My Body Keeps Your Secrets

Lucia Osborne-Crowley

My Body Keeps Your Secrets
Allen & Unwin
31 August 2021

My Body Keeps Your Secrets

Lucia Osborne-Crowley

It occurred to me then that the thing that made me the sickest, the thing that made me suffer most, was the fact that I felt so compelled to hide what had been done to me. Because I believed it was my fault.

From Lucia Osborne-Crowley comes a necessary, elegant and empathetic work exploring the intricacies of abuse, trauma and shame.

Through the voices of women, trans and non-binary people around the world, and her own deeply moving testimony, Lucia speaks of vulnerability and acceptance and the reclaiming of ourselves in a world that repeatedly asks us to carry the weight of the shame of the atrocities committed against us.

Widely researched and boldly argued, My Body Keeps Your Secrets reveals the secrets a body keeps-the trauma that can rewrite our biology, our relationship with sex, and how we connect with others-in a daring and immersive literary form, establishing Lucia’s credentials as a key intersectional feminist thinker of a new generation.


If you have already read Lucia Osborne-Crowley’s I Choose Elena then you will understand her latest brilliant work, My Body Keeps Your Secrets, comes with a warning from me. This book is about sexual assault. But if you are not one of the nearly three million people in Australia who have been sexually assaulted, do not think for a moment that this book is not about you or for you. It is. This book needs to be read and shared.

Osborne-Crowley was raped when she was 15 years old. Sometime after that, her body’s athleticism started to suffer, and the next ten years were filled with pain. It wasn’t until she realised the link between her rape and her physical being that she began to examine the intricacies of abuse, trauma and shame. She realised that harrowing memories can cause physical harm. These memories cannot be rearranged into a simple logical narrative. So Osborne-Crowley did what so many of us do: she began assembling accounts, both in fiction and life, to make sense of her own being. Readers of Lisa Taddeo’s Three Women will appreciate this writing; it exists within the same school of sharing. And like Taddeo, although the events described are harrowing, Osborne-Crowley writes with compassion and grace.

My Body Keeps Your Secrets is about assault, but it is also about power and where it lies. The reader is asked to consider how we define ourselves. Do you choose a painful memory, or do you choose another truth? Do you take guidance from Jules, one of the book’s interviewees, who learnt to knit to help them process? Do you look to your literary heroines? Or do you simply knit one, purl one, and know, deeply, that your story is for you alone.

Only you get to choose how you define your secrets. And of course, therein lies the great sovereignty of this book.

Chris Gordon is the programming and events manager at Readings

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