A significant essay, published by The Indigo Press, is Lucia Osborne-Crowley’s I Choose Elena, which was mostly about the insidious effect that trauma can have on the physical make-up of the body. Aged 15 and on track to be an Olympic gymnast, she 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 thoroughly researched and deeply affecting essay, Osborne-Crowley invites the reader on her decade-long journey to recovery in chronological narrative style from the immediate aftermath of the assault, through the years of misdiagnosis, to the strength she discovered in the words of writers like Elena Ferrante. Hence, I Choose Elena.
The author’s investigatory approach reveals profound societal failures – of law, justice, education and the healthcare system. The way in which women are considered when they take their physical problems to the GP appears to be a major concern, as they are not taken as seriously as men, which in Lucia’s case meant that she ended up with endometritis and Crohn’s disease.
In the age of #MeToo and the Harvey Weinstein allegations this essay is an essential contribution to the field of literature on assault and trauma. I Choose Elena argues that it is only through empathy that we can begin to address the self-perpetuating cycle of sexual violence. We must consider it in all veins of society, education, healthcare and the justice system.
She ran away from this traumatic incident for more than ten years, with no consideration for reporting it as a crime, for the fear of how this may open the door for people to begin judging her, and did not deal with the issue head on, allowing her health and body to deteriorate. Society should be more geared up to ensure that these crimes and implications are less possible, and to handle them with more caution and sensitivity. I Choose Elena shines a real light on how we are not equipped to be a woman’s world, well not yet.
I Choose Elena is out on 19th September, published by The Indigo Press.