My Body Keeps Your Secrets by Lucia Osborne-Crowley
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.