DEAR ABBY: I'm 10 years old and worried about my friend "Kelly." Her father has fought in two wars and suffers from PTSD, and when he loses it, he hits her.
I really want to tell someone who can help her, but she wants to "keep it a secret." I'm afraid if I tell, my best friend will get separated from her family. What should I do? -- HOPING TO HELP A FRIEND
DEAR HOPING TO HELP: Some secrets are meant to be kept, but physical abuse isn't one of them. One of the saddest things about abuse is that the victims often come to believe they deserve it because that's what the abuser tells them (This is YOUR fault -- YOU made me do this!). Of course, when someone loses control, it isn't the victim's fault but rather the abuser's, because the abuser is unable to control his (or her) emotions.
There are worse things than being removed from a violent family situation, among them the risk of serious injury. That's why it's important that you tell a trusted adult what's happening to Kelly. This needs to be reported so her father can get the help he so desperately needs.