(Note: “Fun Fact” probably isn’t the best title for this post but I wanted to keep it within my ongoing “teen drama facts” series, where all the posts are titled “Fun Fact.”)
Last month’s 90210 season finale, in which the episode ends with Naomi seemingly about to be raped by Mr. Cannon, got me thinking about the use and portrayal of sexual assault in the teen dramas.
Below is a listing of all the occurrences, to the best of my recollection, with the only full-fledged main character rape thus far occurring during Beverly Hills 90210’s ninth season.
Beverly Hills 90210
-In Episode 1.09, The Gentle Art of Listening, Brenda works on a “teen line,” where an anonymous girl calls in and reveals she is, essentially, being date raped by two classmates. Brenda starts piecing clues together and figures out the girl is Bonnie, a fellow student at West Beverly, and the attacks are taking place after school events. She informs the police of what’s happening and they save the girl and arrest the guys.
-In Episode 1.13, Slumber Party, Kelly reveals her first sexual encounter happened with Ross Webber, where he led her into a forest and had sex with her on the ground. As she recounts the story during a girls-only slumber party, she cries as she says, “He kept saying, ‘Come on, Kel. I know you want it. I know you want it, Kelly.’ And I did… but not on the ground. He didn’t even bring a blanket. But it was over pretty quick and after that he took me home…and never talked to me again.”
-In Episode 2.13, Halloween, the gang is at a Halloween party where Kelly goes upstairs with an older guy she meets. When she doesn’t want to hook up with him, he calls her a tease and begins to force himself on her but they are interrupted by Brenda and Donna. When Kelly cries and explains what happens, Brenda calls out for Dylan and, with Steve’s help, they drag the guy out.
-In Episode 3.11, A Presumption Of Innocence, Scott’s sister Sue accuses English teacher Gil Meyers of sexual harassment and some of the gang takes sides. Meyers reveals there was an incident at the previous school he worked at, but insists he didn’t do anything then or now. Sue eventually confesses that she actually came on to him and reveals it’s actually her uncle who has been molesting her. Gil resigns anyway.
-In Episode 4.11, Take Back The Night, a one-time hook-up, Laura, accuses Steve of date rape. He is shocked by the accusation as, according to his memory, they were both into it. Kelly tries to help Laura until she learns Steve is the guy in question. Kelly doubts Laura’s story and shortly before she’s set to “go public” at a Take Back The Night rally at CU, Kelly volunteers to speak up instead. Kelly takes the mic at the event and recounts her season 2 experience and notes that Steve was the one who saved her. Afterward, Laura admits the sex was consensual but that she said otherwise because she felt used after he wasn’t interested in seeing her again.
-In Episode 5.23, Love Hurts, much of the CU student body is concerned about a sexual predator after a co-ed is raped in the previous episode. With some help, Brandon discovers the suspect is targeting Clare. Turns out, he was targeting Clare but after meeting Donna, he set his sights on her instead. When Donna returns to her apartment one night, she notices the lights are out and is suddenly grabbed from behind by the rapist, Garrett. He bounds her hands and later proceeds to force himself on her in her bedroom but they are interrupted when they hear David enter the apartment. With Garrett threatening her, she calls out that she doesn’t feel well and insists to David that he leave. But when she calls him “Dave,” he senses something is wrong and storms into her room. Together they overpower Garrett and knock him out.
-In Episode 8.20, Cupid’s Arrow, after each having fights with their significant others, Valerie and Noah end up sleeping together. The next morning, Valerie wakes up with little recollection of the night before and feels very ill. A doctor determines she was drugged with Rohypnol, commonly known as the “date rape drug” or being “roofied,” and Valerie concludes that Noah raped her. In the subsequent episodes, when the District Attorney declines to press charges, she files a civil suit. After a heated trial, the jury rules in Valerie’s favor and awards her a large sum of money. Donna, however, soon discovers that it was Noah’s brother Josh (played by Michael Trucco, aka One Tree Hill’s Uncle Cooper) who actually drugged Valerie’s drink and, due to being distracted by a phone call, was unable to stop Valerie from leaving with Noah instead of him.
