Last night I watched a powerful documentary titled “Kindhearted Woman.” The story of Robin Charboneau, the 32 year old single mother on the Spirit Lake Reservation. Her story touched me in so many ways, and on several levels: as a woman, survivor, mother…I could go on, but an excerpt from her introduction gives you a sense of this remarkable woman.
Throughout my entire life I have struggled with the aftershock of trauma from my childhood experiences of sexual abuse. I had no idea who “Robin” was, certainly no idea who “Kind Hearted Woman” (my Native American name) was. I struggled with the question of, why? Why was I abused over and over and over again?
I struggled until, one night after I had prayed and asked, why? I had a dream (vision) of someone dying in the family and everyone in the house knew what had happened to the person, but would not tell. They would not say anything when the police came and questioned everyone. Then, right before they left, I finally found the strength to open my mouth and say “I KNOW WHAT HAPPENED.”
When I woke up, I knew then and there that I needed to make the commitment to do the film. I needed to bear witness to my own life so that others would learn from my experience and know that there is a way out of the darkness.
Several studies have found that Native American women suffer sexual abuse,
domestic violence and physical assault at rates far exceeding women of other ethnicities and locations. Kind Hearted Woman is the story of how the challenges of these abuses show up in life and how one woman dug in and dealt with these issues. (You can watch the two episodes on the PBS website).
When I first found out about the film, I wondered about the effects the documentary will have on Robins children and her life. Was it too much honesty, would it breed fear or shame, how would they deal with the abuse all out in the open?
After I viewed the second episode I no longer wondered about that issue. I only thought about how brave Robin is and how open she became with her son and daughter. She was honest and although talking to them about boundaries, abuse, and her divorce seemed overwhelming at times, there she was struggling to be real, to trust others, and at the same time nurturing to her children.
Honesty, therapy, and support helped Robin help her children, herself and others. I’m glad she found some resources to assist her and more happy that she found the strength to keep on keeping on during the struggles with her mental health, sobriety, and recovery. Her story brought healing. It ain’t easy.
During “Sexual Assault Awareness Month” you can do a lot for others. One small but huge action is a donation to RAINN non-profit (Rape, Abuse,Incest National Network).
Donations are tax deductible, and RAINN will send you a receipt and place your donation on the RAINN Makers page.
My pledge is to give away one of these cool bracelets (either Hope, Courage, or Strenght) to someone who donates to this cause before April 19, 2013. Random selection of whom will receive one of these bracelets will be made on April 20, 2013 and notification soon after.
Your donation will help others who are struggling with their abuse. Be the change you wish to see.