Subject of Netflix doc tells Southern Utah audience not to ignore gut feelings when it comes to child sex abuse

IVINS — When people piled into the theater at the Center for the Arts at Kayenta in Ivins to watch a prevailing documentary, Jan Broberg told the audience they were welcome to get upset and ask hard questions — and they did.

L-R: Mary Ann Broberg and her daughter Jan Broberg discuss their family story at the screening of the Netflix documentary “Abducted in Plain Sight” at the Center for the Arts at Kayenta in Ivins, Utah, Feb,. 22, 2019 | Photo by Sheldon Demke, St. George News

Broberg sat alongside her mother as their story played out on a large screen Friday night. More than 100 people watched Broberg, her two sisters and her parents share their story in the Netflix documentary “Abducted in Plain Sight.” At the ages of 12 and 14, Broberg was abducted by a trusted family friend, during which time she was sexually abused and brainwashed.

Broberg, who is also an actress and serves as the executive director for the Kayenta Center, has received attention from all over the world as a result of the film. Viewers have expressed admiration for Broberg for her bravery in sharing her story, while others have asked how her parents could have been so clueless.

“In 2018 are we smarter than we were in the ’70s?” Broberg asked the audience after the screening. “Are we? If you’re not shaking your head, then you are missing the point of the message.”

Only 12 percent of child sex abuse is reported to authorities, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

In order to better understand the film and subjects surrounding sex abuse, a Q&A followed Friday’s screening with Broberg alongside Adele Pincock, director of community engagement for the Dove Center; Lindsey Boyer, executive director of the Dove Center; and Kristy Pike, director of the Washington County Children’s Justice Center.

L-R: Adele Pincock, Lindsey Boyer, Kristy Pike and Jan Broberg during a Q&A at a screening of the Netflix documentary “Abducted in Plain Sight” at the Center for Arts at Kayenta in Ivins, Utah, Feb. 22, 2019 | Photo by Sheldon Demke, St. George News

During the Q&A conducted by Docutah marketing director Della Lowe, people asked about how Broberg healed from the abuse and what resources are available in the community.

One man asked what were the therapeutic stages for Broberg to finally heal. Besides having support from her family and receiving professional therapy, she said theater saved her life.

“During those years from age 12 to 16 when I could not tell for fear of being vaporized or having somebody else in my family harmed, I was able to get on stage, scream, cry, be another person,” she said, “and that truly saved my life.”

Other people commented on how perpetrators “hide in plain sight,” with one man referencing the arrest of a former St. George Vice Squad supervisor and bishop for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints this week.

Pike said 87 percent of the children seen by the Washington County Children’s Justice Center in 2018 knew their perpetrators.

“It was not strangers,” Pike said. “It was mom’s boyfriend; it was grandpa; it was a teacher.”

L-R: Susan and Mary Ann Broberg at the screening of the Netflix documentary “Abducted in Plain Sight” at the Center for the Arts at Kayenta in Ivins, Utah, Feb. 22, 2019 | Photo by Sheldon Demke, St. George News

Besides answering questions, the speakers took the time to discuss issues surrounding sexual assault, such as re-victimization. Boyer said the U.S. has a culture of people blaming the victim first before believing them. People need to start holding perpetrators accountable, she told the audience.

“It doesn’t matter who was on the victimized end or what they did or what they were wearing or whatever; it’s the perpetrator.”

Pike, Boyer and Pincock also shared more information about their organizations and what to do if someone is suspected of experiencing sexual abuse. Members of Bikers Against Child Abuse were also in attendance to share information about the services they provide.

“Our hope is that something that you saw might raise your antenna, might point it toward something that seems off and that you will listen and follow up,” Broberg said.

Resources in Southern Utah

The proceeds from Friday night’s screening, as well as any donations made, went to the Dove Center and the Washington County Children’s Justice Center. Each person in attendance was also given a copy of “Stolen Innocence,” a novel by Broberg’s mother, Mary Ann Broberg.

Email: mheckenliable@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews | @markeekaenews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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