The signs that Melissa was being abused started out so subtle, Allisen barely gave them any thought. A painting of something dark and scary. A question about being punched in the mouth. An injury here and there. All well within the realms of “normal” and not warning signs on their own.
But then Melissa started getting injured more frequently, and being reluctant to talk about how she got the injuries. She became reluctant to go to her mom’s house. She expressed worries about her brother and sister.
And that’s when Allisen started getting concerned. As it turned out, Melissa was being physically abused by her mother’s boyfriend at home.
Allisen did the right thing by notifying an adult at Melissa’s school. And Melissa did the right thing in deciding to trust and tell Allisen in the first place. So many people keep their abuse a secret because they’re ashamed, because they’ve been threatened, or because they just don’t feel like they can trust anybody. Abuse is NOT the kind of thing that should be kept a secret. If you or someone you know is being abused, tell a trusted adult IMMEDIATELY, or call the National Child Abuse Hotline: 1 (800) 422-4453.