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FOCUS: ORANGE COUNTY COMMUNITY NEWS | Countywide

'Lolita' Angers Child Protection Activists

July 30, 1998|BONNIE HARRIS HAYES

In light of the upcoming release of "Lolita," a controversial film in which a man has a sexual fascination with a prepubescent girl, Orange County child protection activists are encouraging "responsible discussions" about the long-term, devastating effects of incest.

"This film is dangerous because it presents this relationship as some kind of normal, romantic fantasy," said Sally Nava Kanarek, director of Mothers and Others Against Child Abuse in Santa Ana. "Incest is not about love, it's about perversion. It's about victims."

Kanarek met Wednesday with representatives of other child abuse prevention groups to denounce the film's national broadcast this Sunday on Showtime and its limited showings at a small Los Angeles movie house.

Based on the Vladimir Nabokov novel, the new movie version of "Lolita" premiered in Europe after being refused by American studio executives last year. It traces, in dramatic detail, the conflicted attraction one man has for his 12-year-old stepdaughter.

But the story does not address the irreversible damage such a relationship can have on young victims, said Mary Cangelosi, director of VOICES, a Tustin-based support group. About one in 20 Americans is a victim of incest, she said.

"Society already doesn't want to talk about this problem," she said. "Now it's being glorified on TV and it's flat-out irresponsible. We have to address it and talk about it and look at it for what it is. We have to help the many young victims who are living in shame because an adult who they were supposed to be able to trust took advantage of them."

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