CLEVELAND -- Through expert witnesses who took the stand during Ariel Castro's sentencing, we learned how the women found the strength to live through a decade of captivity and torture.
Psychiatrists say this won't be an easy road for Michelle Knight, Gina DeJesus and Amanda Berry.
Frank Ochberg, M.D. is a world-reknowned psychiatrist and medical doctor, part of a team who first classified and studied Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Stockholm Syndrome.
Dr. Ochberg has decades of experience with people who have been seriously traumatized, and he was called to this case as an expert witness by the prosecution.
His conclusion: Amanda, Gina and Michelle are survivors, but he does not know if they'll ever be free of the damage done by Ariel Castro.
"That is the kind of trauma that you don't escape for years. Sometimes a lifetime. Images, smells, touches that come back to you whenyou're asleep, when you're awake," Dr. Ochberg said.
He categorized Ariel Castro's abuse in three ways: terrify, demean, deprive the women of a normal life.
Dr. Ochberg calls Michelle Knight an extraordinary human being. A young mother herself, who delivered Amanda's baby and often stepped in front of Gina when Castro sought to abuse the younger girl.
While the girls formed a bond in captivity that no doubt helped them survive, the way they grew up for the last eleven years was anything but healthy.
"They were deprived of a mother. Of family, of home, of school," Dr. Ochberg said.
As for their future, he points to the support systems the women have in place today, and the inner strength that got them out of that house.
"I have a hope and expectation that there will come a time when each of them reaches out to help other women based on what they've done," said Dr. Ochberg.