Sexual Violence in YA Lit, the project
It began with Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson many years ago. This book really touched me, as it has readers around the world. And it made me start thinking a lot about how we can use literature to talk with teens about really tough topics; about things like recognizing the signs so that you can ask for help, about the need for empathy, about the ways in which our society tends to blame victims instead of rapists . . . Books can open eyes, bring healing, and start conversations.
Throughout my years working with teens, I have met many tweens and teens that have been the victims of sexual violence. In fact, current statistics indicate that by the time they are 18 years old 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 5 boys will be the victim of some type of sexual violence.
So I knew I wanted to do more. For the last 3 years I have been working behind the scenes trying to find a way to get this project off of the ground. Then I had a brainstorm and invited authors Christa Desir, Carrie Mesrobian and Trish Doller to have a virtual panel on the topic and they graciously agreed. We had an awesome conversation and got such a positive response that we decided to continue the project. Here are the details. Keep this page bookmarked.
Goals: To discuss sexual violence in the lives of teens and in ya literature on a bimonthly basis; raise awareness of the issues and titles that can be used to discuss the topics with teens; give librarians, educators and parents the tools to evaluate and discuss these topics in the lives of teens; promote teen reading and literature
Contemporary Debuts, dealing with sexual violence
Recap and Video of the second panel discussing Charm & Strange, Canary, and The Gospel of Winter
Recap and Video of the third panel discussing Pointe and Faking Normal
When Past Meets Present, a look at the issues in terms of historical fiction and what we can learn from the past
It’s the End of the World as We Know It, what we can learn about current issues surrounding sexual violence through dystopian/post apocalyptic fiction
Confirmed Guests: A. S. King (forthcoming 2014 and 2015 title), Christa Desir, Carrie Mesrobian
More on Sexual Violence and YA Lit at TLT:
What It’s Like for a Girl: How Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama made me think about the politics of sexuality in the life of girls
Sexual Assault Awareness Month, talking to teens about consent and rape part 1 and part 2
Should there be sex in YA books?
Plan B: What Youth Advocates Need to Know
Because No Always Mean No, a list of books dealing with sexual assault
Who Will Save You? Boundaries, Rescue and the Role of Adults in YA Lit. A look at consent and respecting boundaries in relationships outside of just sex.
Incest, the last taboo
This is What Consent Looks Like
That Time Matt Smith Perpetuated Street Harassment Culture at Comic Con
An Anonymous Letter to Those Who Would Ban Eleanor and Park
Take 5: Difficult books on an important topic (sexual violence)
The Curios Case of the Kissing Doctor and Consent
Book Review: The Gospel of Winter by Brendan Kiely
Take 5: Sexual Violence in the Life of Boys
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
SLJ Blog Network