Anyone curious about the complexities of taking sexual assault cases to trial will love Eggshell Skull. It’s also a very timely read in the face of the controversy surrounding Cardinal George Pell’s trial.
I’ve prescribed it for GPs at the coalface of disclosures of sexual assault.
Similarly, Queensland barrister Matthew Hickey recommends it to male lawyers in his Goodreads review:
This book should be compulsory reading for all men, but especially those in the law.
Bri Lee’s ferociously frank and fearless memoir exhorts us to honestly appraise our accepted wisdom, examine our institutional discrimination against women, and correct our unconscious disrespect of their experience.
We’re not the only ones loving this book. It has been longlisted for the 2019 Stella Prize and shortlisted for the 2019 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction.
In terms of population data, sexual assault is extremely common, with 1 in 5 women experiencing sexual assault. Most of these never report to police and of those that do, only 1 in 6 reports of rape and less than 1 in 7 reports of incest or sexual penetration of a child result in prosecution.
See why in this well-written page-turner.
PS [spoiler alert]: It was really interesting to have editorial discussions about the meaning of the title, Eggshell Skull. The meaning in legal terms is discussed in the back cover blurb. I take it as Lee choosing to subvert the victim label. Yes, she’s a very privileged victim. But unfortunately, it seems like it’s only when these crimes affect middle-class women that things start to change in the legal system. And it still took an incredible amount of courage to fight like she did.