Plenty of people were getting raped on television in the Seventies and Eighties. But General Hospital took a big risk by romanticizing the rape and making Luke, the rapist, a reluctant anti-hero. The emotional subtext of the situation was that Laura, who had always been somewhat fragile, couldn't commit to her feelings for Luke without being a "bad girl" and breaking her vows to her husband Scott.
Luke literally forced the situation- but even he was given an out because he committed the rape when he was very drunk and convinced that he was going to be killed. As Scott's frustration grew both with not finding the rapist and with his knowledge of Laura's feelings for Luke, he became corrupt and twisted, thereby validating Laura's "choice".
|Luke and Laura in their swelling 1981 wedding. For years, they were the supercouple of daytime television|
The lesson: if you're going to tell a controversial, long-term story, think all of the beats through.