Dr?/Mr? Scroggins:

In regards to your article:

One such book is called “Speak.” They also watch the movie. This is a book about a very dysfunctional family. Schoolteachers are losers, adults are losers and the cheerleading squad scores more than the football team. They have sex on Saturday night and then are goddesses at church on Sunday morning. The cheer squad also gets their group-rate abortions at prom time. As 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. The boy then rapes her on the next page. Actually, the book and movie both contain two rape scenes.

Speaking as a Christian myself, a part of me does understand why some things bother you, why you’re not happy with things you view as going against your beliefs.  I have a simple argument on that-and it’s this-you can’t force people to follow your personal code, or the moral system of the Christian church-if it’s forced…it means nothing.  Not to them, and not to Christ.  People must follow Him out of a love for Him-not because it’s been forced on them.

John 14:15 (Today’s New International Version)

“If you love me, keep my commands.”

You can make all the laws, rules, regulations you want.  If people are following the rules only because they have to-it means nothing. Not to them, and not to Christ.

Speaking as both a Christian and a parent,  there is a part of me that understands why you’d rather your kids not read about the unpleasant facts of life.  Personally, I’d rather shield my kids from these unpleasant facts for all of their lives.  Actually, I’d like to shield all children from these unpleasant facts.

The truth is… we cannot.

Is this a book I’d be happy with my 6th grader reader? No.  But if there’s a 6th grader, a an 8th grader, an 10th grader who has been raped and she stumbles across this book… it may save her life.  Rape victims are victims, victims of a horrific, brutal crime and they need to know they aren’t not alone.

Books like this can save lives. Can help heal. Now if by chance you read this, and I’m thinking you probably won’t, but I know the automatic response, even in my head…Christ can heal.  I know this-as I’ve said, I’m a Christian and He has healed my wounds, thought thankfully, I’ve never been a victim of such an attack.  However, if a teenaged rape victim is lost, alone and decides to end it before she find Christ…well…if she ends it before she can Him…and the suicide rate among teens is terrifying, isn’t it?

Nobody wants to talk about the ugliness of life.  It’s just how it goes.

While I haven’t read Speak, I suspect that’s what this book is about… the title even suggests it. The main character needs to find her voice.  Is she part of a dysfunctional family?  I don’t know… but there are many of those.  I was one of them.  Are we to hide away?  Are we unworthy of Christ’s love?  Kids in the book have sex but have you read it?  Is the author saying she’s great with the cheerleaders having ‘more scores than the football team’?

And on a side note, pal, I hate to tell you, but it’s that attitude that makes so many not want to come to church.  They already feel judged…we weren’t called to judge-but to witness, called to love.  And they are likely many who want to come, who need to come…but they feel unclean, unworthy…and certain attitudes only exacerbate this.

Now again, I haven’t read SPEAK but it sounds to me about a girl’s struggle after something horrid-she busted up an illegal party, a brave move on her part, a strong move…perhaps, one might even call it a moral one, and she was raped.  Now she’s trying to live with herself…and she’s doing it in silence.

Doing it in silence because too many do not want to talk about the nastiness, the ugliness of RAPE.

RAPE happens.  Staying silent on it, turning a blind eye and ignoring the pain of the victims, sir, strikes me as a sin…because it’s an act totally lacking in compassion, totally lacking in love.

John 13:34-35 (New International Version)

34“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

In your article, you wrote:

As 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. The boy then rapes her on the next page. Actually, the book and movie both contain two rape scenes.

You want to call SPEAK a sinful, pornagraphic book and you want it off school shelves.  The areas I underlined-are these part of why?  The first part sounds to me like the thinking of a confused, lonely girl who is all but screaming for help, a friend.  The rape scenes-are those what you consider porn?

Sir-porn is about sexual titillation, and nothing more.  RAPE is about power and force and violence.  If you’re confusing the two, there’s a problem…on your side.  I’m sorry to be ugly, but there you have it.  Porn and RAPE can have things in common but just because a girl is raped in a book doesn’t make it porn.

You want to call SPEAK a sinful, pornagraphic book and you want it off school shelves.

I disagree with you.  It sounds like a book that needs to be there, for the girls who go through that sort of thing … perhaps it will help them find their voice.


7 Replies to “#SpeakLoudly”

  1. I totally agree with you, even though myself I am not a Christian, but the moral standings are the same. If we educate our children about the evils of this world they would be more adept at handling the situation if they are every placed there, or to keep them out of those situations all together. Parents won’t talk to their children about sex in general and I think that makes it even worse, yes I would love to shield my child from the ugliness of this world, but where would my child be if I did. Would he become a victim, or even the abuser because I didn’t educate my child what’s wrong or right morally. I think this would be a good book for teenage girls, or one similar because sometimes when this happens who are they going to talk to, the adults in their life who think talking about sex is taboo.

  2. Thank you for speaking out, and thank you for speaking out as a Christian. Too often people like this get the spotlight, and the public walks away with the impression that all Christians are like them. So I appreciate your courage.

    And to answer your question, her family isn’t what I’d call dysfunctional. Her parents aren’t sure how to talk to her and they don’t understand why she has transformed overnight, but they try. They’re realistic in that way.

  3. Thank you.

    Slaughterhouse Five is a classic and a harrowing depiction of the firebombing of Dresden and an anti-war novel, one of the best pieces of fiction in the past century. It’s also a lot more interesting than All Quiet on the Western Front. I suspect an increase in the literacy rate among boys in public schools could be directly proportional to the amount of Vonnegut in their curricula. 😉

    Speak is by Laurie Halse Andersen. It is one of the most moving and powerful books I have ever read in my life.

    I am a survivor, and it is ignorance and hypocrisy like this man’s blindness that caused me to stop going to church.

    I don’t believe for one minute that any reasonable person would condemn the book or the film if they had actually read or watched it. Down this path lies book banning.

  4. I read Speak in school and it really resonated with me. It was coupled with another book that featured a narrator that indulged in various acts of abuse which included raping a female student he had a crush on.

    I remember that along with these books, there was a lot of dialogue in class about how it was “her” fault for letting it happen. The girl was stupid for being alone with the boy and that meant she was asking for it.

    It was pretty hard to hear all of that, and I burst out crying in the middle of class because of all the slut-blaming on a topic that had adversely affected my life and the lives of many I loved.

    But those books led to discussion, and I saw firsthand a lot of people become enlightened, and it was easily one of the most emotionally wrought things I’ve ever been a part of in a high school curriculum.

    That book helped a part of me get over something truly awful just like a lot of romance novels, which many regard as trash and porn. I want everyone to have books like these where their stories are told and they don’t feel like they are the only ones who have ever suffered. It would be criminal to assume that this book should be banned because it features a real life problem that is in no way glorified, but dealt with by a struggling teenager who needs to get through it like other survivors.

  5. I agree with u 100% Shiloh I am not a survivor of rape but as i teen i was molested for a yr because i was to afriad to speak out because he was a family friend of my mothers as well as a authority figure who cared a gun and didnt hesitate to threaten with it.I did how ever try to kill myself due to the situation when i was 16 but find god and reading came to be my outlet so as well believe this belongs.

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