Tough Decisions

by Elizabeth McGinn on May 6, 2021

Creative Non-Fiction

Trigger Warning: This poem includes
references to sexual assault and rape.

woman wearing a skirt
Photo courtesy of

by Anna Pomeroy ’23

Since the moment our voices make that tremendous cry, we’ve been thrown onto a path. The doctor’s palms whisk us away into the comforting arms of a mother, a mother given to us merely by fate. Born into a family of strangers, realistically. It’s crazy how we are told our whole lives that we choose what we make of it, yet we truly are only brought into a life with strings attached that we did not form. With two siblings after me, I was born into the role of the oldest sibling— not by choice. Becoming the second voice of a parent under the roof wasn’t easy. At Christmas, my mom, through valid attempts to make present shopping easier, presumed that my sister and I morphed into the same character, gifting the pink version of a shirt for me, and the blue for her. Yet, we eventually grew into our own skin. The home, the town, and the state we were born into are random, with little control granted to family income opportunities for varying education. Assigned a gender at birth, this is never a choice. I am grateful for being born a female in a world of strong feminist morals, but I frankly had no control over the assumptions made about me due to my gender. I have sometimes been told by society and social media what is “ok” to wear and what is “not”––that I cannot walk alone at night without baring keys between my white knuckles and faking a phone call to my dad. No control regarding doing the same job as male colleagues but given less pay due to my gender. How downright scary it is for women that someone could even think an incident of sexual assault could have been influenced by the clothes I chose to wear that morning. They say we make life our own and can choose what happens, yet, because we are born into a society with an imbalanced structure of power, I will hear your outfit is too distracting,” “yeah, well you did well for a girl, but what were you wearing when you were raped?