Okay, so I went to the Vagina Monologues (google them if you haven't heard about the movement!) and the feminist cause got me thinking… I want to spread the knowledge. And since the internet is the fastest way to share information, I decided to write a story! :D
So basically, enjoy this story because it's a nifty fanfiction, but also consider the deeper meaning. If you don't completely get it by the end, the incredibly long author's note will probably enlighten you… haha.
No owning of the Twilight! Enjoy! :)
"I don't care what you say, Bells, you should have ordered the prime rib, too."
"Dad!" Bella exclaimed, laughing. "For the last time, I don't really like red meat. And the shimp alfredo was amazing."
"If you say so…"
The two were walking out of a restaurant in Seattle. Bella had convinced him, after much cajoling, that they needed to do something out of the ordinary for Father's Day. When he finally gave in, Alice was already at the door with a gift of two tickets to see a play in Seattle. So it had quickly become a father-daughter show and dinner night. After seeing a matinee showing of the latest non-musical traveling sensation (Charlie begrudgingly agreed to the show, but only because nobody sang) they had been to a fairly nice restaurant for dinner.
Finally it was time to head back to the car. The theater was in fairly bad part of town, so Bella was intentionally walking close to her father. He instinctively had his hand on his police belt, which he wore beneath the blazer he sported for an evening on the town.
Right as the two approached their car, Bella saw something that caused to make a double-take.
"Rosalie?" she said aloud. Charlie looked around.
"What?" he asked, giving Bella a strange look.
"That blonde girl over there – that was Edward's older sister," Bella explained.
"Nonsense," Charlie scoffed. "We're hours out of Forks. And besides, what business would a girl like that have around this part of town?"
Bella thought for a moment before replying.
"That's true," she finally said. "It must have just looked like her from a distance."
But she knew that wasn't the case at all. First of all, nobody looked like Rosalie. Not even from a distance. And when Bella had said the name, the girl had looked at her for a moment. There was no mistaking the amber-colored eyes. Even though the girl who had passed by was wearing a loose t-shirt and jeans, with her hair in a ponytail – definitely not Rosalie's style – Bella had very few doubts.
As soon as she and Charlie got home, she was calling Edward and asking what was up.
"Interesting," Edward murmured, after Bella shared her story.
The two were sitting on the corner of Bella's bed. As soon as she'd said she had a question for him, he took it as an opportunity to come over and have a conversation in person. Charlie had gone to bed fairly soon after they'd gotten back, so there was no issue there. Lights out, the two of them sat cross-legged at the end of the mattress.
"So was it her?" Bella demanded. "Or am I just going crazy?"
"No, it was definitely her," Edward replied softly. "I'm just… not sure if I should tell you this."
Bella bit her lip.
"Well… I honestly don't think you could tell me something that would negatively impact my relationship with her," she suggested, laughing a little. "I don't think there's much there to lose."
Edward thought for a moment.
"Fair enough," he said finally. "And you know, this might actually help a little. Okay. Let me think of how to word this."
He paused again for a moment, and Bella waited patiently for him to continue.
"You remember Rosalie's story, right, Bella?" he asked. "About what happened with her fiancée?"
Bella nodded, though she wasn't really sure what that had to do with the story.
"Yeah, of course."
"Okay. Well, Rosalie didn't get over it for a lot of years. It bothered her a lot – even after Emmett came along. He was patient with her, at least, but that didn't solve her problems. There would be times when she would just stare off into space. Forever. Naturally, Carlisle and Esme were worried about her."
"Of course," Bella said again. "I mean, I understand how that would worry them. But it's still not exactly surprising. What she went though… was awful. Nobody could be expected to come out of something like that totally okay."
"Agreed," Edward replied. "And no doubt Carlisle and Esme understood that too, but they couldn't stand to watch their daughter – only daughter, at the time – struggle through something like that without any kind of outlet. So Carlisle found, through the hospital, something she could do. Have you ever heard of the Seattle Crisis Response Organization?"
"Wait, that's… SCRO, right?" Bella asked. Edward nodded.
"Yeah," Bella said. They have a table in the lunchroom sometimes setting up volunteering stuff."
"That's them," Edward confirmed. "Well, anyway, they've been around awhile. Quite awhile – like since the first time we lived here. That's when Rose first got involved. She's found other places along the way, but she was happy to get involved with this organization when we moved back here. It's easily her favorite."
"What do they do?" Bella asked.
"Well, you've got to understand a few things about the legal system in most parts of the United States," Edward began. Bella resisted the urge to roll her eyes, assuming that this would be important to the story.
"Basically, helpful legal counsel is really hard to come by for victims of what Rosalie went through. They have to wait for it for a very long time, and as soon as they get to the hospital – assuming they even go at all – they have to sign lots and lots of paperwork that doesn't make sense unless you're fluent in legal jargon. Very often they're alone, and they're still incredibly shaken from their experience."
"What about the doctors?" Bella asked, her brow furrowing.
"Doctors are always there, but as Carlisle complains, they can do very little," Edward explained. "They're always pushed for time and have too many patients per shift, and they also have legal constraints on how involved they can get."
"That's so awful," Bella whispered. "Who looks out for those people?"
"Rosalie," Edward said simply. "And other members of the organization. But mostly Rosalie. She's very involved – answers at least one hospital call per week."
Bella noted the pride in Edward's voice. Although she didn't completely understand what Rosalie was doing, she could tell that it was something pretty amazing.
