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Teens Tackle Issue Of Date Rape

June 09, 1987|STACY FINZ

SAN DIEGO — A group of teen-age boys gathers in a locker room as one brags about his sexual "triumphs." Then the scene quickly cuts to a 16-year-old girl who has just been raped. She feels victimized, dehumanized and even a little guilty.

This scenario is one of four vignettes written and produced by the New Image Teen Theatre. "Date Rape: 'No' Isn't Always Enough," which will air on KPBS-TV at 8 p.m. Wednesday and at 2 p.m. Sunday, deals with defining date rape, examining societal attitudes and discussing methods of prevention. The play will be followed by a panel discussion featuring local experts in the field.

The theater troupe, made up of San Diego teen-agers, writes and performs material dealing with social issues for young people in the community. "Date Rape" was financed by the Junior League and is New Image's third piece to be shown on KPBS.

"We have done a lot of performances in the past on drug and alcohol abuse and incest," said Carla Kirkwood, director of New Image Teen Theatre. "Both the Junior League Fund and us thought this project was very important. The kids really wanted to do it."

The group started the project in January. Before writing the scenes, the eight members of the company and Kirkwood spoke with people who had counseled rape victims as well as women who had been raped.

According to authorities, Kirkwood said, date rape is the most common form of forced sex among teen-agers.

"We learned statistics from these people," she said. "The victims gave us the emotional ramifications of rape. After we got our facts, I began training the kids in voice and movement. Before developing an actual script, we worked from improvisation. Later we developed story lines and characters."

Amy Bamberger, a 16-year-old Crawford High School student who plays one of the rape victims, said she likes to work with social topics.

"It makes me feel like I have a purpose in society," she said. "I think it is very important to talk about this kind of thing. The message has to get out."

Bamberger said it was a little traumatizing preparing for her part.

"After meeting actual rape victims, it made the topic even realer," she said. "The scary thing is thinking this can happen to me. I think after working on the play I'll be more cautious.

"I think it's important for young people to see it. They can learn a lot."

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