Monday, September 20, 2010

Seriously, People

So, there's a guy who is unhappy about many things (including comprehensive sex ed, because if we don't tell the kids about sex, they will, of course, never know, but that's another post). In particular he mentions unhappiness, with some books the kids are reading or going to read in school.
Yes, in particular he singles out Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak because of it's inclusion of two rape scenes and bad adults. He compares the book to soft porn. Yeah. Okay, um, no.
According to RAINN, 1 in 6 women, and 1 in 33 men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. Think of your high school class, and figure out how many people that is. Sure, that's not a perfect application of statistics, but the point I'm getting at is even if they have not told you, there is no way you don't know someone who is/was/will be a victim of sexual assault.
Books like Speak are not glorifying sexual assault. They are acknowledging it as an unfortunate reality, and then showing that people, even fictional people, can and do survive. They can recover. Talking about it in school in the context of a book or movie, allows the discussion to happen in a different way. Sure, this school in Missouri, or other schools probably also have an assembly about rape, but this is another way to present the information.
Laurie Halse Anderson has asked that folks who feel moved to do so, speak out, so that folks will know that her book is not porn. (I cannot tell you how sad writing that sentence makes me.)
Fellow YA author Caridad Ferrer has written about it here. Author Myra McEntire speaks passionately here. And author Veronica Roth, disagrees as a Christian. A
And CJ Redwine has a heartbreaking post here, that says, in part: "Books can give children the language they need to be able to describe themselves and the things they're facing. To silence the book could be to silence the child." (Go read the whole thing.)
I suppose the good news is that my own reading list just got longer.
h/t to the tweeps who let me know about this.

1 comment:

Becky said...

Did the guy who complained about the book actually read the book? Normally I find that they've "heard" what it contains but haven't actually read it, basically having no frame of reference to even complain. Either way, you're right, some things do need to be taught in schools and the unfortunate reality of rape is one of them.