Pitcairn Island where Fletcher Christian's descendants live, was until recently a rarely visited English-run Polynesian outpost perched in the South Pacific; a tropical paradise. But in 1999, British police, alerted by unsettling reports of a rape, descended on the island. Their investigation developed into a major inquiry that revealed that Pitcairn was the site of widespread and horrific sexual abuse instigated by the island men on girls as young as twelve. Scarcely a man on the island was untainted by the allegations, and almost none of the women had escaped, though most residents feigned ignorance, even when their own daughters were abused. Abusers included the magistrates and police officers as well as brothers and uncles. Few of the victims were able to leave the island; those who did never went back. Kathy Marks was one of a handful of journalists permitted to live on the island while she reported on the ensuing trial and witnessed Pitcairn's domestic workings first hand. In this riveting account, she documents a society gone badly astray, leaving lives shattered, codes broken and a paradise truly lost.
Winner of Ned Kelly Awards 2010