Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are warned that the following story contains descriptions of deceased persons.
This post deals with rape and suicide and may be triggering for some readers.
On Tuesday, an 11-year-old girl was airlifted from rural Western Australia to Perth Children's Hospital with self-inflicted injuries.
She couldn't be saved, and died surrounded by 100 crying loved ones, some of whom slept overnight nearby in their cars to be close to her as she was taken off life support.
She'd been living in fear of her alleged rapist, a 66-year-old man from her regional community, who was released on bail in mid-September after allegedly abusing her on multiple occasions between 2014 and 2020.
He'd been charged with four counts of sexually penetrating a child under the age of 13 and six of indecently dealing with a child under 13. But he was given bail in his first court appearance during a mention that lasted no more than three minutes - free to roam the streets while he awaited trial.
The young Noongar nation girl is being described in media reports today as "clever, bubbly, and happy". She loved TikTok, and is being remembered as a "little ray of sunshine."
But she was also desperate to escape the town where she lived.
"My daughter thought that he was going to hurt her and she was frightened. She didn’t want to live in that town. She didn’t want to be there," her mother told WA Today.
The young girl's family is demanding an urgent change to WA's bail laws, with the state's Assistant Commissioner of Regional WA, Jo McCabe, admitting on Wednesday police should not have released the accused man on bail.
National Suicide Prevention and Trauma Recovery Project (NSPTRP) director Megan Krakouer, who has been with the girl's family in hospital, says they are shattered.