-In Episode 9.25, Dog’s Best Friend, Kelly is called by Dylan, who is fearful he will relapse if someone doesn’t come talk to him. They pick a meeting spot and Kelly parks nearby. As she walks the dark, abandoned street alone, she hears footsteps behind her. As she speeds up, so does the other person. Said person eventually grabs her and throws her into an alley where he hits her, threatens her with a knife, rips off her clothing and rapes her. Coincidentally, the actor who plays the rapist had two other roles on the show, including an appearance in the season 2 episode mentioned above where Kelly is almost raped.
-In Episode 3.06, Secrets and Lies, Andie is dating Rob, an older guy whom Joey worked with until his (mostly non-physical) sexual harassment becomes too much for her to take. One night, a tearful Andie calls Joey (skip to 3:05), asking for help. Joey and Pacey find her, wanting to know what happened. Andie reveals she and Rob were hooking up and he started to take things too far. Pacey, Andie’s ex, angrily confronts Rob, who denies anything happened at all. Joey urges Andie to go to the police but she’s reluctant. Pacey comforts her and they reflect on their relationship. They share a kiss, which Pacey later calls a mistake. Joey speaks with Rob, who is still denying he did anything to Andie, and Andie gets upset with Joey for not believing her. Later, Andie essentially admits she made the story up, without explicitly saying it, noting she will do anything to get Pacey back.
-In Episode 6.04, Instant Karma!, Audrey is upset about her relationship with Pacey and heads to a party with Jen and Jack to blow off some steam. She drowns her sorrows in alcohol and ends up being led upstairs by a guy (skip to 4:55). Jen tries to follow but a different guy won’t let her pass. C.J. pushes past and they head upstairs. They find Audrey in one of the bedrooms and Jen leads her out as C.J. pushes the guy away.
-In Episode 2.21, The Return Of The Nana, while Ryan is out of town, Marissa takes it upon herself to entertain his brother, Trey. While drunk and high, Trey comes on to Marissa at the beach. When she resists, a struggle ensues. She eventually breaks free and runs off.
One Tree Hill
-In Episode 1.08, The Search For Something More, when Brooke and Peyton head to a college party, Peyton retreats into a dorm room with one of the co-eds. They bond over music and he offers her a drink…one that he roofied. She is nearly passed out when he starts to put the moves on her but Brooke senses something is up and is able to rescue her. She calls Lucas, who arrives and confronts the guy about drugging Peyton before bringing her home with Brooke and taking care of her.
-In Episode 1.01, Pilot, at the Kiss On The Lips party, Chuck leads Jenny up to the roof and starts to kiss her (skip to 5.50). She’s not into it and slyly texts Dan as Chuck pours them champagne. Cut to Chuck forcibly making out with her as Dan and Serena find them. Chuck abruptly stops as Jenny runs into Dan’s arms. Dan punches Chuck, Serena pushes him and they lead Jenny away. This event is one reason why some people are bothered by Chuck and Jenny’s consensual sex in last month’s season finale.
-In Episode 2.16, You’ve Got Yale, a vengeful and greedy Jack confronts Lily (skip to 1:24), who has teamed up with Chuck to retain control of Bass Industries. Chuck enters as Jack is forcing himself on her and he gets Jack off of her. Lily is shaken, Chuck is pissed and Jack is further exposed as the villain he really is.
-In Episode 2.22, Confessions, Naomi’s car won’t start, so she heads into West Beverly for help. She finds Mr. Cannon, whom earlier in the season, she accused of sexually harassing her after he accused her of offering to sleep with him in order to earn her spot back on the Blaze staff. They talk for a bit about different things, including Naomi’s false accusation. He later takes her hand and kisses her. She pushes him away, but he says he knows she wanted him to do it and she doesn’t need to feel guilty. He tells her to stop teasing and that she has a harassment fantasy and is trying to provoke him. She is appalled and pushes him away, leading him to slap her and grab her. She threatens that she will tell and he asks who she would tell because she is “the girl who cried wolf.” Coincidentally, that was the name of one of the episodes in Beverly Hills 90210’s eighth season, during the aforementioned rape storyline with Valerie and Noah.