Aged 15 and on track to be an Olympic gymnast, Lucia Osborne-Crowley was violently raped on a night out. The injuries she sustained that evening ended her gymnastics career, and eventually manifested in life-long chronic illnesses, which medical professionals now believe can be caused by untreated trauma.
In a brilliantly researched and deeply affecting essay, Osborne-Crowley invites the reader to her on decade-long journey to recovery: from the immediate aftermath of the assault, through years of misdiagnosis, to the solace and strength she found in writers like Elena Ferrante.
The author’s investigations reveal profound societal failures – of law, justice, education and the healthcare system. An essential contribution to the field of literature on assault and trauma, I Choose Elena argues that it is only through empathy than we can begin to address the self-perpetuating cycle of sexual violence.
‘Thank-you Lucia Osborne-Crowley for writing I Choose Elena, for your bold and precise testimony on the devastation of sexual violence, on the body’s extraordinary and destructive compulsion to contain its own trauma. Every one of the insights you share is extremely hard-won, and I am so grateful to you for putting them into this incredible book.’
—Rosie Price, author of What Red Was
‘Startlingly intelligent, disturbing, profound and moving, I Choose Elena shows us that the #MeToo movement has grown roots, and that for survivors of rape and sexual assault, the revolution is just beginning. Osborne-Crowley gives us darkness wrought in light and the hope she offers is as palpable as it is hard-won.’
—April Ayers Lawson, author of Virgin and Other Stories
‘This book burrowed deep under my skin. A searing, potent testament to the vital necessity of articulation in the struggle for women to own their bodies and find a language to talk about violence and trauma.’
—Jessica Andrews, author of Saltwater
‘A fierce, eloquent meditation on trauma, #MeToo, the body, pain and memory.’
—Sinéad Gleeson, author of Constellations
‘If you buy one book today let it be this one . . . it moved me to tears and to anger.’
‘Beautiful and sad and moving and too real in the finest way.’
—Una Mullally, columnist, The Irish Times