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the stories we carry

“Human Trafficking, Family Violence & Hope After Trauma” – Brisbane local tells all in new memoir ‘The Stories We Carry


In celebration of World Mental Health Day, Brisbane author and entrepreneur Jas Rawlinson
announced the release of her brand new book, ‘The Stories We Carry’ – a ‘powerful memoir’ of
her journey from a victim of family violence and sexual assault, to becoming a global speaker,
best-selling author, and anti-trafficking ambassador.

Rawlinson was just a child when her father began to struggle with undiagnosed mental illness,
eventually leading to severe mental, emotional, and verbal violence within her home.
As a teenager, Rawlinson and her mother had to ‘flee across paddocks’ to find safety from her
father’s rage, and also spent close to a year in a ‘safe house’ on the mid north coast of NSW.

Rawlinson says she felt as though she were constantly ‘treading water’, and wasn’t sure she
would survive those years with her father. In an extract from her book, she writes:
“I’d been treading water now for eight years – half my life – and my ability to continue holding
onto hope was diminishing by the day. It was naive to think that going into a safe house would
make the pain go away. That it would wipe the slate clean, erasing the trauma as easily as a
cloth swiping across a blackboard. As I was coming to learn, that’s not the way that life works.”

Shortly after finishing high school, Rawlinson’s father took his own life.
As a result, the teen found herself gravitating toward unhealthy and dysfunctional relationships.
During this time, Rawlinson was sexually assaulted by a man ‘had spent over 12 months
gaining her trust.’

On another occasion, she details an ‘orchestrated kidnapping attempt’ by two strangers when
she was 19. In ‘The Stories We Carry’ she writes about the experience, which happened outside
a popular dining venue in a busy main street in her home town of Coffs Harbour.
“There was a movement to my right; so swift that I never even saw it coming. One moment I
was talking with the stranger, and the next, two people had hold of me. Without missing a beat,
a mystery hand threaded its way through my right arm…”
Rawlinson was able to escape that situation, but says it was the start of what would one day
become a passion to learn and understand more about human trafficking and exploitation.

“It would not be the last time that I found myself in danger, over the years to come,” she writes.
“Little did I know that one day, I would be the one walking the streets at night, watching out for
other girls. One day it would be me who was walking through red light districts and staring into
the faces of young women who had been trapped in the living nightmare of human trafficking.”
Today, Rawlinson says she is proud to be an advocate for hope and healing after trauma, and
‘the power that lies within each and every one of us to re-write our adversities into stories of

She credits her passion for creativity – particularly writing – as the catalyst for saving her life and
eventually leading her to a ‘dream career’ as a speaker, author, and book coach for ‘female
changemakers who want to create social change through their personal stories.’
“Sometimes I can’t believe that I went from being this shy, suicidal kid who literally hid inside her
cupboard out of fear, to speaking at virtual summits alongside celebrities like Justin Baldoni
(from Jane The Virgin).”
“I’m just a girl from the bush…but I believe the world needs more everyday voices.”

Rawlinson moved to Brisbane in 2012 to pursue her writing career, and has since become a
global resilience speaker, best-selling author, and anti-human trafficking ambassador for several
large charities. She is also the founder of Brisbane’s first domestic violence memorial, and was
1 of 12 Australians to be selected to star on an award-winning travel TV show as part of her
As a domestic violence advocate, Rawlinson says she’s excited to finally be able to speak up
about many of her experiences as a young woman, particularly in light of Queensland’s
increased focus on criminialising coercive control.

‘The Stories We Carry’ has already received high praise from national charities and
organisations, including Women’s Legal Service QLD and Brisbane MP and Young Australian of
the Year, Jonty Bush.
Ms Bush heralded it as ‘Raw, unapologetic, and so incredibly hopeful,’ while WLSQ called it
‘moving and courageous.’
This is the fourth book from Rawlinson, who also authored a best-selling suicide prevention
series named ‘Reasons to Live: One More Day, Every Day’ (endorsed by influential names such
as Kevin Hines, and members of Lifeline and Headspace).
The Stories We Carry is due for release in October. To enquire about an interview, contact Jas
Rawlinson on [email protected] or go to