What do you suppose something like this does to a kid?
There are a lot of things Moral Guardians
believe kids should not be exposed to, and that doesn't just include violence and bad language. Issues such as sexuality, death of loved ones, bad guys winning, and other things are generally kept from kids until they're considered mature enough to understand them, or at least handled with extreme sensitivity. Because Children Are Innocent
But sometimes a kid comes across something kids shouldn't see anyway. Maybe the kid accidentally opens the parents' bedroom door while they're getting it on
. Maybe the kid has a parent who dies violently before their eyes. Maybe some other thing happens that throws the kid into the harsh realities of life before they're ready. Expect at least one image of Blood-Splattered Innocents
Often used as a Freudian Excuse
for iniquitous characters.
Note that this isn't about what is or isn't harmful to minors in real life. Plot device, people.
See Corruption of a Minor
; contrast Corruption by a Minor
, Troubling Unchildlike Behavior
, and Bloodbath Villain Origin
. Compare What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?
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Kids being exposed to horrific violence
Anime and Manga
- At the very of his backstory, Bruce Wayne's parents were killed before his very eyes, which led him to become Batman.
- In a recent retelling of Captain Marvel's origin story, Billy Batson spends most of it treating the superhero gig as a fun adventure. Then his best friend Scott is fatally shot by assassins sent after Billy by Doctor Sivana, and dies on the operating table despite Billy getting him to the hospital as quickly as possible. Billy as Captain Marvel bursts into Sivana's office and barely stops himself from killing him, then flies off to a deserted snowpeaked mountain and sobs over his best friend's death. Superman isn't happy that Shazam passed the burden of this power onto Billy (though he did it because Billy was the only person on Earth that Shazam could trust with that power) because "[Little kids] shouldn't have to worry about assassins attacking them and killing their best friends!"
- In IDW's recent Godzilla comics, one of the characters is a young girl who ends up losing her entire family in a kaiju attack. She also witnesses some pretty fucked up stuff during the course of the first series like brutal fistfights and violent kaiju battles. The main protagonist Frank Woods even admits that he dosen't think she'll be able to have a normal childhood after all this.
- In Green Arrow: Quiver, when Oliver Queen is returned from the dead, part of the villain's plot is to kidnap the boy, Stanley, and expose him to murderous horrors to summon his monster companion. Eventually, the elder and younger Green Arrows come to rescue the kid, but the Monster appears too. The Monster refuses to obey the commands of the villain and eats him alive instead, with Oliver Queen staying aside, thinking it's an appropriate punishment. The Monster then frees Stanley and takes him home to erase all the traumatic memories to restore his innocence and mental health.
- In one of the Jonny Quest comics ( likely the series from Comico), Dr Quest has to rescue Jonny and Hadji from a dog-fighting ring that had stolen Bandit off the street as a, er, "training target" for the fighting dogs. When the fighting dogs get a shot at the head of the ring, Dr Quest holds the boys' faces against his shoulders so they can't see what happens next.
- Marv from Sin City was tied to a tree and left overnight as a child and he mentions that he got his signature gun Gladys from a kid in high school, with the implication that he killed him. Considering the city he grew up in, this shouldn't be that surprising.
- Heavily implied in issue #3 of IDW's My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, where Queen Chrysalis supposedly kills a kitten (off-frame) in front of three little fillies. Just to show them that she can. Yes, it is based on a TV-Y show.
- In the Korean monster movie The Host, Hyun-Seo, who is in middle school, is eaten by a monster and then spat out in the monster's lair, as it leaves her for dead. She gets to witness the monster spitting out a large number of dead people in its lair. Later on, she ends up becoming a mother figure to a young homeless boy. If that's not enough, in the end, she dies! The homeless boy lives and ends up being adopted by her father.
- In Kill Bill Volume 1, assassin O-Ren Ishii's most formative episode happened when she was only seven, when she witnessed the murders of her mother and father at the hands of Boss Matsumoto and his men. She takes vengeance upon them all in very bloody fashion just four years later.
- Ironically, Beatrix Kiddo inadvertently kills one of her targets, Vernita Green, right in front of her daughter. With the full knowledge of what usually happens to a kid after something like this, Kiddo simply states, "When you grow up, if you still feel raw about it, I'll be waiting." Director Quentin Tarantino has even said he'd like to film that story as a sequel.
