Speak is not Pornography

Pornography: printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity, intended to stimulate sexual excitement - OxfordDictionaries.com

I try to stay (mostly) offline on the weekends. When I do I miss things...things like this guy in MO, Wesley Scriggins, writing about books that don't belong in the classroom because, in his words, they are soft porn. The book he choose to make an example of? Laurie Halse-Anderson's Speak. Speak is a book in which the main character, Miranda, is raped.  He says:
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.

So...a book in which a character is raped is pornographic? The rape scenes are intended to "stimulate sexual excitement"?

No. Just no. No. No. NO.

Speak is an incredibly powerful book. It's one of those books that sticks with you for years after you read it. Yes, it does involve rape but by no means does it glorify sex. It does not make rape sexy. The book is not intended to stimulate anyone sexually. Whether or not it meant to stimulate anything at all I don't know but I know it did. It stimulated people to speak.

Do you know what I remember about the copy of Speak that I read almost five years ago? I remember that I got it from the library and that there was a blank page at the back. That blank page was filled with writing. It was filled with the messages of teenaged girls saying that they were raped. That they had said no. That they were not listened to. That they were scared. That they were hurt. That it happened to them. It happened to their friends. It happened to someone they loved. It was their boyfriend who raped them. Their uncle. A stranger. A nice boy who turned out to be not nice at all.

I added to the writing on that page. I looked up the number of a local sexual assault hotline so that they would know there was someplace they could call and find someone to talk to. It was the only way I could think of to reach out to them.

Miranda reacted to being raped by giving up her voice. I'm using mine now to #SpeakLoudly in support of this novel.

As are many others. I've been reading the comments in Laurie Halse-Anderson's blog post. I encourage you to do the same. Here are a few excerpts from posts that I've read there.
Rape is a dirty nasty truth of this world.  To pretend it doesn't happen only makes it that much more dangerous and powerful.  I would call rape many things, but I would never describe it as "soft pornography" like this man did.

- Until This Day

Yes, it has rape in it. But why are we afraid to speak loudly about issues and sins in our own society? Are we instead just  going to ignore the rapes that occur every day and hush young people when it happens to them? Are we going to tell them by our silence that their pain isn't important, or are we going to show them that there are people who have been through what they've been through?

- Read Between the Lines

I didn’t go to the police.  I didn’t tell anyone.  There are a lot of people–most people in my life, including my entire family–who don’t know.

Why?  Because shortly afterward, I came out.  And I was afraid that everyone’s reaction (from my born again best friend to my wonderful but conservative family) would be, “You’re just gay because of what he did.”

Or, worse, that they wouldn’t believe me at all.

- Kellyvision

Will you add your voice? Will you #SpeakLoudly?