Network explores date rape

Network explores date rape

In a frightening dream, Lauren Collins as Paige, left, is taunted by Shawn Roberts as Dean before a school basketball game in a special 90-minute ‘date rape’ episode of “DeGrassi: The Next Generation,” in this undated publicity photo. (Noggin, Michael Courtney/Associated Press)

By DAVID BAUDER – The Associated Press
NEW YORK – Cheerleader Paige runs through several emotions after being date-raped at a party by a high school soccer player.

At first, she denies she’s been raped. She’s angry with herself, and angry with her friends, before directing her fury into trying to prevent her assailant from striking again.

The rape and its impact on Paige and her circle of friends is the centerpiece of a 90-minute special episode of “DeGrassi: The Next Generation,” Friday on Noggin.

The teenage soap opera, produced in Canada, is the most popular prime-time show on Noggin, which is seen in 34 million homes, mostly to satellite and digital cable customers. Its programming is for preschoolers during the day and for youths aged 10 to 17 after 6 p.m.

“As much as I would like to believe that no one in our audience would have to deal with this issue, the statistics bear out that there is a certain percentage that will,” said Sarah Lindman, Noggin’s vice president of programming.

“DeGrassi” has tackled tough topics in the past, including drinking and drugs, coping with the death of a parent and the decision about whether or not to have sex.

That decision is taken away from Paige, portrayed by actress Lauren Collins. She’s among the large cast of eighth- and ninth-graders in the mythical DeGrassi Community School.

Paige is smitten by Dean, an older soccer player from a nearby high school. He invites her and a friend to a party. Eager to get to know him better, she asks for some privacy and they head to a room upstairs. That idea backfires when they start kissing, Dean ignores Paige’s pleas to stop and takes out a condom.

In the aftermath, Paige had to be convinced she was raped. She questions whether she was to blame, through her pursuit of Dean.

While the film doesn’t dwell on this, the scene illustrates how it’s important that teens not place themselves in situations where date rape can happen, said Dr. Martin Fisher, director of adolescent medicine at the Schneider Children’s Hospital on New York’s Long Island.

The rape happens early in the movie, so much of the time is spent on how Paige and her friends deal with it.

Paige is in a band with some friends, and she initially refuses to sing lyrics to a song from the perspective of an abused woman. But when the band plays at an event where Dean unexpectedly shows up, she spits out the words with such vitriol that he leaves.

To write a realistic story, the show’s writers extensively researched the topic, including speaking to some women who had been raped, said Linda Schuyler, “DeGrassi” executive producer.

“It’s obviously a cautionary tale,” Schuyler said. “Kids are playing a really adult game when they start becoming sexually active and there are risks associated with that. We hope it will be a preventive message.”

Advertisements

Comments are closed.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s