KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A 12-year-old girl from the metro area says she was the victim of physical and verbal abuse for the first ten years of her life, but she could never find the courage to talk about it.
Now, Serena Pratt has written a book about her experiences to help her cope and hopefully help other kids get out of abusive situations.
"If we ever told anyone what was going on, then they were going to take us from our mother, and then he was going to kill her," said Serena Pratt, reading part of her book aloud and remembering the threats she said her father used to make.
Serena Pratt described the daily horror she endured while living with her biological father, who she says abused her, her sister, and her mother.
"He picked up the vacuum cleaner and started swinging it around trying to hit us with it," Pratt said.
For years she says she kept it all to herself. At school she says she had no friends, and she said her grades suffered because she was always worried about what was happening at home.
"When I wasn't there, I was worrying about what he was doing to my mom," she said.
One day the abuse went too far.
"This is the day that my mom, Ashley, and I left this mean man for good," Serena said.
In the last two years, Serena and her mother have started a new life in an undisclosed part of the region, all the while trying to dodge their former one.
"He had found me in a Walmart parking lot one night and beat me up, and this was after we had left him," explained Misty Frith, Serena's mother.
One way Serena and her mom found the power to overcome their fear was to talk about it, and write about it. Serena sat down one day and wrote everything she had to say in a book called Diary of Abuse Through a Child's Eyes.
"It's not bottled inside anymore," Pratt said.
If you want more information on Serena or her mother's book go to this website.
The following are websites and phone numbers for some local Domestic Violence shelters: