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TV REVIEW : 'Love Hurts' Documents Abusive Teen Relationship

September 16, 1993|LYNNE HEFFLEY

Reflecting the current epidemic of domestic violence that finds even teen-age girls--a reported one out of five--in abusive relationships, today's sobering "ABC Afterschool Special" (at 3 p.m. on Channels 7, 3 and 42) charts the course of one such relationship in order to help young women break the cycle of violence or avoid it altogether.

In "Love Hurts," 16-year-old Christy (Holly Shaw), a promising pianist, can't please her basketball-star boyfriend, Michael (Paul M. White). A poor student with an abusive father, Michael takes out his frustrations on Christy, jealous of the time she spends on piano and on her friends and family. When he's not bullying or bruising her, however, he's contrite, sweet and loving, showering her with gifts and promises to "never do it again," while stressing that it is her fault it happens.

The violence escalates as Michael's pressures at school and home increase, but it takes several sessions in group counseling and a serious injury before Christy understands that she is not to blame and that she must leave the relationship.

Written and directed by Neal Miller without gratuitous violence, the hourlong drama clearly defines a battered woman's confusion, misplaced compassion, crumbling self-regard, guilt and false hopes.

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