses her social media accounts to counsel people in need of encouragement.
"There's a lot of people who actually text me on Facebook and say, 'I want to end my life now' and I'll sit there and tell them, 'I want you to call the rape crisis center. You need to talk to someone who will listen to you and support you,'" said Knight.
But there were lighter moments during the event, as Knight told how frequently people ask if she's dating. Knight smiled while telling Shultz she does have a boyfriend.
Although Knight says her memoir, "Finding Me: A Decade of Darkness, a Life Reclaimed," was difficult to write, she felt it was the reason God kept her alive.
"He wanted me to share my story with people so I can give them the same strength and courage that he gave me," said Knight. "Everything I went through was well worth what I went through."
Knight's book is a New York Time's Best Seller. She says she plans to write a second one.
In addition to writing, Knight also revealed she's working on music, and plans to release a song called "Survivor" in May.