Many readers here at Daytime Confidential have had many issues with the way in which ABC has dealt with the Kristina and Keifer abuse storyline on General Hospital. So they have gotten together and created an open letter to Brian Frons for users to mail out and hope to improve the use of PSAs used on the show.
Thanks blackjack21 daisyclover1938, ericaseviltwin, samrocks, and taa2 for all of your hard work! The letter can be viewed after the jump.
December 10, 2009
VIA U.S. MAIL
Mr. Brian Frons, ABC Daytime President
500 S. Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91512
RE: General Hospital PSAs for Kristina/Kiefer Storyline
Dear Mr. Frons,
I am one of the General Hospital viewers who strongly believes that a public service announcement (“PSA”) pertaining to the teen relationship violence storyline should air more frequently as the story continues. Specifically, we feel that ABC/General Hospital should include a PSA addressing the abusive relationship after each episode during which Kiefer physically abuses Kristina.
We appreciate and enthusiastically support ABC’s decision to highlight a socially relevant and pervasive issue. Our concern stems from the conspicuous absence of a regular statement from the network providing guidance and resources to individuals in abusive relationships such as that of Kiefer and Kristina Davis. Given that General Hospital is the highest rated soap among female viewers aged 12 to 17, there is clearly an audience that would benefit from such a message.
As you know, Kiefer’s first act of violence occurred on July 17, 2009 when he struck Kristina for not giving in to his sexual advances. By including a PSA from the national teen dating abuse organization, Love Is Respect, General Hospital ensured that this serious issue was handled in a manner that was educational as well as entertaining. Recently, however, on November 11, 2009, when Kiefer struck Kristina and called her a “stupid bitch,” there was no mediating message provided. This was a very difficult scene to stomach for many viewers, and it was so disturbing that we felt compelled to write to this letter to ABC. Although we recognize that Kristina’s subsequent decision to protect Kiefer and keep quiet is very common reaction—especially among young women—without a sponsored PSA at the end of the show, General Hospital not only legitimized this behavior, but it arguably glamorized it as well.
Please understand that this request is not about our preference for a particular storyline; rather, we are asking for greater sensitivity from ABC/General Hospital with respect to a storyline that is already in progress. Teens today face more challenges than those of us from earlier generations, and relationship violence is more prevalent than ever, affecting teens of all demographic groups. The aftermath of the Chris Brown/Rihanna incident is further proof that no woman is immune from relationship violence. Therefore, while some aspects of the show (e.g., Jason Morgan’s mob lifestyle, or Helena Cassadine’s revenge plots) are clearly fictional and few, if any, viewers would admire or attempt to imitate them in their own lives, the same cannot be said about Kiefer abusing Kristina, or her continued silence.
We have been watching General Hospital for many years and during this time there have been several wonderfully written storylines that were both socially relevant and enlightening, including Monica Quartermaine’s cancer diagnosis, Elizabeth Webber’s rape, Robin Scorpio’s HIV diagnosis, and Sonny’s Bipolar Disorder diagnosis. More recently, despite fans’ mixed reactions to Robin Scorpio-Drake’s Post-Partum Depression storyline, the group therapy scene with actual survivors was highly informative. In addition, the frequency with which ABC aired the Post-Partum Depression PSA provided potential sufferers with regular opportunities to learn about resources available to them. These storylines served as a valuable tool for promoting awareness among viewers without personal experience; further, they served as a method of decreasing the stigma for both survivors, as well as those who were afraid to come forward and seek professional help.
In sum, we believe that increasing the frequency of the PSAs on General Hospital would greatly benefit those who can identify with Kristina, or possibly with Kiefer—especially if they are likely to miss the resolution of the storyline several weeks or months in the future. Therefore, we urge you to consider airing the PSA each time Kiefer engages in an act of violence against his girlfriend Kristina. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me using the information provided above. Thank you for your time and consideration.
So what do you guys think? Do you feel GH is handling the storyline responsibly, or should there be more PSA announcements?