Challenges to Speak
I am shocked whenever anyone challenges SPEAK. This is a story about the emotional trauma suffered by a teen after a sexual assault. Throughout the entire book, she struggles with her pain, and tries to find the courage to speak up about what happened so she can get some help.
Isn’t that what we want our kids to do – reach out to us?
Some people in America get all weird whenever anything that is remotely sexual in nature comes up for discussion.
1 in 6 American women will be the victims of a completed or attempted rape in her lifetime.
National Institute of Justice & Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Prevalence, Incidence and Consequences of Violence Against Women Survey. 1998.)
44% of those rape victims are under age 18.
(U.S. Department of Justice. 2004 National Crime Victimization Survey. 2004.)
17.7 million American women have been victims of attempted or completed rape.
(National Institute of Justice & Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Prevalence, Incidence and Consequences of Violence Against Women Survey. 1998.)
Victims of sexual assault are:
3 times more likely to suffer from depression.
- 6 times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
- 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol.
- 26 times more likely to abuse drugs.
- 4 times more likely to contemplate suicide.
(World Health Organization. 2002.)
These statistics and more can be found on RAINN’s website. RAINN is the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, America’s largest anti-sexual assault organization. Visit their site for more information – they have everything and anything you need to know about how much sexual assault and abuse is suffered by Americans, who commits these crimes, and what we can do to stop it.
Some people are uncomfortable talking about rape. It makes them feel awkward or powerless, or ashamed. They often can’t put their feelings about it into words. They find it easier to avoid the discussion. These are the kinds of people who try to remove SPEAK from the classroom.
When they do that, I become angry.
Education is supposed to prepare children for the world. While it would be nice to pretend that sexual assault does not exist, a quick glance at the statistics proves otherwise. Teenagers know that sexuality exists, they know what rape is, and way too many of them have suffered it. Rape is discussed on the front page of newspapers. It is the topic of movies. Rape survivors speak out publicly about their attacks. Avoiding it by removing a book that deals with the subject in a thoughtful, literary way is ridiculous and harmful.