- A rare parodic example occurs in the movie, Kung Pow!: Enter the Fist. The Chosen One, while still a baby, witnesses the murder of his family at the hands of the Big Bad and decides to take revenge on him then and there. (He doesn't defeat the villain, but he does manage to kick a surprising amount of ass considering he's still in diapers.)
- In Law Abiding Citizen, Clyde Shelton sends Nick Rice a DVD of him torturing and murdering Darby. Rice's daughter is the first to watch it.
- A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984): Freddy was a child killer in life, and he could've been worse. Wes Craven's original plan was to have Freddy be a molester as well, but he trashed the idea to avoid being accused of exploiting a series of highly publicised child molestations in California that occurred while the film was in production.
- The implication was fairly clear in the original films anyway, become extremely obvious in Freddy vs. Jason and was stated straight out in the Remake.
- After brutally bludgeoning sister Abagail from her orphanage to death with a hammer, Russian Orphan Esther needed somebody to help her drag the poor nun's body to dump in the frozen river... and the only person nearby at the time was her five year old, deaf little-sister Max..., who also saw her father be killed right in front of her. Quite a few things happened to the brother too.
- In The Patriot, one of the Benjamin Martin's sons is shot in front of the rest of his children, and then he takes two of the remaining boys—aged between nine and twelve—and slaughters the British soldiers responsible. Their horror as they walk back to their torched house is apparent.
- The Princess Bride: "Hello!. My Name Is Inigo Montoya. You Killed My Father. Prepare to Die."
Wesley: How old were you?
I was eleven years old. I love my father, so naturally, I challenge his murderer to a duel. I fail.
- The Purge: Having kids exposed to something like The Purge is a bad idea. The Sandin parents try to protect their kids from this, but it looks like they fail miserably, because at least one of the kids is going to have to use a gun against a gang of psychopathic killers.
- Played for Laughs in a scene from Spy Kids in which the parents tell the kids to look away, Lampshading a Battle Discretion Shot.
- In 28 Days Later, teenaged Infection survivor Hannah mostly wades through the gore with a smile on her face until seeing her father get riddled with bullets before her eyes after a drop of tainted blood falls in his eye and infects him with The Virus. She appears to be about 14, but definitely an easily breakable cutie. Later, when a drugged-up Hannah sees Jim and Selena having a bloodsplattered but relieved romantic moment (or is it?) she tries to bash Jim's brains out.
- In the 2005 The War of the Worlds movie, Rachel sees a ton of dead bodies floating down a river. Later, when committing murder to try to protect her, her father tells her to cover her eyes and ears and sing to herself so as to not have to be exposed to it.
- In the Holocaust movie The Grey Zone, children are killed in the gas chambers along with the adults, as in real life. The Hungarian girl who miraculously survived has to further witness all the participants of the uprising being shot moments before she's shot herself.
- In Phenomena is a small elf boy whipped again and again for having escaped the village he works in. It's even featured on a cover. What Do You Mean, It's for Kids? moment.
- Inverted in Carpe Jugulum. At the end, a village finally gets to kill the offending vampires, and Perdita (the other, usually more cynical half of Agnes Nitt's Split Personality) expresses concern that they're bringing the children with them. Agnes (a witch) calmly says that it's a good thing, as "...everyone has to know the monster is dead, and remember, so that they can tell their grandchildren."
- Then there's Great Aunt Ada Doom of Cold Comfort Farm, who "saw something nasty in the woodshed". We never find out what, although Raymond Briggs suggests it was Fungus the Bogeyman.
- Dexter's backstory includes him witnessing his mother being murdered by chainsaw, then spending two days locked in a shipping container with her body (among other ex-people), in a three-inch deep pool of blood. He was three at the time. This is used as a Freudian Excuse for Dexter and his brother both becoming serial killers.
