Sunday, September 19, 2010

Speak Loudly!

I can't even begin to describe the disgust I'm feeling after reading about the man who wants to ban Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak.  I haven't read the book, but I'm aware of the story.  I'm aware that it's about a young girl who was sexually assaulted. 

Wesley Scroggins feels that Speak should be banned from schools.  He thinks the book is "filthy" and "immoral" and called it "soft pornography" because of the rape in the book.

I'm disgusted that anyone would compare RAPE to PORNOGRAPHY.  Rape and pornography are two different things.  Rape is a CRIME that is about power and control, in which sex is used as the tool. 

Scroggins is concerned about young people reading this book containing a rape scene.  I think he should wake up.  Many of those children he's concerned about have probably already been sexually assaulted in some way.  I suggest he check out RAINN and get educated on the horrific stats that indicate just how prevalent sexual assault is.  Shielding children/teenagers from this just hurts them.  It makes bringing awareness about sexual violence even more difficult. 

As a sexual assault counselor, I'm all too familiar of the dynamics of sexual violence.  I'm also, unfortunately, aware of how people are more likely to turn the other cheek and pretend it doesn't exist.  IGNORING IT DOESN'T MAKE IT STOP!  Ignoring it allows it to continue.  Ignoring it kicks the victims when they're down.

I think it's wonderful to have a book written from the perspective of a sexual assault victim, especially for young people.  Many young people are too afraid to talk about what happened to them.  Reading about another person's experience may give them the courage to talk about their own.  Banning books like this just keeps these young people silent, leaving them to be eaten alive by their secrets.  Banning books like this only conveys the message that victims should "keep quiet."  "Rape is filthy and immoral.  Don't talk about it."

Instead of wasting his energy trying to ban a book about sexual assault that may help victims, I suggest Wesley Scroggins use his energy to fight against sexual violence.  Maybe he should try "banning" sexual assault instead of books about sexual assault. 


  1. I read Speak as a teenager. I don't know if Scroggins has read it but I doubt it. Although, yes, there is a rape scene it really is not graphic. In fact if you didn't already know about rape you would never guess it was a sexual assault at the time. It is only later when she 'speaks' of it that you know for sure. It is a great book and it is not about being raped so much as what happens after.

    Any book being banned makes me mad, but when something has a good message like this one I just don't understand why people would want to ban it.

  2. I just read this book, and I cannot believe what you're saying. That's not true, I can - I just don't want to believe that there are people out there so narrow minded. The above commenter is absolutely right - when "the scene" is described in the book, it is done in such a way that you know that she has been hurt, she said no, and no one helped her. Only later, almost a year later, does she finally get the courage to tell someone that it was rape.

    It is a great book that explores how a teen reacted to this, how she was unable to communicate with anyone - friends, parents, teachers, how when she acted out she was seen as a trouble maker, not as a victim needing help. This is a book that teens SHOULD read, and not have it banned!!