Family dynamics, Fiction, Romantic Fiction, Shreve-Anita, Social Commentary

#810 Testimony by Anita Shreve

Testimony by Anita ShreveTestimony by Anita Shreve

Silas gets a scholarship to a private school to play basketball. Things are going fine until his senior year. A very inflammatory video surfaces. The video is off a freshman, a fourteen-year old girl, who now goes by the name Sienna, having sex with Silas and two other boys. The dormitory room is littered with beer cans. This behavior might have been expected from the other two boys, but not from Silas. What could have been going on in his life that caused this to happen? The headmaster knows what’s happening though.

The headmaster met Silas and his family through very unfortunate circumstances. There was a patch of black ice, an overturned vehicle that went through a fence and a mailbox. This was how the headmaster came to meet Silas and his family, specifically Silas’s mother. Silas got into the private school, but something more than friendship developed between the headmaster and Silas’s mother.

Then the video came out. Silas feels incredibly guilty for what he did. It’s considered statutory rape. Silas had a girlfriend. Silas was making good grades. Silas was on the basketball team. What went so wrong? Despite all the boys saying the video was the girl’s idea, things still turned out badly for each of the boys, in various ways. They each feel bad for what they did. The only person who doesn’t feel bad about the whole thing is the girl, who ends up in a second=chance school. The guilt weighs too heavily on Silas though and it seems as if he cannot come out from under it.

What I liked

This was an interesting look at rape culture essentially, well, rape-culture turned on its side. This was a look at someone claiming to be a victim, but actually preying upon others instead. A girl used rape-culture to make bad things happen to otherwise good boys, seemingly without any real motive, other than interviews and notoriety. There are certainly two sides to any coin. Just as someone can fault rape-culture for rape, so too can someone claim to be a victim and then be believed.

What I didn’t like

The girl in this book is flat-out awful. Nobody is saying she isn’t. Sure, what happened was technically statutory rape, but if you’re engineering the whole thing, that seems like it should count for something.

Consensual sex is a thing. Consensual sex among teenagers can actually be a thing. Two teenagers can get together and be like, “Hey, you want to have sex?” and then they do and it’s not rape. What we have is an age of consent. Even if you say you want to have sex, because of your age you can’t legally make your own decisions, and therefore you can’t actually say yes to sex, and therefore,  it’s rape. I get that we’re trying to protect teenagers, and no one is saying that statutory rape shouldn’t be a thing. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t some evil teenagers roaming around, tricking guys into having sex with them, and getting some sort of devilish pleasure by accusing them of rape.

On the other hand, why did these guys think it was a good idea to have sex with a fourteen-year old? Couldn’t they have just not had sex? You know, “Just say no,” and all that jazz? Couldn’t they have just kept it in their pants? I mean, really, how hard is it to keep it in your pants? I keep it in my pants all the time, but  then again, I don’t have a penis, maybe penises know how to unzip zippers of their own accord.  Just because there is a half-dressed, or even naked woman standing there, doesn’t mean that you have to sex with her. You could be a responsible adult and say to yourself, “You know what–I think I’ll keep my pants zipped.” Do you realize how many rapes would not have happened if people thought this? A whole darn lot.

This book was really about both sides of this equation. The men involved had sex when they shouldn’t have and the girl involved engineered the whole thing and cried rape after things started to look bad for her. You can’t tell your parents that you willingly had a threesome with guys over the age of eighteen and then it was videotaped, if you’re fourteen, right?

I do feel bad for the boys involved in this story, but they really shouldn’t have been having sex with a fourteen-year old. Whatever consequences came their way, even if their accuser was a liar, they have to deal with, because they did actually do something illegal, although, not quite as bad as what was claimed.

Overall

Keep it in your pants.

Weigh In

Whose side do you fall on?

Is either side more to blame in this scenario?

#810 Testimony by Anita Shreve was originally published on One-elevenbooks

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