"Excuse me, young lady. We have the ambulance on their way, and they want to know what happened to Drew Winston." "He said he was going to do me good," Dawn replied purposefully to the administrative assistant in the high-school office. "I wanted to make sure that everyone in this school knew... show more
"Excuse me, young lady. We have the ambulance on their way, and they want to know what happened to Drew Winston." "He said he was going to do me good," Dawn replied purposefully to the administrative assistant in the high-school office. "I wanted to make sure that everyone in this school knew that would never ever happen. I pushed him away and tripped him, and as he fell, he hit his head on the corner of a water fountain, which was not my intent. He's bleeding from his head and is in convulsions." Within twenty-four hours of beginning her senior year at Fair Shore High School as a new student, Dawn Mortenson had chosen to fight the town's acceptance of the bullying and sexual abuse of young women by confronting Drew Winston, the school's All-American quarterback. Following that confrontation, she received multiple death threats, so her mother had to hire a security firm to protect herself and her daughter. That move did not work, as Dawn was kidnapped soon afterwards and ended up in the hospital. When Dawn had been released from the hospital, she had already gained a national reputation, which attracted more people who wanted her dead. She survived the bombing of a building she was visiting, which prompted FBI involvement. She stunned the agent who interviewed her, when in answer to his question about people who would like her killed, she was able to provide evidence of over fifty individuals who had specifically threatened her-including a police officer from her hometown, who had told her that he hoped the next attempt on her life would succeed. Dawn also clashed at times with those who even supported her efforts. A reporter in town had presented himself as someone who wanted to help. In describing why the culture of rape, bullying, and abuse has been tolerated in town, he ended with the statement, "Everybody is seen as winning, male and female alike. It is a great American success story. Fair Shore residents have paid top dollar to join the winning team and are disinclined to raise any questions about the unsavory practices that support its continuation. There is a feeling that 'boys will be boys.'" In response, Dawn exploded, "And you choose to support this? Goddamn you. Goddamn all of you. Let's only hope, Mr. Bruschi, that the success of this 'everybody-wins' model spreads to towns all across America. Let's only hope that, within a few years, tens of thousands of young women can be treated the Fair Shore way and be raped without comment, so that 'boys can be boys.'" As she turned and headed toward the door, Joseph moved quickly to stop her. "Dawn, don't leave." "Go to hell. I thought there was hope with you because of some of the writing you've done. That series you did on the woman who overcame severe automobile injuries and resumed her career as an engineer after everybody said she would never work again was powerful." "She is a remarkably brave young lady." "And there are a lot of them out there, but your silence is ensuring that they will have to fight that much harder to create the stories they were born to tell." Dawn's battle against the status quo lands a number of friends and enemies either in the hospital, in jail, or in an early grave. She uses rock-and-roll through befriending high-school band members who write their own lyrics that challenge the status quo, along with a combination of personal courage and mental toughness, to change the town forever, although at a huge personal cost.