Gina DeJesus has never grown up mentally as she still sees the world as a 14-year-old girl
Gina DeJesus, the youngest of the three girls held captive in Cleveland by Ariel Castro, wants to go to the Prom and Valentine’s Dance that she missed out on when she was snatched off the street to be raped and chained up for more than a decade.
A close family friend said Gina DeJesus still views the world through the eyes of a 14-year-old and is determined to recreate some of the biggest events that other, normal teenagers enjoyed.
Meanwhile new details have emerged about her captivity and how alleged kidnapper Ariel Castro covered her head every time he allegedly raped her.
This was because Gina DeJesus was so young and was the best friend of Ariel Castro’s daughter when he allegedly snatched her off the street, according to the close family friend.
Ariel Castro knew Gina DeJesus’ family well and he felt “bothered” by her face but did not do the same to his other alleged victims, Michelle Knight and Amanda Berry.
The sickening revelation gives a new insight into the challenges that Gina DeJesus and the other girls face on their long road to recovery.
Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight – who was taken in by Gina’s family – are healing by having gone on a week long holiday to Puerto Rico, where the DeJesus’ are from.
Meanwhile, Amanda Berry has been relying on the support of friends but has endured fresh heartache upon learning her father John, who lives in Tennessee, is not well.
Gina DeJesus was only 14 when she vanished, Amanda Berry was 16 and Michelle Knight was 21.
They are now 23, 27 and 32 respectively.
Police have said Ariel Castro starved them and got Michelle Knight pregnant at least five times before punching her stomach until she miscarried.
He also fathered a child with Amanda Berry, a girl who is now six, and brainwashed them by pretending to leave the house and battering them if they tried to escape.
A family friend said: “Gina still has a lot of growing up to do.
“She has never grown up mentally, she’s still a 14-year-old little girl.
“She was pulled away at that time. She never got a chance to go to the dances or the games or prom or the things that kids do. All the kids want the same thing, they missed out on anything.
“They never got a chance. Sweetest day, Valentine’s Day parties at school, homecomings.
“Amanda did all hers. Michelle was special needs so she didn’t get involved too much. Gina was only 14, she turned 14 the week before she went missing. She’s missed out.
“She has a look of… of a blank, a blankness to her eyes. She’s not really there, emotionally she’s not there.”
Another problem that Gina DeJesus faces is that her neck is “fused” because she was held in chains at an awkward angle for months on end as her bones developed.
This has given her restricted movement and doctors are now thought to be trying to rectify it, though the process will be hard to reverse.
One of the biggest challenges facing all three victims and their families as they readjust – especially Gina – is that they are no longer girls; they are grown women.
Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight spend their days with family and going to the park but they have to be supervised at all times, reflecting the strange limbo they inhabit between independence and a childlike reliance on their family, according to the family friend.
An added pain is that Ariel Castro knew the DeJesus family well before he allegedly kidnapped Gina and even turned up on rallies to help find her, handing out fliers and comforting her father.
Ariel Castro’s daughter Arlene, 22, was one of her best friends and one of the last people to see her alive when she vanished whilst walking home from school in 2004.
According to Ariel Castro’s son Anthony, he chose Gina DeJesus as a victim because of her friendship with Arlene.
All this would apparently weigh on Ariel Castro’s mind when he was allegedly raping Gina DeJesus.
The family friend said: “Gina told her family that when Castro would have s** with her he would cover up her face.
“Because they were friends, with the family. He was friends with her family when she went missing. It bothered him, and she was so young.
“He’s a liar. You’re friends with the family and you can’t she was 14 when she went to school with your daughter? Come on. Best friends with your daughter and you don’t know.
“It was just her he covered up her face. He knew what he was doing.”
The psychological scars will no doubt run deep for all three girls.
The family friend said: “I know that somewhere deep in Gina’s heart in all these year they trusted this man to take care of them.
“They became accustomed to having him around and they miss him. I’m hoping it’s not that way but that’s not normally the case when they’ve been gone this long.
“With Michelle and Amanda I can’t say as much as there. With Gina, that’s all she knows. Think about it, that’s all she knows. In a way I hope she never gets into a relationship at all.
“I hope that it didn’t affect her so she gets in an abusive relationship.
“Mentally Georgina is fine but she will never get over this. It’s always going to be in the back of her mind.”
Since the girls emerged from Ariel Castro’s house on May 6, the effect on their families has been extraordinary.
Gin DeJesus’ mother Nancy Ruiz looks younger than before when she was weighed down with worry for her daughter. She is also eating again, something she stopped doing regularly before.
Her father Felix DeJesus is returning to his old self too, much to the delight of his family.
The process with Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight however will take a lot longer.
The family friend said: “The family doesn’t ask them absolutely any questions. When the girls want to talk they talk. They don’t bother the girls with what happened.
“They don’t ask the girls nothing. The girls don’t talk about what happened and they don’t question the girls about what happened.
“It will come out when they are ready about what happened in that house. Even in the police department…it was ten years for four hours of an interview.
“You can’t bring up ten years of what happened to you. You can almost remember every day of the beatings, every day of whatever.”
On Tuesday the three kidnap victims released a video to thank everyone who supported them. It marked the first on-camera appearance since they were rescued from the clutches of Ariel Castro.
Gina DeJesus speaks only one line in the video. When asked by a man behind the camera what she would like to say to the people who contributed to the Cleveland Courage fund, she responds: “I would say thank you for the support.”
Her mother and father then speak on her behalf through the rest.
Ariel Castro, 52, a former school bus driver, has pleaded not guilty to a 329-count indictment ahead of his trial which is due to start at the beginning of next month.
He is also charged with aggravated murder of a fetus for his treatment of Michelle Knight, for which he could face the death penalty.
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