Over the last few days a storm has swept through the book blogs of the Internet as the result of an opinion piece written by Wesley Scroggins. In this article he reviews Laurie Halse Anderson’s YA novel Speak, equating rape scenes with pornography and demanding that the book be banned.
I have three major contentions with Mr Scroggins’ attitude.
1) Protecting Our Children: I do not believe that our young people can be protected from the evils of this world by pretending they happen to others or don’t happen at all.
I believe our children should be aware of the world they live in, given the knowledge to help them try and avoid the dangers, if possible, and, if the worst comes to the worst, given the skills and support to cope with the aftermath.
However attitudes to parenting differ and if you truly feel that your child should not read books like Speak that is your choice.
2) Banning books: Continuing from my first point. While you have the right to your opinions, however misguided, I have the right to mine. Do not presume to tell me what I or my children should read or which books should be available at the local library.
Your opinion is only that, not an absolute judgement or truth.
3) Blaming the Victim: The aspect of Wesley Scroggins' article that I find most insidious and disturbing is the fact that he classifies the description of a rape as pornography and the whole book as filthy.
I can understand that he would find such scenes disquieting and disturbing. No one wants to consider that such a thing could happen to their sister, daughter, nephew or niece. But that doesn’t mean we can pretend it never happens and that we can block out its existence with a wall of silence.
When you label a description of rape as pornography and the discussion of it as filth, you are condemning the victim every time they attempt to articulate their suffering. Because you are unable to cope with hearing an ‘unpleasant’ truth you perpetuate the problem and condemn the victim to suffer in silence.
That is not acceptable.