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We need to talk about shame

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Illustration of a lone female figure stood in front of a background of concentric circles. She is holding up her arms against a swell of water approaching her from the lefthand side. The water surrounds her and washes away to the right. On the front of her torso are illustrations of internal organs, the stomach and heart. To her right her body is casting a large shadow against the background. The hues of the illustration are muted reds and blues.
Shame’s long shadow. © Eduardo Rubio for Wellcome Collection.

Shame is one of our most overwhelming emotions. It’s also something we rarely discuss. In this series of six essays, Lucia Osborne-Crowley explores what makes shame so powerful. Reflecting on her own experiences following a violent sexual assault, Lucia reveals what she has learned about where shame comes from, what it’s for and how it works. Determined to loosen the grip it has had on her life, she believes that being open about shame will limit its power.