DEAR ABBY: I'm a 15-year-old girl in high school. Two days ago I went to my friend "Kate's" house to work on a school project. After we started working on it, Kate's sister, "Nell" -- who is 9 -- accidentally stepped on the poster board and bent it a little. It was something that was easily fixable, but Kate lost it. She started yelling and verbally abusing Nell.
When Nell tried to leave the room, she tripped over Kate's pencil pouch, which was in her way. With an "I warned you," Kate jumped up and punched her little sister in the stomach -- hard. Nell fell to the floor and started crying, and Kate kicked her until Nell finally crawled out of the room.
Their parents were not home, but were coming back in a few hours. I was shocked by what I saw. Kate seemed perfectly calm and just sat down and started working on our project again.
Should I tell anyone what I saw? I'm not sure if Kate does this all the time, and I'm afraid if I tell on her, she'll accuse me of "betraying" her. She has a lot of influence at school, but I feel I can't just stand there watching Kate beat up her little sister. -- SCARED FOR NELL IN THE U.S.A.
DEAR SCARED FOR NELL: The kind of assault you witnessed is not harmless sibling anger. Your friend has self-control issues that should not be ignored. Sucker-punching someone in the stomach can cause internal damage -- and kicking someone when he or she is down can crack ribs, bruise one's kidneys and liver, and create injuries that need to be evaluated by a physician.
Both of those girls need help -- and the way to see that they get it would be for you to tell your parents what happened so they can have a talk with Kate and Nell's parents.