Privilege Does Not Always Protect

Little girls are taught that boys being boys,

will torment to show their love.


Big girls will claim that love makes up

for bruises,

broken bones and split lips.


I am lucky not to have known that sort of that love.

I’ve never been struck

by someone claiming their heart beats for me

while echoing the beating with their fists.


When it happens to a man

they are reduced to the weaker sex,

because it’s bad enough when a woman

doesn’t have the balls to leave.


Without experiencing the same thing

I can’t say for certain,

but I’ve carried enough fear with me

to understand what it is to cling

to the things we know.



is a tricky word to stick

when most of us hide

the things dragging us down.



  1. the human heart and body have resilience beyond comprehension. fear holds us back from seeing the truth masked by words of love and regret. your words hit some tender nerves Carol. well written


  2. I’m afraid I was one of those girls, little and big, Carol, but not anymore. Thank you for this poem, which reminds me what a lucky escape I had and how privileged I am now.


  3. My mother was battered by all three of her husbands. I vowed never to strike a woman, and unless I’m mugged or attacked by one, I should be able to keep that vow.


  4. This is very dark and disturbing and I am thankful never to have experience this. I can’t imagine what it is to be on the other side, yikes.


  5. An interesting poem. Sometimes privilege may keep a person in a bad situation. Leverage is the downside of privilege and many use it well to manipulate and control others.


  6. Oh, this speaks of such a harsh reality — how you portray this violence reminds me of the perpetuation of strict gender roles and stereotypes, where violence against women stays hidden because of lack of opportunities/social support for help and violence against men stays unreported because of misconceived notions of masculinity and strength.

    This bit is so interesting in its thought and depth: “to understand what it is to cling/to the things we know.”


  7. There’s also some privilege in being able to hide the ugly bits sometimes, too. This poem is much more nuanced than it first seems.


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