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Television Reviews : ‘No Means No’ Focuses on Teen Date Rape

“No Means No,” the title of a new “CBS Schoolbreak Special” airing today at 3 p.m. on Channels 2 and 8, has nothing to do with drug abuse prevention. The issue here, as in a recent “ABC Afterschool Special,” is date rape.

ABC’s “Date Rape” was the more forthright and forceful of the two, digging deeper into the consequences of the act. CBS uses the word rape only once, to suggest that what takes place “might even be considered” that.

Both films however, offer thoughtful, well-crafted profiles of young teens seeking to establish their own sexuality, confused and pressured by mixed messages from parents, the media and peers.

In “No Means No,” written and directed by Jeffrey Auerbach, Chad Lowe is Michael, a high school senior whose freshman sister Megan (Dana Barron) comes home from a date with one of his classmates saying she was forced to have intercourse. Michael is skeptical at first--she went off alone with Doug (Jim Marshall) after a party. What did she expect?

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What Megan expected was to talk and to “fool around” a little. She didn’t expect the aggression, or the deafness to her pleas to stop. “It wasn’t about me or us,” she says. “It was about him.”

Michael, who had been pressuring his girlfriend Sally (Lori Loughlin) to prove she cared by having sex with him, begins to reassess his own attitudes.

The appealing cast gets the message across: There is nothing wrong with a teen who is not ready for sex and there is no excuse for force--"no” should be acceptable to male and female alike.


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