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Posts Tagged ‘Speak’

Speak Loudly

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard about how a professor wrote an opinion piece in a Springfield, MO, newspaper about how Laurie Halse Anderson’s novel SPEAK is, and I quote, “soft-core pornography” because there are two rape scenes in it. Here is Laurie’s response, including various actions you can take if you so choose. And here is A.S. King’s response. And here is my response:

SPEAK is not a pornographic book; it is a powerful novel that shows the horror of rape and one victim’s struggle not just to survive but to slowly learn how to live again. Rape. In other words, “any act of sexual intercourse that is forced upon a person.” This is not pornography, which is defined as “writings, pictures, films, etc, designed to stimulate sexual excitement.” Anyone who thinks rape is synonymous with pornography is horribly stupid.

For an educator to claim that rape is synonymous with pornography isn’t merely horribly stupid; it’s dangerously stupid. As A.S. King points out in her blog post, 1 in 4 women will either have survived rape or attempted rape since their fourteenth birthday.

1 in 4. That’s utterly terrifying.

Books such as SPEAK help raise awareness of the reality of rape. It’s a brilliant novel, one that is poignant and raw. And it should be required reading. If you think otherwise, go back to the 1 in 4 article link above and read further: 1 in 5 high school students report that they’ve been raped — and 50 percent kept silent about the attack.

This is not entertainment. This is reality. Books like SPEAK let victims know they’re not alone. Books like SPEAK remind victims that what happened is not their fault. Books like SPEAK provide teens and adults a vehicle to discuss issues that impact so many (1 in 4).

For an educator to ever encourage banning a book is, frankly, despicable. All banning books does is encourage silence. And keeping silent about horrific issues such as rape doesn’t magically make those things go away.

Don’t keep silent.

SPEAK LOUDLY.