John Marsden Writing Topic #125

Write a piece centring on a question of discrimination on the grounds of sexuality**

How dare I live within my rights!

I walk home at night,

grip my phone nice and tight,

the stars are big and bright

but not bright enough

for me to feel completely tough.

If the worse shall strike,

I’ll be told that my own actions

brought on my strife.

How dare I live within my rights!


If I’m ever slain,

people will only look at me to blame,

instead of putting the perp

to much deserved shame

How dare I live within my rights!


If I ever disappear

everyone will try to build fear

to stop this from happening again,

it’s my fault for going out at night!

I should have gotten a lift from a friend!

I shouldn’t have walked home!

I shouldn’t be alone!

It’ll always be my fault,

even though my only fault

will be doing nothing wrong.

How dare I live within my rights!


Will this attitude change?

Where the wrong person is put to blame?

When will this attitude change?

When will women be allowed to feel safe–

wherever they happen to be

whatever they happen to wear

whatever time of day

no matter who they are.

How dare society question our rights!


How dare I stand up for our rights!


#For this writing topic, I interpreted the question in regards to the grounds of gender rather than sexuality. This poem expresses the fury I feel whenever a woman is attacked and/or murdered and the media and society focus on her actions and somehow twist them to make her attack and/or murder her fault and not the perp’s, especially since this never happens when a male is the victim.


**Reference: Marsden J 1998, Everything I Know About Writing, Pan Macmillan, Australia.

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