Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Banned Books Week

In honor of Banned Books Week (September 25 through October 2) I'm going to step outside my comfort zone just a little bit.

Thanks in part to one of my favorite writers, Yasmine Galenorn, I became aware of Laurie Halse Anderson's recent blog in regard to one man's call to ban Laurie's book SPEAK because it should be considered "soft pornography."


Because of two rape scenes in the story.

Mind you, I have not read this book, being its a young adult novel and I haven't read much in the way of those kinds of books in quite some time, but a couple of days ago after reading Laurie's blog I decided I AM going to. I ordered it and expect to get it sometime next week from Amazon and I'm going to read it during Banned Books Week.

When issues reach the heart of me, it weighs heavily and the idea of a book being banned for such a ludicrous reason blew my mind. And made me toss and turn all night.

My issue with the man's reasons for banning the book bothered me to my core because in NO WAY would I EVER categorize rape as pornography. defines pornography as-

1: the depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause sexual excitement


I'm sorry, but I don't think writers ever set out to write a rape scene to arouse the reader.....Being raped is NOT sexually exciting or arousing for anyone but the rapist.

The idea that anyone with a good heart and moral fiber would ever consider it pornography is beyond my comprehension and it disgusts me to think they could ever come to that conclusion in regard to it.

I will not get too deep into the details of my past, but I've been there and I am a survivor of such a violation of my physical being. It also violated my mental and emotional being and I know how mortifying it can be when the shock wears off and you are faced with the reality of what has happened and whether it changes the core of who you are.

I didn't "speak" about what happened to me and held the fear and anxiety inside for a long time, blaming myself, feeling as though I somehow "asked" for it, that I had fallen victim to being a statistic because it was someone I knew. Someone I considered a friend.

Time has helped heal it, but it still infuriates me when I see people who don't understand that rape is not a consensual pleasureable activity between two people. It's an invasion on so many levels and in so many ways.

As for someone who speaks now from experience, I have to wonder HOW this man came to the conclusion that he could define rape in the same context as pornography and it begs the question- If you can't tell the difference between the two, who are you to judge?


Jennifer Madden said...

I'm so sorry you had to go through that. No man, woman or child should ever have to go through that. I'm afraid if I found out my daughter had been attacked, I would go to the ends of the earth to kill the bastard. And my husband would be right behind me reloading.
When I first read about this guy wanting to ban the book, calling it pornography, I had to wonder about his sexual leanings. Why would you call rape pornography unless it turned you on? Kinda makes me wonder what's on HIS computer.

Amy Durham said...

I have several comments...

1. SOOOOOO sorry that you went through the horror of rape. There is never any reason or excuse. I'm glad to know you came out of the ordeal a stronger person.

2. My guess is this man has not read the book. Otherwise, there's no way he cuold call it porn. The rape scenes are "remembered". The reader doesn't see them happen as they happen. It takes the whole book for Melinda to even allow herself to remember.

3. Censorship sucks. Period.

4. I let my son read this at the end of last school year (6th grade). He needed something for a book report. We talked about it afterward. It was a good lesson to him. Girls are no objects. And you never know what someone is dealing with on the inside. If it were porn or anything even close NO WAY would I have encouraged him to read it.

5. I will have this on my blog sometime this week, because it pisses me off so much. This book (and the movie that was made of it) moved me SO MUCH. It's not porn. It's darn fine writing.

6. Ignorant idiots ifuriate me.


Olivia Amiel said...

Wow, I am just as shocked as you are towards this incident. I have read books in school that have had rape scenes and never have I or any other student seen it as sexual excitement or pornography. I cannot believe that this man would want to ban a book for seeing it as pornography. He is in no position to judge, you're right.
On the other hand, I am very sorry that you had to go through what you did. It must have been very tough carrying this along with you.