The year was 1979 and Laura Baldwin was a young wife to Scotty (Kin Shriner), her law student husband, whom she tried to help make ends meet by waitressing at the Campus Disco. One night after the disco closed, a fellow employee, Luke Spencer, asked Laura to dance. Eventually, that dance took an ugly turn as Luke raped Laura and the show played it as just that — a rape. Laura even told Scotty and the police she had been raped, but did not say who her attacker was.
However, the fans somehow took a liking to Luke and Laura together, and as “The Survival of Soap Opera” author Abigail De Kosnik put it to People, “They became popular not despite the rape, but partly because of it.” Shocking as that may sound, Genie Francis revealed in a 2010 interview with FoundationINTERVIEWS that Gloria Monty instructed her “to play rape” during the scene, but then later softened her direction of the character to say it “was really more of a seduction than a rape.” This manipulation of the storyline served to effectively whitewash for years what was actually a date rape.
As society changed and as views on sexual assault changed, “General Hospital,” as well the stars who played Luke and Laura, had to deal with how this couple came to be.
If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN’s National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).