Julia loses it

 By Gabrielle Winkel, Soap Opera Weekly, 1991

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Disillusioned and convinced that the legal system has let her down, Julia (Nancy Lee Grahn) hits her breaking point this week and begins to take matters into her own hands on Santa Barbara.

Viewers may never learn what really happened between Dash (Timothy Gibbs) and Julia behind closed doors several months ago. She says she was raped. He says she's lying. He was arrested. He was acquitted. Now he plans to sue Julia for defamation of character.

However, it's Julia's response that's the twist to this story. Instead of hiring a lawyer on the advice of Mason (Gordon Thompson), who remains loyal to his ex-wife throughout this crisis, she begins being nice to Dash - at least to his face. She's also accumulating weapons and has just rented a secluded cabin.

That's all the plot Santa Barbara staffers are revealing. However, Grahn and Gibbs have strong opinions and much enthusiasm and respect for where the storyline is going. Grahn says, "She's (Julia) not behaving appropriately, but it's human. Everyone has a breaking point - no matter how enlightened or how focused you are - and I think this is her breaking point. She has put her faith in the justice system... and here she's come to a situation where a great injustice has happened to her. It's not, "Did he or didn't he?" She did get raped, and the justice system didn't protect her."

"The beauty of the storyline," says Gibbs," is that it's hard to tell whether she's nuts or Dash is nuts. He believes he didn't rape her. He loves her. I think what happened is that Dash was not fully aware of her feelings at the time. Often her "noes" didn't mean anything. Dash thought, "Well, that's the way she is. She's indecisive, neurotic and I love her for that.""

The fact that Dash appears to be a nice guy makes it a story that could have come out of today's headlines. It also makes it intriguing for both actors to play. "Tim is playing it exactly right. Many of these guys (in today's headlines) come across seeming like the most innocent kind of Ivy League, decent-looking men, but they say, "She asked for it" or "She wanted it," " says Grahn.

Both actors have done some research into date rape. Gibbs was introduced to a professional who studies the psychology of the date-rapist. Grahn has taken it a step further. She's been asked to be the spokesperson for the National Victim Center - an organization that serves 7,500 local, state and national organizations, and that helps the real Julias in the world (as well as many other victims and their families).

For Grahn, Julia's story will only be resolved when Dash admits his guilt. She adds, "There's a lot of worrying about protecting his character; they don't want to get rid of him because he's a rapist. But the issue is so strong, I don't think they should worry about that. If you make someone sorry enough about what they've done, he'll be redeemed, you know, the ultimate forgiveness is to forgive someone who raped you."