With Banned Book Week fast approaching a movement has begun, a movement to remind us to Speak Loudly. I stumbled upon it first thing this morning on twitter, where the hashtag #speakloudly was showing up on nearly every tweet that popped up on my screen. It appears that a Wesley Scroggins, in an oped piece for his local paper, has decided that Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson is soft-core porn because it depicts the rape of a high school girl. He then goes on the lambast other books including Slaughterhouse Five and Twenty Boy Summer. He believes that these books should be removed from not only the curriculum, but from the school library. He is calling for the banning of this book. Laurie Halse Anderson responded on her website, and from there it has spread. Perhaps Scroggins didn't realize the bee's nest he was kicking.
I admit to hesitating on this post. There are so many other bloggers who have posted elequent and brave stories of how Speak helped them, let them know they were not alone, and gave them an outlet. They talk about things that, as someone who has not had first hand experience with these horrible issues, can not possibly relate to. It's for those people that Speak is a lifesaver. To remove Speak from the shelves only reinforces the false idea that the victim is somehow to blame, that there is a shame attached to rape and that it should be kept a secret. That is unexceptable. For me, Speak was merely a book. One, I'll admit that I didn't really like, for reasons that are not at all relevant to the controversy currently swirling. Even so, I appreciate the message that it sends, and I think that it's a book that needs to be out there, so that those who need it can find it and to serve as a reminder that for some people life is full of bad things, and that it's not their fault.
Scroggins has every right to his opinion, whether I agree with it or not. He even has the right to send in those opinion peices to the paper and share his view with the world. So does Anderson, so do you, and so do I. If he doesn't want to read Speak, or if he doesn't want his children to read it, that is absolutly his choice. Let's just remember that for every Scroggin's who wants to keep the book from everyone, there are those of us who are willing to Speak Loudly and keep those books available to those who need them.