Today's Tune: Silence
If you've already read a dozen or so entries speaking out against that dude who wants Laurie Halse Anderson's award-winning novel SPEAK banned, then you're about to read another one.
So, some guy (who happens to be a university professor and a speaker for Reclaiming Missouri for Christ) wants parents to "get involved" in keeping their children from "soft pornography" like SPEAK and other novels. He misconstrues SPEAK as a novel about promiscuous sex and, quote, "... 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." He does touch on the fact that the main character is then raped, but overall he gives the impression that this novel is a book about sex.
Read Ms. Anderson's response post here.
Now, as has been echoed across the internet, I don't want to turn this into a "GRRRR HORRIBLE CHRISTIANS TRYING TO BAN BOOKS BLAH BLAH IGNORANCE BLAH BLAH." Because this guy is not reflective of Christians. He's reflective of head-in-the-sand ignorance and misinterpreting works of fiction, and that has little to do with his religion.
Because SPEAK is not about promiscuous sex. In fact, I'd argue that it's not really about sex at all. It's about a young rape survivor learning to deal with what happened to her and finding her voice again. It is such a painful, beautiful, moving novel. It turns the stone over on a subject that is rarely talked about in the open, and it has helped so many people, young and old alike, to find their own voices.
And to consider that this book, this amazing book, could be denied to youths who may benefit from it because some parents believed it's a dirty sex book? That kills me and makes me angry. It makes me an angry zombie, is what it does.
Rape is not sex. It's assault. It's abuse. That's why they call it "sexual assault/abuse." Sex is merely the tool a rapist uses in order to abuse and assault. Soft pornography? SOFT PORNOGRAPHY?! If you're a highly disturbed individual, I guess.
Ignorance is not the same thing as innocence. I wish people could understand that. You can't keep the world of sex, peer pressure, drugs, and violence from children by not telling them about it. And if you don't want your child to read what you consider to be a "trashy" novel, that's fine. They're your kids, and until they're 18, they're under your rules. But you do not get to deny public access to literature that strengthens and empowers teenagers because you somehow equated rape to porn.
I cannot fathom the person that could read SPEAK and think it would somehow be the novel that sullies the minds of "innocents" with "filthy" sex. I really can't. We are already so lax when it comes to talking about sexual violence with our youth.
I'm not saying that we have to frighten young men and women with graphic descriptions of rape. But it's such an important topic to breach. We can't continue to pretend that rape is something that only happens to "bad" girls. That's damaging, and it's bullshit. Please excuse my cursing.
If you think this is as ridiculous and heartbreaking as I do, please speak out on your own blog. You can also join the Twitter conversation by including the hashtag #SpeakLoudly in your Tweets.