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I Choose Elena

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Aged fifteen 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 ess Aged fifteen 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.


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Aged fifteen 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 ess Aged fifteen 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.

30 review for I Choose Elena

  1. 4 out of 5

    Charlott

    4,5 "By far the most dangerous element of my assault was the fact that I lived in a world where it was unspeakable. I knew, as soon, as it happened, without ever being told, that I must say nothing. Indignity is painful but silence is a prison." At fifteen Lucia Osborne-Crowley is a successful gymnast who feels deeply connected to her body, in control of every micro movement, searing through the air. Then one night, she is raped. She doesn't tell anyone and instead tries by 4,5 "By far the most dangerous element of my assault was the fact that I lived in a world where it was unspeakable. I knew, as soon, as it happened, without ever being told, that I must say nothing. Indignity is painful but silence is a prison." At fifteen Lucia Osborne-Crowley is a successful gymnast who feels deeply connected to her body, in control of every micro movement, searing through the air. Then one night, she is raped. She doesn't tell anyone and instead tries by her own to continue with her life. But her body begins to deteriorate. It takes her ten years and diagnoses of endometriosis and Crohn's disease until she is able to start to work through the violence she has experienced.  "I Choose Elena" is the second book I read in The Mood Indigo Essay Series (the other being These Bones Will Rise Again) and it is the second quiet triumph. Osborne-Crowley chronicles her painful journey and writes about the ways the body holds trauma. It's an essay about the realities of and discourses around sexualized violence, recent trauma studies, the hassle of getting chronical illnesses diagnosed (and the ways especially women in pain are treated by medical professionals), the long-time percussions of untreated trauma, and literature (the title alluding to Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan Novels).  This book offers so much on only 150 small pages. In the last pages of the book, Osborne-Crowley emphasises how her access to help (medical etc) is not the norm and connect with privileges. I only wished for a few more sentences here and there to highlight how marginalized women are effected differently (for example when she looks into studies on how women's pain is undertreated). "Once trauma finds you it does not let you go. And so we re-traumatize ourselves, believing we are rotten because we are the type of people to whom bad things happen, when in fact it is the living, breathing memory of the first bad thing that keeps sending us back, again and again and again, into the volcano."

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lorraine Walsh

    Exquisite. A powerful, moving insight into an incredible personal journey that also highlights the experiences of many other women. It is thoroughly researched, bringing together important learnings about trauma (particularly in relation to sexual assault) across medical, legal and social fields in an accessible way. It is a ground breaking approach to discussing issues that are so often kept in silence. It is brilliantly written, I devoured it in one sitting. The author has a captivating, emoti Exquisite. A powerful, moving insight into an incredible personal journey that also highlights the experiences of many other women. It is thoroughly researched, bringing together important learnings about trauma (particularly in relation to sexual assault) across medical, legal and social fields in an accessible way. It is a ground breaking approach to discussing issues that are so often kept in silence. It is brilliantly written, I devoured it in one sitting. The author has a captivating, emotive, seamless, and authentic way with words. This book will change the conversation.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Chloe Tomlinson

    I don't think I've ever actually cried reading a book but I had tears in my eyes as I finished I Choose Elena. Lucia's writing about trauma and shame and the overwhelming desire to disappear is so honest and powerful and resonant. It truly is a perfect thing, and the best thing I could have read before starting therapy myself.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Allison

  5. 5 out of 5

    Imogen West-knights

  6. 5 out of 5

    Giselle A Nguyen

  7. 5 out of 5

    Meagan

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kate

  9. 4 out of 5

    Niamh

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kara Hill

  11. 4 out of 5

    Millie Baylis

  12. 5 out of 5

    Miles Jackson

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kvitka Becker

  14. 4 out of 5

    Keira Brown

  15. 5 out of 5

    Isobel

  16. 5 out of 5

    Fiona

  17. 5 out of 5

    Callas Nijskens

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sophie Collier

  19. 4 out of 5

    Nina Powles

  20. 4 out of 5

    Doris Raines

  21. 5 out of 5

    Daisy Johnson

  22. 4 out of 5

    Daisy Gibbs

  23. 5 out of 5

    flowerville

  24. 5 out of 5

    Cinzia Myatt

  25. 5 out of 5

    Alissa Tan

  26. 5 out of 5

    Emily

  27. 4 out of 5

    Emily Benita

  28. 4 out of 5

    Addie Walsh

  29. 5 out of 5

    Aden Knaap

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tess Emily

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