|Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson|
Speak is a book about a girl, Melinda, who is raped and, as a result, stops talking. The book follows Melinda through the aftermath of the crime as she tries to make it through day to day life and attempts to claim the ability to speak up about what has happened to her.
Have a look at some of the rape statistics I just looked up:
25% of college women will be victims of rape or attempted rape before they graduate.
Women between the ages of 16-24 will experience rape at a rate that's four times higher than the assault rate of all women.
44% of rape victims are under age 18.
I would say, given that the statistics regarding sexual assaults against females in their teens and early twenties are so frighteningly high, that these numbers suggest that reading books like Speak is extremely important for high school students, especially girls. But this guy wants it removed from high school reading lists because he considers it "soft pornography". Apparently, he seems to think that sex crimes are erotic. (If you haven't read it, believe me when I say that nothing about the rape scene in this book is sexy or erotic.) Wesley Scroggins wants to silence a book that speaks out against rape and attempts to give solace and hope to anyone who has gone through something of this nature. It is a sad state of affairs when, in a society that believes itself to be so progressive in women's rights, girls have to not only grow up in an environment where they have a 25% chance to be raped and the victims are not only shamed into feeling dirty and guilty about it, but also have to deal with others like this guy who will want to take away something that might help these victims (of which there are many!) because he finds it to be pornographic. Pornographic!
Rape victims everywhere should be offended that this man dismisses such a horribly violent and traumatic crime, the likes of which is rampantly being done to our nation's daughters, to simple pornography. It sickens me that this man can call a violent crime such as RAPE pornography and get a reaction from people that is anything other than disgust toward him. I would hope that people are smart enough to know that this man is not worth listening to. I might even assume it if this part of the country hadn't already been involved in pulling other books off of their shelves recently. Rather than directing that disgust toward a book that teaches young girls (and guys) an important lessons, let's all aim our gag reflexes at the man who wants to silence the words of that book.
So now that I've expressed my disgust with this asshat, who would rather keep today's children ignorant than educated in these matters that are very much relevant to today's youth, I would like to thank him because, in his insensitive display of poor judgment, he has made teenagers and teachers and parents want to read and discuss Speak more than ever. May people always have this reaction to a would-be book banner.
"The books that the world calls immoral are the books that show the world its own shame." --Oscar Wilde
Participate in Banned Books Week September 25 - October 2, 2010, by reading a banned or challenged book. Speak would be a great choice.