Short Stories About Abuse

Stories with all forms of abuse – physical, sexual, psychological, emotional – will be placed on this page.

The Molesters | Joyce Carol Oates

A six-year-old girl recounts an experience of abuse at a creek with a stranger. She tells it three times, adding more details the second and third times.

Galloping Foxley | Roald Dahl

A man’s morning routine commute to work is disturbed by a new train passenger. He eventually identifies the newcomer as the person who tormented him unmercifully as a child.

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Sweat | Zora Neale Hurston

Delia supports her abusive, cheating husband by washing clothes. He comes up with a plan to get rid of her, to take up with his mistress.

Read “Sweat”

The Gold of Tomas Vargas | Isabel Allende

Tomas Vargas is a miserly, adulterous, and abusive man who is disliked by everyone in town. One day a young woman, one of Tomas’s affairs, comes looking for him. His wife is furious and finally takes a stand against him.

Woman Hollering Creek | Sandra Cisneros

Cleofilas marries Juan Pedro and leaves her family in Mexico to live in small-town Texas. She soon finds herself trapped in a lonely, unsettling life with an abusive husband.

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Customs of the Country | Madison Smartt Bell

A young mother tries to get her life back together after her husband is sentenced to twenty-five years in prison and her son, Davey, is taken from her when she injures him.

The Answer is No | Naguib Mahfouz

A new headmaster is appointed at a school. One of the female teachers is dazed after hearing the news; he had been her private tutor when she was fourteen.

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Skipper | Alden Nowlan

Ethel and Rupert have five sons. Skipper is the youngest son, and Ethel wants to keep him from his father’s world, the world that claimed her other four sons – working at the mill, getting drunk, and abusing his family.

Hop-Frog | Edgar Allan Poe

The king loves jokes, especially practical jokes. His court jester, or “fool”, is a dwarf and a cripple named Hop-Frog. The king treats him badly, but Hop-Frog does his best to get by. A great state party is approaching, so the king turns to his “fool” for some costume advice.


Vanka | Anton Chekhov

An orphan apprenticed to a shoemaker surreptitiously writes a letter to his grandfather, asking to be taken to live with him, so he can escape his life of deprivation and mistreatment.

Read “Vanka”

The Whore’s Child | Richard Russo

The narrator is the professor of a university fiction writing class. An elderly nun who lives nearby, Sister Ursula, shows up in class although she has neither registered nor completed the prerequisite courses. She writes her memoir, beginning with her childhood in a Belgian convent. Her mother was a prostitute, so she becomes known as the whore’s child and is mistreated due to her low social status.

Read “The Whore’s Child”

A Municipal Report | O. Henry

The narrator goes to Tennessee for a meeting with Azalea Adair. He represents a literary magazine that is interested in publishing Adair’s work. Adair is poor and frail.

Read “A Municipal Report”