- Redwall: Word of God is that Kid Hero Matthias was the murine equivalent of thirteen years old during the war, when he splatted Cluny with the church bell. Some of the other heroes are even younger. Sometimes the Dibbuns (canonical slang for babies and preschool-age children) actually help with the battles, as when Silent Sam (at the age of about two) came up with the idea of dropping a hornet's nest on the bearers of a battering ram, when Dumble tried (admittedly not very successfully) to fight off the crows which were attacking him and Thrugg, or when the kids in Mariel of Redwall sneaked onto the walltop and cut the ropes the searats were climbing up. None of them seem to suffer any lasting emotional damage.
- 10-year-old Arya in A Song of Ice and Fire spends a few weeks watching people get tortured every night. And her sister Sansa having to endure the violent attentions of her fiance Joffrey, watching people get killed while enduring her share of physical abuse as well.
- Really, the 7-year-old kid who gets pushed out of a high window for witnessing some nasty adultery (which also happens to be incest) sets the tone from then on.
- Aral Vorkosigan, of the Vorkosigan Saga, was 11 when he his mother and siblings were all killed in front of him. He then fights a bloody civil war, which they win and is given first cut in the execution of the leader of the other side, at about 13.
- Partly avoided but occasionally invoked in Tales of the Branion Realm, a medieval fantasy series in which most characters are squired to older warriors at age twelve. There's Demnor, who at five walks into the middle of an assassination attempt on himself, and is surrounded and comforted by bloodied, injured and terrified guards moments after he's seen them kill all the assassins. Discussed with his ancestor Kassandra, who (also aged five) isn't supposed to order executions until she's adult, so what should her protectors do if she demands one without really understanding what death means? They later take her onto the battlefield, where she can mentally sense every death; justified because her army has to see her leading it, since she's a living symbol of the realm. An Angst Nuke nearly results.
- a large part of Animorphs, where the young teen protagonists regularly see and participate in covert but full on warfare.
- Harry Potter sees countless people die, suffers from PTSD, goes on the run from the government, fights in a war, and just narrowly avoids getting killed eight different times before he's even turned eighteen.
- The works of Roald Dahl feature brutal and unjust punishments on children — from Disproportionate Retribution, to Cant Get Away With Nothing, to Miscarriage of Justice by antagonists determined to punish children because of their innocence — all with a frequency that betrays an author with a deep contempt for children. His books get past Moral Guardians due to the Grandfather Clause, but could similar works published today be permitted for the same demographic?
Live Action TV
- In the episode "The Thirteenth Step" from Criminal Minds, the Outlaw Couple held a little girl hostage. She witnessed her father being beaten up, dragged away to another room and heard the gunshot that killed him. Later, she would see one of her hostage takers being shot in the shoulder and later killed by stranglation by her partner.
- LOST: Sawyer's father killed his mother, then shot himself in the head. The latter he did while sitting on Sawyer's bed, unaware Sawyer (who was about eight years old) was hiding underneath it.
- In one episode of The Sarah Connor Chronicles, when a gangster threatened to shoot John, Derek brought out a little girl that was found in the backroom, believing her to be his daughter. However, the gangster still refused to let John go, so Derek calmly covered the girl's eyes and shot the gangster in the head. Fortunately for her, he wasn't the little girl's father. Still, she must have been terrified to witness such a scene.
- A major feature of the childhoods of the Winchester brothers in Supernatural, particularly Dean. Sam, at around 11 or 12, wrote about killing a werewolf with his family in a 'what I did over summer' school paper. Like Sam, Dean was hunting monsters from a young age, but he was solely responsible for Sam's care for days on end while his father hunted alone. Plus seeing the fire which killed his mother.
- Emily Yokas, of Third Watch was held hostage by armed robbers in a bank during Season 4 and saw her mother Faith, an NYPD cop, kill the hostage taker. She later asked her mother how many people she'd killed when on the job, and it was later mentioned she'd been seeing a shrink to help her get over this.
- Later, in Season 6, she was held hostage by a man who thought he was a vampire, and wanted her to see him kill her mother. She sees Bosco kill the guy.
- And in the very next episode, taking place later that night, she sees the 55th Precinct firebombed by a gang.
- This was the backstory of Callisto, recurring Big Bad to Xena: Warrior Princess. Callisto saw Xena destroy her village, which broke her.
- And on a more personal level saw her family burned alive.
- Lindsay's backstory on CSI NY involved her being the only survivor of a crazed killer massacring her friends when she was a teenager. Several characters of the week count too.
- CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Sara saw her mother kill her father when she was a child.
- In The Who's concept album/rock opera Tommy, the titular character sees his supposedly deceased father kill his mother's lover, rendering Tommy deaf, blind, and dumb (in the film version the mother's lover who kills the father).
- In one of the final missions in Red Dead Redemption, John and his wife Abigail talk about how their son Jack saw things no boy should see when they all used to run in the gang.
- As a young teen, Jack sees his father and uncle killed. It's no wonder he grows up to bea murderer.
- In Suikoden II, Pilika, a 4 year old girl, is forced to witness the murder of her parents by Luca Blight in a terrifying Moral Event Horizon moment. Then again, the same thing happened to Luca when he was a child, and he also witnessed his mother being RAPED.
- Pilika becomes mute however after she witnesses Pohl, a teenager, get run through by the sword of Luca Blight and an attempt was made by Luca to run her through!!!! Luckily, she is saved.
- Raiden from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty is a former Child Soldier.
- In the same game, Vamp had a tragic upbringing in his native Romania. The church he was attending was bombed, pinning him beneath a crucifix, where he was forced to drink the blood of those killed in the blast (including his family) to survive.
- All four members of the Beauty and the Beast Unit in Metal Gear Solid 4 have witnessed unspeakable carnage as children. The psychological trauma is so severe that they will suffer from lethal mental breakdown if they are removed from their protective suits.
- Bella Monroe in Siren: Blood Curse gets to witness her mother's friend turn into a zombie in Episode 3, then in Episode 9, sees her mother burn to death. In Episode 10, her mother is a zombie herself. Plus the missions where you have to protect her while playing as a different character, and Bella can witness you killing the various enemies while she follows you.
- In Tales of the Abyss, Guy's Laser-Guided Amnesia and mental tics turn out to be a result of his sister being murdered by Kimlascan soldiers before his eyes, and by him subsequently being trapped in a pile consisting of her corpse, as well as the corpses of all the house maids, and having to dig his way out of it. At the age of five.
- Twelve is how old Saphir was when he watched one of the only people who'd ever really cared about him burn to death, and then be resurrected as a bloodthirsty monster. No wonder he's so screwed up.
- In Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn, it turns out that when he was about seven years old, Ike saw his father kill his mother and was so shocked that he nearly strangled Mist, until Sephiran intervened and brainwashed Ike to forget what he had just witnessed.
- The remake of Mystery of the Emblem reveals that Ogma was forced to compete in brutal Gladiator Games as a child. Though he may not show it, it's clear the experience severely traumatized him, to the point where he doesn't want anyone bringing up his past.
- The Metroid series has maintained in the story that Samus is the only survivor of Pirates raiding her colony when she was three, and was taken in and raised by Chozo as a result, for about the past decade. However, with the 2005 manga, it was revealed that not only was Samus the only survivor, but she witnessed the entire thing, complete with obligatory Blood-Splattered Innocents shot. The event was so traumatic, she didn't properly remember the details until the ripe old age of 14, where she witnessed yet another massacre, this time of her Chozo family.
- Sena in Chaos;Head was brought in on the last day of the two year experiment involving her mother. Up till then, her mother had been living happily with her infant daughter, her kind neighbor and a housekeeper. Except then the delusion machine was turned off and her mother realized she was holding a mummified infant's corpse that had died about a month after the experiment started. She then proceeded to flip out, eat the dead baby, bang her head on the wall and then stab herself through the eye. Naturally, she's not exactly pleased with her father who initially thought of the experiment and couldn't bring himself to end it when the baby died, because he wanted to prolong her happiness as much as he could. Didn't turn out well.
- Fate/stay night: During the end of the previous Holy Grail War, the Grail was destroyed and black ichor set part of the town aflame. At the very worst part of the blaze was young Shirou, who crawled and hobbled past countless other residents as they burned to death. After having gone outside on an impulse, his house collapsed and his family died. He was the only survivor from that part of the town. The experience was enough to destroy his former personality (or maybe any sense of self, not clear) and rewrote him around the single idea that saving people makes you happy. Also, Sakura, but that was mostly stuff being done to her rather than in front of her.
