Effects of Witnessing Child Abuse

by Katie
(Alabama, USA)

I've written about this before, but I feel like I need to get it out of the way again, because I still see these people at random times. When I was ten, I spent the night at my best friend Venessa's house. She was talking on the phone with someone she called her "boyfriend" and she handed me the phone, but I didn't know what to say so I gave it back to her. There was some older guy on the phone and I thought it was weird for an old guy to be a ten-year-old's boyfriend.

The next morning I woke up, and I think she and her mom were already fighting. I can't really remember what led up to it, but before I knew it, Venessa's mom was kicking and punching her on the front porch. The cars driving through the neighborhood honked their horns and some of them slowed down. Venessa's mom yelled at them to call the police. She didn't care anyway and kept hitting her. I ran to the room and called my parents, but Venessa stopped me before anyone answered and told me not to tell anyone because they'd take her away from her house and she'd have to go to a different school and we couldn't be friends anymore. She convinced me not to tell....

Later on that month, someone called at my house and I answered. It was a man's voice and he asked for Venessa, who I assumed was my sister because her friends called the house a lot. I told him it was me, Katie, and he said, "Oh...then can we have the sex?" It freaked me out, and my dad who was in the room saw something was wrong. He took the phone from me and started asking questions. My sister got in trouble for letting guys call the house, especially guys who sounded drunk. I never told them I'd talked to the guy in my friend Venessa's house. In fact, my family doesn't know anything about what happened to her or that man, and I still don't know who the man was.

I still see Venessa and her mom, who is apparently part of a housing program for the mentally ill in my city (which ironically, my dad works for).

I don't think I was ever abused, but I witnessed it and it definitely has hit me pretty hard.

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