Former Aussie surf star Carmen Greentree has written a book about being held captive in India for two months as a 22-year-old.
Greentree, now 37, was a star waverider from the south coast of NSW who spent her youth dreaming of being a world champion and travelling across the globe for competitions.
But after failing to qualify for the world tour she took a sabbatical to India where she planned to learn from the Dalai Lama.
“I got really devastated and lost,” Greentree told 9 News.
“For seven years of my life I was 100 per cent, morning to night, solely focused on being world champion.
“Nothing else mattered more than that. It was an escape from life.”
But her 2004 adventure in the subcontinent quickly became a nightmare when she accepted help from a local in finding her way to Kashmir, in the country’s north.
She was taken to a houseboat which became her prison cell for the next two months as her captor sexually abused her repeatedly.
“The worst feeling was when I gave in and let him take what he wanted,” she told the Daily Mail.
“That was the first time he raped me. I was too tired, I couldn’t fight anymore, and I knew he wasn’t going to stop.’
“I lost track of how many times he raped me. I’ve blocked it out so much I don’t remember most of (the assaults) anymore,’ she said.
“I was completely broken, I wasn’t even me anymore. I was existing as a shell.”
Greentree was made to call her parents in Australia to ask for money and was robbed of thousands of dollars.
But the phone calls proved a costly mistake for her captor, because they allowed police to track her location.
Two men were arrested but never faced charges after Greentree chose not to return to India to testify.
Greentree says she has “nothing but compassion and sadness” for the man who raped her and is sharing her story 16 years on as an inspiring message about the power of healing.
“I believe that so many of us have gone through our own tragic experiences and at times we don’t believe we can heal,” Carmen told 9 News.
“I’ve written my book to show how I’ve learnt and how I’ve healed. I want people to read it and hope they can create a good life regardless of what’s happened.”
A Dangerous Pursuit of Happiness by Carmen Greentree is available for $29.49 here