My Body Keeps Your Secrets
Allen & Unwin, $29.99 pb, 312 pp
The proliferation of trauma writing in the past few years is a double-edged sword. While giving public voice to subjects once relegated to the dark lessens stigma and creates agency, there is almost an expectation for women writers to reveal or perform their trauma, as well as a risk of exploitation and retraumatisation.
In 2018, Australian-born, London-based journalist and writer Lucia Osborne-Crowley penned an essay called ‘I Choose Elena’. It detailed the writer’s violent rape at the age of fifteen, which set off a chain reaction within her body and mind, culminating in ongoing chronic illness. In 2019, the essay was expanded into a short book of the same name, a meditation on the ways in which institutions systemically fail survivors, the physical manifestations of trauma, and the healing power of literature.