Woman Shares Survival Story of Sexual Abuse at Spirit Lake - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Woman Shares Survival Story of Sexual Abuse at Spirit Lake

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A special two-part series begins Monday on Prairie Public portraying Robin PoorBear's life, looking at her daily struggles including healing from the wounds of sexual abuse as a child.

Her decision to share her darkest secrets in David Sutherland's "Kind Hearted Woman" was a struggle in itself.

"My first memory...was...in an emergency room. I don't remember the rape itself. I remember being in the emergency room and those nurses and stuff trying to hold me down so the doctor can examine me," says PoorBear, reflecting on a time when she was three years old.

After months of struggle and her alcoholism and depression growing worse, PoorBear says a dream made it clear what she needed to do. "When I woke up from that dream, I was trembling. I was sweating. I was cold, and I was just crying."

She knew if she did not speak out, she was not going to make it.

PoorBear put her life in the hands of filmmaker David Sutherland. She says he got the good, the bad and everything in between.

"I made that choice that if this film helps one woman, one man, one child, somebody out there, just one person then it was worth doing," she says.

The film follows PoorBear and her family over three years as she struggled to raise her two kids and heal from her own wounds of sexual abuse. But she says it is more than her story.

"When you're abused as a child, you're told what to think, what to do, how to act what to say."

PoorBear is trying to give a voice to the voiceless, on a large scale, knowing sexual abuse is not something that just happens on the Spirit Lake Reservation.
This is awareness that, while filming "Kind Hearted Woman," lead to finding out her daughter was being sexually abused by her husband.

PoorBear says, "If I didn't tell my kids about what their dad was doing to a foster child, what he did to a foster child... if I didn't tell them that, my daughter wouldn't have come up."

Each day remains a struggle. She still battles Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression. But her network of support holds her together, giving her courage to continue sharing her message. For she has a gratitude that can never be repaid.

"And all of those people that have helped me...sit here today...thank you."

You can see "Kind Hearted Woman" on Prairie Public Television Monday and Tuesday at 8:00 p.m.

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