- In Clock Tower, Jennifer is definitely exposed to much more than a teenaged girl that isn't even 16 should have to put up with, and then some.
- Early on in Mother3, the young Lucas and Claus end up witnessing their mother, Hinawa, torn to pieces by a giant mechanized
dinosaur Drago. additionally, at the end of the game Lucas can only watch while his brother, who he learned was killed much earlier on in the story, is back as an emotionless cyborg which he has to battle, alone, to reach the final Needle. Additionally additionally, Lucas can only watch while, after his brother is finally released from Porky's control, his brother Claus kills himself.
- Normally fairly idealistic on the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism, Touhou has Fujiwara no Mokou, whose father committed suicide in front of her after humiliation and social ostricization from Kaguya, whom Mokou's father had tried to marry, along with countless other suitors of Kaguya, who did it frequently for laughs. At the time, she swore her life for a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, killed Kaguya's adoptive parents, and became truly immortal like Kaguya to perpetuate eternal warfare against her archnemesis. By the time of the events in-game, however, Mokou has mellowed out, expressed regret over the murder of Kaguya's adoptive parents, and seems to just want to live as peaceful an eternal life as she can, although Kaguya enjoys keeping rivalry going (and Mokou still has an obvious deep grudge against her) by sending out the heroines to kill her a few times for fun. Mokou is, however, very much a loner, and doesn't like being near people or becoming emotionally attached, (even though she is even willing to help Kaguya's friends or servants or even team up with Kaguya when others are in need, proving she is good at heart) perhaps because of emotional scars, whether because she wants to avoid a Mayfly-December Romance or because of It's Not You, It's My Enemies.
- In Fallout: New Vegas, you can learn a rather disturbing story about Cook-Cook, in which he buys three child slaves, two girls and a boy, and forces the girls to watch as he torches the boy with a flamethrower. The slavers who sold him the kids decide not to do business with him after that little incident.
- Persona 3 Backstory for Ken Amada is that he's an orphan and that his mother died two years ago. Okay. The fact that his mom is apart of an Accidental Murder was ignored until it's too late and he's about to kill her murderer, fellow teammate Shinjiro.
- In Vanguard Bandits, little girl Nana witnesses her father's murder after he's failed in his goals.
- Esperia has the worst background of the cast in Eien no Aselia. All spirits are raised as weapons, but as the oldest spirit she was the only one trained by Soma. Spirits 'tuned' by Soma end up as soulless living weapons. Details on the process are vague, but it appears to involve utterly destroying a person's spirit and sense of worth with sexual abuse implied. Everyone she knew became a soulless thing that would not hesitate a moment to kill her and she was beaten and tortured frequently. Without Rask she would have ended up just like them.
- Tiny Tina from Borderlands2, as revealed through a series of audio logs, saw her parents violently butchered for slag research by Handsome Jack. She escaped thanks to her parents slipping her a grenade. As evident when you meet her, she's not all there anymore after what she saw.
- Final Fantasy XIII: Hope. Oh so much. First, he sees his mother killed by the army, then he is forced to fight against Cie'th (zombies), becomes a l'Cie and spends the rest of the game constantly hunted by the army. Oh, and that time he gets blown off a rooftop. He's only 14 by the way.
- Gunnerkrigg Court: Anne isn't moved by things like a dragon crashing through her roof or a shapeshifter attacking her. When she was 6 years old she walked into illusionary inferno just to give a lost soul some Cooldown Hug. When wounded by a sword-swinging ghost she was naturally frightened... until the ghost left — only to curse her "lack of self-control" later. Though even she has her limits:
- The Order of the Stick: Vaarsuvius' children are attacked by an ancient dragon, one of their parents is nailed to a tree alive, and then the attacker is torn to pieces from the inside in front of them... by their other parent, the elven wizard Vaarsuvius him-/herself, who had gone off the deep end and made a Hell Pact with evil fiends to become powerful enough to fight the dragon. Too bad There Are No Therapists.
- Vaarsuvius using a spell to commit the near-genocide of all black dragons right in front of them!