"Basically, Rosalie gets about one call per week that tells her to come to the hospital. She then changes clothes, borrows Emmett's jeep, and rushes over. Once she arrives, she's given a name and room number. The rest is up to her. Ordinarily the occupant of the room is a woman in her mid teens to early twenties – and a victim, just like Rosalie was. So it's Rose's job to hold her hand and work through the paperwork with the doctors."
"That's so incredible," Bella murmured. "And it accounts for everything I saw. The t-shirt, for instance – she wouldn't wear designer clothes downtown like that. And why she was leaving the hospital."
"Exactly," Edward replied. "And it's quite ironic, in a way… it started out as something to help Rosalie deal with the pain and anger she was still feeling, but it has affected so many other people. Because Rose is the perfect person for the job. She's been through law school a couple of times, so she knows the rights of a rape victim to the letter. She also isn't in any danger herself because of who – well, what – she is. She can get there almost immediately after getting the call, because she drives like a Cullen. And, of course, she feels for them… completely."
Edward smiled. Bella wanted to smile in return, but she was absolutely, totally shocked.
"Why doesn't she tell people she does that?" she asked. Edward shrugged.
"It's not really a secret, I don't think, but she's very sensitive about it. It's the only time she really reacts with humans that well. And she still feels a lot of pain just spending time with them… it brings back a lot of bad memories."
Bella sighed. Though she was nodding, it didn't look to Edward as though she was completely satisfied by his explanation.
"There are just so many other things she could be doing to get her mind off her past," Bella said, confirming Edward's suspicion. "I just don't see why she had to choose one that causes her so much pain."
"It's because she wants to help," Edward said. "She feels like it's her duty. Carlisle has his calling – fixing people up physically – and she has hers, which is fixing them up emotionally. She really wants to help people, because she is capable of love, as much as she likes to deny it, but those are the only humans with whom she feels she has anything in common."
Bella wiped her cheek, and her fingers came back moist. She had been so wrapped up in Edward's story that she didn't realize she had started to cry.
"That's such an amazing thing," she managed to say.
"I know," Edward agreed. "She really is an amazing person, as hard as that is too see sometimes past all the arrogance. She struggles to get along with people, but a lot of that is guilt. She still has a lot of… baggage. As much as it does hurt her, sometimes I feel like the times she can use her experience and vampiric abilities to help others are the only times she really likes herself."
The conversation changed directions not long after that, but Rosalie was remained somewhere in the back of Bella's mind for a long time to follow.
And it wasn't the Rosalie from school.
The Rosalie with designer pumps, perfectly-styled hair, and artistically-applied make-up was far away – startlingly less significant and looming than she had been before.
The Rosalie that remained with Bella was the one from the hospital in Seattle.
The Rose with her baggy, paint-splattered t-shirt and jeans. The careless, messy ponytail and the wide, surprised eyes – golden from a meal she probably to great care to get as soon as she could before entering the hospital. The Rose that sat around the emergency rooms at strange hours of the night, holding the hands of strangers and mouthing off to insensitive hospital legal counsel.
Oddly, it was the second Rosalie that struck Bella as more painfully beautiful.
Okay, before you review (which I totally hope you do!) I should confess that this was a story with multiple purposes.
Naturally, like most all of my twilight stories, it was a thinly-veiled attempt to convince the community that Rosalie isn't a horrible, mean person. She's misunderstood, she's troubled, she's an arrogant jerk – but she's not a bad person. In the words of Mitch Hansen, "there's a pain underneath her/that makes her just a bit more than forlorn". Anyway, hope that this story made her come across that way – as a long-suffering and confused character with a love she wants to express but can't.
Anyway, on to purpose two, which is really the important one: advocating rape counsel organizations.
60% of sexual assaults are not reported to the police.
In the U.S. alone, in 2007, there were 248,300 REPORTED victims of sexual assault OVER the age of twelve. (Notice how this eliminates two major categories of victims, and it's still a huge number.)
One in six women – and one in thirty-three men – will be sexually assaulted during their lifetime.
(Statistics from RAINN website)
Everything I said through Edward, the narrator, is true in many if not all cases. I'm sure there are places that are more helpful to victims, but logic would suggest that these are not the places where there are the largest numbers of victims, such as big cities and low-income areas. So that's where organizations like the fictional SCRO come into play. There are people who are bedside advocates (like Rosalie in this story) and those who work behind the front lines doing paperwork and scheduling for other volunteers.
So, moral of the story: if you have the time and means, consider getting involved! There's the national network I mentioned earlier: RAINN (Rape Abuse & Incest National Network) and a variety of local crisis lines that would love to have you do anything from answer phones to be a bedside advocate! (Note - consider your own safety as well. We aren't all invincible vampires, and unless you have a big scary guy with you, don't go downtown by yourself at night. Use common sense!)
If this story made you think, share the knowledge! Tell a friend who might get involved somewhere. Tell a friend who you have no idea if they'll get involved. Tell anybody!
Also, on the flip side:
If you ever become the victim of sexual assault, you DO have options.
Of course, calling 911 is the first thing you should do, but from there, find another number to call. Get in touch with an organization that can help you – assault is not something you should (or have to!) deal with alone. Many metropolitan areas have crisis lines and safehouse organizations.
Thanks SO much for reading – and especially for reading the painfully long author's note at the end!
Hope to see ya'll in the twilight fandom again soon! :)