You're absolutely right. I'm not sure why I was so stunned at my friend's statement that they knew nothing about what was happening to Dave Pelzer. Perhaps I was basing my thinking on my reading of A Child Called It, where Dave describes things like being taken to the hospital all beat up, bruised and cut, and then getting sent home by doctors who must have known what was happening at home. Dave was also sent to school badly clothed, and starving to such an extent that he tried to steal food in school. All those things were noticed by his teachers.
But that said, yes, where sexual abuse is concerned it's almost always done in secret and the boy, ashamed and afraid, hides what's going on so well that even those closest to him have no clue what's happening. In my own case, when I finally disclosed to my parents two years ago they were absolutely shocked. Once they thought about it, okay, a lot of things began to make sense. But back then they had no idea.
Thanks for pointing this out. It's a very important observation.
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me. (Woody Guthrie)