From the child's view
Daddy had said that it was their special secret and that if she told, they would all be in trouble. Angela would never see him again and her family might be split up. Daddy said she was his little princess and he gave her presents. But Angela didn’t want to be a princess. It didn’t make her feel special; it made her feel sad and frightened. At the end of school one day, Angela couldn’t make herself move from her desk. She loved her dad, but she knew she couldn’t trust him. She didn’t want to be a princess anymore. Her teacher asked her what was wrong. So Angela told the teacher. The teacher took her to the principal’s office. What had she done wrong? She’d never been to the principal’s office before. While her teacher and the principal talked in the office, Angela trembled outside in a chair. Maybe her daddy was right. Maybe telling would only get everyone into trouble. The principal came out and gently smiled as he sat beside her. “Angela, it is important to tell the truth.” So Angela told the principal. And then a lady who said she was a social worker came with diagrams and questions. So Angela told the social worker. Then two policemen came with guns and badges and told Angela that she needed to come with them and talk to some people downtown. They told her that her mother was coming from work and would meet her there. So Angela went with the police. At the police station, Angela looked for her mother everywhere. She saw a man in handcuffs. She saw a rumpled woman, with wild hair and eyes, yelling angrily at no one. She held her breath as she passed a large man who smelled of urine and alcohol. Where was her mother? With a lump in her chest, Angela thought, “Maybe she’s not coming. What if she has to pick between Dad and me. What if she chooses him?” Up some stairs, in a small room, a man in a tie told her she must tell the truth. So Angela told the detective. The detective told Angela that she was very brave and that it took a big girl to do what she had done today. But Angela didn’t feel very brave or big at all. She was only 10 years old, she had just wet her pants and she had never felt smaller or more scared in her life.