FIVE STARS: Carla Robinson's first novel, You Know You Want It.
FIVE STARS: Carla Robinson's first novel, You Know You Want It. contributed

Former M'boro teacher publishes novel on 'rape culture'

FORMER Maryborough teacher Carla Robinson has touched on a taboo subject, putting pen to paper and publishing her first novel.

The first-time author started writing more than five years ago.

"I'd always wanted to become an author, but I kept delaying the process of constructing my novel and putting it all together because life and work kept happening," Carla said.

Carla wrote You Know You Want It to bring more attention to the amount of women raped in Australia each year.

"The rape culture that surrounds these incidents - like #metoo and #timesup is something that's incredibly important to me," she said.

"As a rape survivor, there's also an extreme amount of personal motivation as well."

 

Carla Robinson.
Carla Robinson. Boni Holmes

In You Know You Want It, Carla said she tries to explore what it's like to feel like you can't be a rape victim because you're not the "perfect" victim - and why it's so problematic in regards to victims seeking help and guidance through such a traumatic period.

"I think by exploring the aftermath of sexual assault and looking at all the harmful effects of rape culture is currently a taboo subject in Australia," she said.

"While we have amazing activists like Clementine Ford trying to shed a light on rape culture and why "vaginas are not cars", we have too many people refusing to understand how detrimental even 'harmless' comments can be on survivors.

"By pretending there's no serious, long-term and often permanent scars on rape victims, or focusing on specific Hollywood rape tropes, for example a woman shaving her hair off after a sexual attack, we're cultivating not just how the rapist should appear, but we're also redefining what a 'victim' means."

Carla said the character Caitlin was completely fictional.

"What happened to her did not happen to me. However, I have drawn on my own personal experience from a similar encounter - one entirely different from the novel - and used certain statements people have said to me, or I've heard others say in general."

Carla who grew up in Mungar, attended Maryborough State High School and eventually worked in the Heritage City as a school teacher.

She said some of the story did have a little of her hometown in it.

 

"The park I refer to, while being set in Brisbane technically, is based on the park that's not far down the road from my parents' place."

The author said she been reading and writing for as long as she could remember and her favourite subjects at school were English and History.

"My parents often tell a story about how I threw a tantrum in preschool because my teacher, Mrs Mickey, hadn't taught me to read," Carla said.

Her love of reading and writing since that day in preschool never, with her already planning a second novel.

"Everything about writing is exciting. The most exciting part is after I've finished planning everything and I get to bring the story to life," she said.

"Fortunately, I have a bit more time to focus on my writing, and I'm already halfway through Do You See Me? as well as planning a currently untitled third novel."

Carla said Caitlin's story is a standalone story.

"My plan is to cover three incredibly prevalent issues within society," she said.

"The first being rape and rape culture and how society frequently treats and dismisses rape victims, the next following depression and anxiety in adults to represent the half of Australia that suffers from an invisible illness, before finally finishing with a psychological domestic violence story, as I don't believe enough people understand the dangers of emotional abuse well enough.

"I hope that, by highlighting what emotional and psychological abuse is, I can help more woman leave their partners before it's too late."

The author said she never expected anything to be actually published.

If people were interested in learning more about Carla Robinson's book they can visit Carla Louise on Facebook, @thingscarlaloves on Instagram or leave a review on goodreads.com.



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