(May 18-19, 2002)
Teens confused by issues of date rape, violence and casual sex
The news trucks descended, first in Braintree, then in Canton.
In a one-week period in early February, six high school students
were charged with raping four 15-year-old classmates in separate,
unrelated cases. Residents in the communities reeled at the news,
shocked that the suspects, five of whom are popular athletes, faced
such serious charges. But shock quickly turned to divisiveness.
Lines were drawn between those who believed the girls, and those
who blamed them. READ MORE ....
diseases on the rise
At first glance, the statistics are heartening: The number of Massachusetts
teenagers giving birth fell to a 30-year-low in 2000. But the positive
picture the number paints may belie the truth about teenagers and
safe sex. READ MORE ...
Some teens think No
In the minds of many high school boys, rape isnt always wrong.
A Patriot Ledger survey of 527 high school students conducted for
this series found that 7 percent of boys said it was OK to force
a girl to have sex on a date. The lines got blurrier - and the numbers
got higher - when the boys were given various what-if scenarios.
READ MORE ...
Profile of Patriot
Ledger teen focus group
They were nervous about coming, but showed up anyway. Ten teenagers
- most of whom had never met - sat quietly around a conference table.
The Patriot Ledger invited the students - six girls and four boys
- for a four-hour conversation about sex, rape, dating violence
and the teen social scene. All had their parents permission
to attend. Their intial shyness didnt last long. READ
Mutual respect makes
When 18-year-old Michelle Sonia started taking yoga classes this
year as a way to relieve stress, her boyfriend decided to join her.
Now, Michelle and Andy Whelan, 17, spend part of each Sunday at
the Hanson Holistic Center practicing breathing and stretching.
Michelle, who lives in Hanson, and Andy, of Abington, say that balance
of supporting each other while maintaining their own identities
is what makes their relationship work. READ
Victim profile: Against
He was her best friend. Then one May night during their senior
year in high school, Grace awoke to find her red flannel pajama
pants pulled down and her friend astride her. Even as she lay there,
held down in bed, she couldnt admit that a friend she trusted
and cared for could do this. She couldnt call it rape, not
even in her mind. She didnt think to, didnt know to.
READ MORE ...
Day 2 (May
Behind closed doors
Teen victims often unwilling to report
Two days after she was raped in the home of a new boyfriend, the
17-year-old girl willingly detailed the incident for Rockland police.
Sgt. John Llewellyn was sure he had a solid case after only one
interview with the teenager: Her clothes would provide useful physical
evidence, and her story was convincing. A few days after that first
interview, however, the girl was back in police headquarters. Embarrassed
and scared, she no longer wanted to cooperate, and police were left
with few options. READ MORE ...
Teens accused of rape
lose it all
A high school student accused of rape faces consequences even before
a court decides the issue of guilt or innocence. There is almost
always an immediate suspension or expulsion from school, sports
teams and other extracurricular activities. The stigma of being
a sex offender attaches itself to accused teens well before their
cases reach trial. READ MORE ...
Parents, police among
last to know
Teenage girls arent telling their parents or police when
they are sexually assaulted or raped, often because they feel less
like victims than accessories to the crime. And they are worried
that others will blame them as much as they blame themselves because
of the clothes they wore, the beer they drank or the boys they hung
around with. READ MORE ...
Silence and secrets:
Victim never reported her offender
When Anna was 14, she was afraid to tell her parents she was sexually
assaulted after a high school dance, afraid she might get in trouble
for drinking beer or being alone with a boy in his car. So she kept
the horrible secret hidden - and she suffered the consequences.
READ MORE ...
Day 3 (May
Drawing the line
Media, parents, send teens mixed messages on sex
TA 16-year-old girl is at a party where 20 teenagers are drinking
and socializing. She sees a girlfriend being led to a bedroom by
an older boy, pulling on her arm. The girlfriend is drunk, and the
boy is no one she knows well. What should the friend do? There is
seldom a clear consensus. READ MORE ...
Teen sexual behavior
influenced by friends, movies, TV
Teenagers say friends are the biggest influence on their sexual
behavior, then movies and television. Parents run a distant third.
READ MORE ...
What schools are doing
to address the problem and programs that work
In the 1950s, Wally Cleaver worried about prom dates and skin blemishes
on the TV sitcom Leave It To Beaver. Todays teen
characters confront drug use and date rape. The dramatic differences
are part of class discussion for 10th graders at Cohasset High School.
The purpose: making young people media literate in a
highly sexualized culture. READ MORE
Setting Limits: Parents
struggle to keep teens safe; Tips for parents
Cathy Torrey realized her two daughters were growing up in a different
sexual culture than she did when they were as young as 5 or 6. As
co-chair of the Weymouth town-wide parent council, Torrey has spoken
with many parents about their concerns on how to keep their kids
safe from drugs, alcohol and sexual situations. It often comes down
to mundane daily decisions. READ MORE