TODAY   |  November 05, 2013

Michelle Knight: Castro thought I was a prostitute

In an exclusive interview, Dr. Phil McGraw spoke with Michelle Knight, who survived 11 years of captivity in the Cleveland home of Ariel Castro. Knight says her kidnapper was “obsessed with prostitutes” and describes her tactics for survival.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> exclusive interview with cleveland kidnapper survivor michelle knight airs on the dr. phil show. and she describes it.

>> she was described as disabled. her speech slowed and halting.

>> people think of me as a hero and role model.

>> but dr. phil mcgraw describes a different michelle .

>> she is a woman of depth and courage and has been in captivity for 11 years. that creates developmental delays but in terms of her raw intelligence, she is very bright, very focused and very.

>> that's the opposite we had heard about her. she did have an intellectual disability.

>> you'll go, wow, did we miss that one.

>> reporter: knight was captured in 2002 .

>> did you fight him at the time?

>> at the time, no. because i was shocked.

>> you panicked? just froze?

>> yeah. and the only thing i could do was cry begging him to let me go back.

>> what did you say to him?

>> i said, please don't do this to me. and he said he can't take me back. and then he threw money at me.

>> what was the significance of him throwing money at you?

>> he was obsessed with prostitutes and he thought i was a 13-year-old prostitute. when he found out my real age he got mad.

>> reporter: she suffered unspeakable abuse but found ways to survive.

>> instinctively, she used some of the tools and tactics that sophisticated interrogators use. she talked about her son. she kept bringing things up saying you have a daughter. i know your daughter. i have a child. don't do this to me. you don't have to do this.

>> i want my son to know me as a victor not a victim. and i wanted him to know that i survived loving him. his love got me through.

>> reporter: a mother's love that got her through the darkest days. for today, kristen dahlgren, nbc news, los angeles .

>> again you can see the first part of that interview on dr. phil's show today. check your local listings. and tomorrow on today michelle describes what's next for her.