- In Sonichu, Sandy Rosechu hatches from her egg moments after her mom is declared dead from an assassination, then being told by Magi-Chan that a guy named Evan killed her mom. When Evan and three other people are sentenced to death, her father encourages her to murder the ever-loving crap out of Evan. Which she does. It's not established how messed up her mind is after the exposure and participation to violence or even if she's even affected by it at all.
Kids being exposed to sexuality
- In Metalocalypse, Murderface's father killed his wife with a chainsaw before dismembering himself. In front of baby Murderface. Murderface didn't seem very concerned when it was happening, but remembering made him wet himself.
- In the episode "Hunter's Moon" in Gargoyles, three young children watch their father fall to his death from a building, as the Big Bad Demona flies away laughing. The three kids go on to become gargoyle hunters.
- The comics show that the kids ran into the building afterwards - and got lost in a catacomb.
- This happens pretty often in Gargoyles, actually. Katharine heard the Archmage nearly kill Prince Malcolm in "Long Way to Morning," Tom saw Constantine kill Kenneth (and was later shown to have suffered a Heroic BSOD as a result) in "Avalon, Part One," Macbeth saw the Hunter kill his father in "City of Stone, Part One," and Malcolm Canmore saw Macbeth kill Duncan in "City of Stone, Part Three."
- Avatar: The Last Airbender, being a show about war, often delves into this. The two most obvious would be Katara witnessing a man threatening her mother (and the implication of finding her corpse afterward), and the flash-back to young Jet watching his entire village and family get burned down.
- Considering Aang's young age of twelve, his reaction when he comes across the skeletons of his entire culture, including his Parental Substitute and mentor Gyatso would also qualify.
- In The Legend of Korra, Mako witnessed both his parents get burned to death when he was eight. He and his brother then had to fend for themselves on the streets, getting into more than their share of scuffles and gang violence.
- A lot of Disney movies with parental deaths would qualify. Bambi had to face the cold hard truth that his mother was never going to come back after escaping from hunters who killed his mother. Simba was even worse, watching his father die right in front of him by falling off a cliff and trampled by wildebeests while convinced it was entirely his fault that he died right up until the end.
- Littlefoot from The Land Before Time watched his mother get torn apart by a T-rex and die while she rushed him and Cera to safety during a devastating earthquake. This also extended to Real Life as Steven Spielberg and George Lucas edited alot of the footage consisting of the young dinosaurs in severe situations of peril or stress for fear it would cause psychological damage to young children.
- Artemis and her sister Jade/Chesire in Young Justice. They were raised and trained by criminals, and it is very heavily implied that they saw or did things grown adults would flinch at. There's also Garfield Logan, aka Beast Boy, who saw his mom die.
- Robin (Dick Grayson) as in all his backstories, saw his parents killed via sabotage when he was eight, and was trained as a vigilante shortly after. At 13, he'd seen a lot of violence.
Anime & Manga
- Full Metal Panic!: The Creepy Twins Yu Fan and Yu Lan have been repeatedly raped by Gates ever since they were young.
- Glass Fleet: As a young child, Vetti was molested and raped by his foster father. His foster mother even knew about it and did nothing to stop it. This becomes his Freudian Excuse for much of his actions, and his redemption at the end of the series.
- Kira of Mars was raped by her stepfather when she was fourteen years old. As a result, she became averse to male touch and shy to the point of muteness. When her mother asked the stepfather back into their home, Kira did not react well.
- Apollo's Song: Early in the story, the protagonist Shogo not only reveals that as a child, his mother went of with countless men to the point where he does not know his biological father, but also that when going to his mother's room to have a talk, he accidentally sees her having sex (or possibly about to) in one of her numerous affairs, whereupon she eventually proceeds to beat him with a broomstick repeatedly, but not before Shogo answers his irate mother's question about what he just saw by saying that he saw Mama and Papa "doing naughty things". Because of this, he developed an intense hatred of romance, hence why he turned out the way he did.
- Part of Rorschach's backstory in Watchmen; He walked in on his prostitute mother "servicing" a client; this is implied to be part of the reason for his aversion to sexuality.
- In Lawn Dogs, Devon witnesses her mother cheating on her father, and also twice sees two other adults getting it on.
- Psycho IV The Beginning, a TV-movie made in 1990, we are informed that Norman Bates had - among other things - a sensual relationship with his mother... resulting in her punishing him for his erection when she saw it after asking him to rub suntan lotion on her legs. Which spurred him on to murder her when she got a boyfriend, donning her persona in order to keep her in his life.
