9th Honors English
17 October 2014
Victims with a Voice “There is a boulder on me. I open my mouth to breathe, to scream, and his hand covers it.”(Anderson 135) Melinda is a young teen entering her first year of high school. She starts off the year already being despised by her peers for ruining a party over the summer by calling the cops. What they didn’t know, was Melinda had somewhat no choice in the matter, for as you find out later in the book Speak, Melinda had been raped that night. Ashley Judd, a widely known actress who has starred in major films such as Simon Birch and Someone Like You. While she was a child, Judd faced the tragedy of being raped not once, but three times. “He opened his arms, I climbed up, and I was shocked when he suddenly cinched his arms around me, squeezing me and smothering my mouth with his, jabbing his tongue deep into my mouth.”(Tim par. 4) Melinda and Ashley both faced the harsh injustice of being raped, causing them both to go into a state of depression and isolation but in the end overcoming it; this injustice can be stopped by allowing people to speak out without being judged, out-casted, and blamed for an injustice that will scar them forever. Melinda and Ashley are similar because they were both faced with the injustice of rape, but in the end were able to overcome it and share their stories. While at a young age, both Melinda and Ashley have faced something extremely traumatizing and life-altering. The way that they at first began to cope with it is similar, they go into a shell and hide from others. For Melinda, she finds an abandoned closet and hides herself away. “This closet is abandoned—it has no purpose, no name. It is the perfect place for me.”(Anderson 26) Melinda feels as if she doesn’t belong, like she no longer has a purpose. She enjoys the isolation the closet provides from the outside world of stuck-up rich kids and teachers who simply don’t care. Ashley as well began to feel as if she didn’t belong. “I felt like I was a stranger in my own family, like I didn’t belong.”(“Ashley Judd Delivers” par. 34) Even in her own family with people who she was supposedly supposed to fit in with, she still felt like an outcast. As each of their stories progress, we can see them gain strength in themselves and open up a bit. Melinda slowly but surely begins to be more open with people, and starts to try making friends. “What am I supposed to say now? I bite my lip, then release it. I pull a roll of Life Savers from my pocket. “Want a piece?””(Anderson 145) Melinda is now genuinely putting an effort to try to befriend someone and I think that shows that she’s growing because before, all she would do is hide away from others. Ashley began to seek help for her problems and in return she was finally able to talk to others and fully enjoy her life again. “I started visiting a therapist, started to talk a bit more, started to live more. It felt amazing.”(Judd All That is Bitter 205) As soon as Ashely began to open up to people life became a bit simpler and she could now have more confidence in herself for finally realizing that the rape wasn’t her fault. Although Melinda and Ashley both had to go through the harsh injustice of rape, it eventually made them grow as individuals.
Being raped had a huge impact on both Ashley and Melinda. It made them both go into a sort of depression and isolation from others. In Melinda’s case, she constantly felt self-conscious and ashamed for herself. “I can see us living in the woods, her wearing that A, me with an S maybe, S for silent, for stupid, for scared. S for silly. For shame.”(Anderson 101) Melinda’s self-image had been greatly lowered to where she thinks of herself as shameful, stupid, and silly. The incident was also so traumatizing for Melinda and is an event she will most likely never forget; she continually has flashbacks and thoughts about what happened. Often the excess emotions are very overwhelming, “Mr.