“I guess I put torching that rapist’s house in the same box as the time I got married in Vegas, in the sense that it was an incredible experience, and I don’t regret it at all, but that being said I’d be very hesitant to do it again.”
Raw chronicles the life of Damien Linnane, born in Sydney in 1986 and initially raised by parents who met inside the prison system.
When Damien was three, his mother, a former prison welfare officer, fled a domestic violence relationship with his career-criminal father. His father subsequently fabricated allegations that she had sexually assaulted Damien, as a manipulative ploy to obtain temporary custody of him. A court case dragged out for several years, during which Damien was subjected to physical, sexual and emotional abuse in his father’s household.
An ongoing theme is how the challenges of Damien’s childhood were compounded by his then undiagnosed autism, and how his trauma and mental health fuelled his search for identity, alongside a desire to achieve a sense of justice for his own abuse via the proxy of other perceived perpetrators.
Over the course of his life, Damien seeks brotherhood in violent right-wing gangs in Australia, and later with former left-wing terrorists in Ireland. Engaged four times and married once in Vegas, Raw also shows Damien repeating the mistakes of his parents by forming atypical and dysfunctional relationships.
The ongoing effects of his childhood trauma reach a climax when he tracks down and firebombs the home of a man, who his then partner had accused of raping her. He subsequently wrote a now published novel, Scarred, by hand in prison, before turning to art as a creative outlet.
Raw is written in self-reflection. It aims to show the importance of healing from childhood abuse through dialogue and discussion, and show how repressing thoughts of historical abuse only leads to further trauma for the survivors as well as those around them.
About The Author
Frustrated with the lack of mental health treatment, rehabilitation and creative outlets in prison, Damien Linnane turned to art and writing as a constructive outlet after being incarcerated for firebombing the home of a man accused of rape.
His first book, Scarred (Tenth Street Press, 2019), was written by hand during his sentence. He is also the illustrator of the book This Is Ear Hustle (Crown Publishing, 2021).
Damien is now the editor of Paper Chained, an art and writing magazine for people in prison, and is completing a PhD at the University of Newcastle on the intersection between prison literature and healthcare in custody.