Sunday, September 19, 2010

Speak shouldn't be silenced by censors

Censorship is rearing it's ugly head again, this time in Springfield, Mo where a university prof by the name of Wesley Scroggins wrote an opinion piece for the local paper where he characterized Speak, by Lauie Halse Anderson as filthy, immoral soft porn.  Apparently professor Scroggins doesn't understand that the rape scenes in the novel are not there for titillation.  His conclusions are disturbing at best.  I'd like to remind readers that Speak was a Printz Honor Book, a National Book Award Finalist, and a New York Times Best Seller that has given voice to victims for the last ten years.   

I'm sad to say that the need for books that give victims a voice are as important today as the day Speak was released.  A mere week ago in a community near Vancouver, Canada, a 16 year old girl was drugged and gang-raped at a rave.  Cell phone pictures were posted by a 16 year old boy with no thought of the fact that this girl is forced to relive that horrendous experience time and time again.  If more of the young people involved had read Speak, and gained insight into how insidious and horrendous rape is, the situation might have been prevented.  I have given Speak to countless young women, including my own three daughters.  I wish I had given it to more young men.  This is an important book that NEEDS to be available.  And it's important that we speak to our young people about the difference between consensual sex and rape.

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