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Abusive Acts: GH

In previous posts I have given a lot of praise to General Hospital for their decision to tell a story about a teenager involved in an abusive relationship because I believe that teenagers and parents alike need to know that this happens and what can be done to prevent it. I also believe that when a show decides to take on this subject matter they need to be careful about the unintentional messages they are sending in their efforts to tell a story. For the most part General Hospital has been able to tell a story of an abused teenager both accurately and sensitively, showing both the mental and physical elements that make up abusive relationships. And I continue to applaud the show for ending every episode that features Kristina being abused by her boyfriend with helpful information for the viewers. However, this storyline took an irresponsible detour on Friday and I am not referring to Kiefer's escalated act of abuse. Although that was difficult to watch it was realistic, and a certain amount of realism is necessary in order to tell a story of this nature.

What was unnecessary were the bruises Ethan left on Kristina's arm. This was not essential to the story I believed GH was trying to tell. If anything Ethan leaving those bruises sends the message that it is okay if a guy leaves marks on you as long as he doesn't smack you around.This message, unintentional as it may have been, seems especially clear when one considers that Ethan, by all accounts, is a good guy and a potential future love interest for Kristina.

Obviously Ethan did not mean to hurt Kristina, but just the mere fact that he left bruises behind indicates he was being too rough. This never should have been a factor in this storyline. Obviously this was written in to make Ethan seem all the more guilty once Kristina accused him of beating her up. However he still could have been a suspect even without Kristina's bruised arm. Not only did he yell at her in a public place, but it is normal for someone like Kristina who is being abused to protect her abuser by placing the blame elsewhere. Furthermore in a case like this Kristina's loved ones will be inclined to believe anything she says about who hurts her with or without evidence. In my opinion Ethan should have only been involved in this abuse story to the extent that he helps Kristina get out of a bad situation. For months I have felt that Ethan exemplified for Kristina how men were supposed to treat women in the aftermath of Sonny's verbal attack on Claudia, and in the midst of Kiefer's abuse. Now that Ethan has subjected Kristina to a certain amount of verbal abuse himself and has left marks on her arm in anger, he no longer seems like someone who should be used as an example of how women should be treated. This will only confuse teenage viewers and help them justify and rationalize abusive acts in their own relationships.


  1. Paula,

    My daughter was home from college and we watched today's episode. Other than an obvious continuity flaw (Ethan comes in with "Somebody help me here, and then it cuts to Robin and Patrick have a calm conversation when in reality, it should have been the other way around), I had to pause the beginning to fill her in on what had happened.

    I agree - having Ethan cause a bruise was completely unnecessary particularly since Kristina scratched his face, making him seem suspicious. I think if they had the scene develop so that Ethan and Kristina were yelling and Luke came over and escorted Kristina out would have been a lot better. But then, Sam would have nothing to complain about and Ethan wouldn't have found Kristina.

    My daughter was distressed seeing Kristina's face; I just found it hard to watch because it brought back bad memories for myself. So kudos to the GH writers for doing this, even though it could have developed a bit better.

  2. Hi Peggy!

    Yeah, I noticed that flaw you are referring to I was like what, did no one hear him? That was some strange editing.

    Yeah, the "defense wounds" on Ethan were just ridiculous. Obviously Kiefer doesn't have those marks.

    They could have left Sam out of the picture completely and just had Ethan feel guilty for yelling at Kristina, prompting him to go over to her house and apologize, only to find that she had been beaten up.

    I'm so sorry this storyline is bringing up bad memories for you. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to see Kristina looking like that because it did look very realistic. I hope that this storyline will help other people who find themselves in abusive relationships. That is why I hate how they have involved Ethan in all this. I am afraid they might be blurring the lines a little too much, particularly for their teenage viewers.



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