She's beating back traumatic memories with devotion to a hard-core sport
Watch 'The Blue Rose,' a CBC film about an Indigenous woman who's overcoming childhood abuse through boxing
Boxing can be a brutal sport, but Amanda Murray says it's helping her escape the ghosts of her past.
The 33-year-old describes herself as being "born with a broken heart" because she was physically and sexually abused as a child.
A new CBC Creator Network short film called The Blue Rose tells Murray's story of overcoming childhood trauma using a gruelling training program.
Her father walked out when Murray was a young child and her mother, who is Ojibway, suffered mental health issues.
"She's a wonderful women, very smart and a good mother, but she was schizophrenic and suffered from alcohol addiction and using drugs," Murray said.
"Sometimes, she was a very dangerous woman."
Murray suffered violent beatings and sexual abuse by the men in her mother's life. She bounced between more than a dozen foster homes and ended up living on the streets in her late teens.
Being a role model
She eventually moved to British Columbia, where she had a pivotal encounter with her then boyfriend's 12-year-old daughter who was sexually assaulted — and wanted to commit suicide.
"It hit me really hard because I grew up experiencing sexual assault and violence," Murray said.
"As a parent figure, I was angry and I was hurt and I thought 'What could I have done to prevent this?' "
That's when she took up martial arts in the hopes of being a better role model.
"I got her involved in boxing and ended up joining also," Murray said.
"At the end of the class, I ended up crying because it was such an emotional release for me."
Murray signed up for more classes, later taking up mixed martial arts training and a healthier lifestyle.
"I was trying to empower myself as much as I can by acquiring skills and becoming this bad ass woman," Murray said.
"I want her to see that and I want her to know that she can do anything. She's strong."
The film's title, The Blue Rose, represents a gentler side of Murray's path forward.
"I remember the first time that I saw a The Blue Rose was maybe six years ago," she said. "Blue is the colour of healing."
With files from The Early Edition