Sunday, September 19, 2010

SPEAK Loudly

Why? Because Wesley Scroggins doesn't want you to do so. He also doesn't want you to read Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Here's what Scroggins has to say about the book in his article in Springfield, MO's News-Leader.com:
In high school English classes, children are required to read and view material that should be classified as soft pornography.
One such book is called "Speak." They also watch the movie. This is a book about a very dysfunctional family. Schoolteachers are losers, adults are losers and the cheerleading squad scores more than the football team. They have sex on Saturday night and then are goddesses at church on Sunday morning. The cheer squad also gets their group-rate abortions at prom time. As the main character in the book is alone with a boy who is touching her female parts, she makes the statement that this is what high school is supposed to feel like. The boy then rapes her on the next page. Actually, the book and movie both contain two rape scenes.
Not only is Scroggins misguided, but he's a little out of touch. The point of pornography is to provide sexual stimulation and excitement. I don't know about you, but I am absolutely not excited by the idea or act of rape. Maybe that's because rape isn't really about sex, but about power over another person. Power over a victim. No, Mr. Scroggins, that is not soft pornography.

He seems to be among that strange group who believe that not talking about something makes it disappear. If we don't expose our children to the possibility of teen pregnancy, then they don't get pregnant. If they don't read four-letter words, then they won't use them in the hallways or at lunch. If we don't talk to them about rape, then it won't happen.

He, and those like him are, in a word, wrong. Were I feeling particularly vehement about this I might also call them delusional, and frankly, fucking idiots.

Think a teenager shouldn't read about rape? About someone who is trying to cope with having been raped? Why don't you read this post from Cheryl Rainfield, or this one from CJ Redwine. For that matter, read what Laurie Halse Anderson herself has to say on the matter.

Rape happens. And it is because of people like Mr. Scroggins who want to sweep it under the rug and play pretend that girls who are raped do not seek out help. They feel ashamed. They think no one else understands. They think something is wrong. They don't know where to go or who to ask for help. They don't know there is help to seek.

And it is time to Speak. If we do not, then who will? So Speak loudly, and spread the word. Talk about this book, with your friends, with your neighbors, with your children. Don't allow this man to censor what other people read just because a topic makes him and those like him uncomfortable.

#SpeakLoudly on Twitter for more information, comments, and links to blog posts.