Read “Witness,” my short story in Pink Panther Magazine

“Closing her eyes she sees him step off the curb when she told him it was safe. He could have been killed. She swears to herself that’s not what she wanted. But she can barely breathe, her head hurts, because she isn’t sure.”

Children who witness domestic violence see no way to keep it from happening. In “Witness,” Moira remembers her father attacking her mother, the frightening, powerless feeling of not knowing how to stop him. In a sudden, impulsive moment of desperation, she resorts to the only answer she knows can have any effect: violence. “Witness” is the opening story in my collection PIECES. Moira appears in several stories, and we recognize the effect her father’s behavior has had on her view of herself and her relationships. In “Witness,” Moira’s father has driven her to a point—much like she experienced as a child—where she feels cornered, unable to stop his cruelty. Her behavior can’t be excused but it can be understood. Violence stirs a child’s fight-or-flight impulse, and the choices are few. Most children can do nothing. But the effects remain, they can take root over the years until the child’s responses to threats trigger something they can’t control. In truth, the witness to such violence is as damaged as the victim.