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A harrowing story about a little girl’s traumatic sexual assault, and the years of recovery that followed.

Six-year-old Erica is bullied at school. Upset, she decides to walk home. She never arrives. The next morning, a search party finds her naked and unconscious in the dry sand under the bridge at Sandy Creek. Victim of a brutal perverted assault, and with catastrophic life-threatening injuries, she is rushed to hospital by helicopter and placed on life support.

Ruined For Life? follows Erica and her father, Colin, after her traumatic assault. While Erica is in hospital in a coma, the local community is angry and focusses on Colin. He is arrested for raping and strangling his daughter. He is beaten up in prison. When the police discover he is innocent, he is released. Weeks after the event, Erica emerges from her coma and fearfully reveals to her father who the true perpetrator was. Colin and the community are stunned. After an arrest, Erica and her father begin her difficult healing journey.


This is a challenging and controversial story of a young girl moving on from horror.


‘I can lie down and cry and hate what was done to me. Or I can get up and live my life …
Mind you, I won’t forget. It’ll never go away.’


“… a compelling read and I particularly like your use of the Judith Herman framework for healing and recovery from serious trauma.” [1]

Rosamund Thorpe

—Emeritus Professor of Social Work, James Cook University.


[1] Judith Herman is professor of clinical psychiatry at Harvard University and author of Trauma and Recovery : The Aftermath of Violence.

Ruined For Life? Moving on from a catastrophic assault

  • ISBN: 978-1-922956-16-3

    Size: 189mm x 246mm

    Format: Paperback

    Pages: 334pp

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