Book choice by December MISSives guest editor, Amani Haydar
My Body Keeps Your Secrets by Lucia Osborne-Crowley explores the long-term health consequences of women’s experiences of sexual violence.
From the blurb:
‘Lucia Osborne-Crowley didn’t tell a soul when she was raped aged fifteen. Then, eighteen months after she was attacked her body began to turn on her – and what followed were sudden bouts of searing, unbearable pain that saw her in and out of hospital for the next ten years.’
Combining her lived experience with in-depth research and the stories of others, Lucia explores the ways in which trauma affects the body and rewires the brain. She looks at the role of shame in survivors’ reluctance to disclose the violence that has been inflicted upon them and critiques the structural and cultural issues that make it difficult for women to disclose their victimisation or seek support or justice.
The stories woven into this work, and Lucia’s insights, explain how trauma affects the way we feel about our body, our interpersonal and sexual relationships and our ability to move with ease and safety through social settings.
Lucia’s writing is both informative and empowering. Despite the difficult subject matter, she shares insights that help us understand our own bodies and the way they might be carrying trauma. Importantly, Lucia writes about her interview subjects in a trauma-informed manner, without the condescension or pity that victim-survivors of violence often have projected on to us.