- Cyber Seduction: His Secret Life, an anti-pornography movie seemingly written by the Moral Guardians themselves, features a minor stumbling upon his older brother's porn viewing. The experience leaves him unable to talk, eat without prompting or do anything other than stare blankly into the distance. A few scenes later he has developed a fetish for something so terrible, the film wouldn't even name it.
- The slow spiral to madness of the main character in Christmas Evil starts when he witnesses his father, dressed as Santa Claus, having sex with his mother.
- In Pusher 2, nobody seems to care that Tonny's kid half-brother gets a faceful of a stripper until much later in her "performance".
- Bran, a seven year old boy in A Song of Ice and Fire, watches a brother and sister having sex. The incident actually grants him a prophetic sight. That, and the coma that came after the said brother saw Bran, threw him out of the tower's window, thus breaking his back, leaving him crippled for the rest of his life.
- Many examples of this in the works of V. C. Andrews.
- It's part of sex offender Fred Lauren's backstory in Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle's Lucifer's Hammer.
- Strongly implied in Henry James's novella The Turn of the Screw.
- In I Have A Bed Made Of Buttermilk Pancakes, Cassie Zing knows that her mother writes erotic fiction (without reading the examples we get to see), and can spell words like "f**k" and "c**t". She's also extraordinarily perceptive. So when she submits her entry for the school play, she writes a story where two teachers get their students to teach the class while they have sex. She also includes the two aforementioned swear words, without realising that they're unacceptable in school. And she's also seven.
- She has no idea what this "sex" thing IS, and the one scene where the teachers are supposed to be "haveing" it actually consists of one asking the other what the swear words actually mean (as she herself has no idea).
- According to his book, The Thunderbolt Kid, Bill Bryson walked in on his parents having sex when he was a boy. His father tried to cover, saying that Bill's mother was just "checking his teeth". According to Bryson, it was a long time before he ever left his mother check his teeth again. On the other hand, he claims that when he did work it out, he was cheered by the health of his parents' relationship. Or at least by the fact that they weren't crippled by the shame of sexuality, other than the conception of children, that he perceived as dominating middle-class Americans at the time.
Live Action TV
- In Being Human, Mitchell befriends a child named Bernie and offers to lend him a DVD of a silent movie; Bernie takes the wrong DVD and ends up watching a porn film made by one of Mitchell's vampire friends. Bernie doesn't seem scarred by it, but his mother is not happy, and accuses Mitchell of being a pervert.
- On Todd and the Book of Pure Evil, the main character and his friend Curtis once watched a home-made sex tape starring Curtis' grossly obese parents. The experience scarred Todd for life, giving him a crippling fear of fat people. (Which was a plot point, as that episode's Monster of the Week was turning people fat.) Curtis was unaffected.
- A fridge example in mothy's song Lunacy of Duke Venomania-one of the duke's victims's age is in the single digits.
- Janie from Aerosmith's "Janie's Got A Gun" was sexually abused by her father, and takes nasty revenge on him for it.
- Catching her father cheating on her mother with another woman was Susan's Freudian Excuse for becoming a Straw Feminist in El Goonish Shive.
- Ménage ŕ 3, revealed that Yuki was inadvertently exposed to her father's tentacle porn at a very early age (she looks about 5 years old) which heavily contributed to her "dickiphobia" later in life. Her father is the "Tentacle King", a world renowned hentai artist so the stuff was his own creation.
- It gets worse. At some other time, her father brought Yuki to a set filming a live-action adaptation of his tentacle porn because he couldn't find a babysitter. In the present day, the sight of a penis (real or illustrated) causes her to hallucinate seeing tentacles coming out of the guy's crotch.
- Still not the end of things. He named the main character in one of his hentai series after her. Or possibly the other way round. It's unclear which is worse.
- In Sinfest, the Devil Girl In Training program terrifies the innocent and child-like Enlightened Drones. The green succubus turns it off and goes to soothe them.
Kids being exposed to both
Anime and Manga
- Guts from Berserk has had it rough as a kid. Spending his life on battlefields definitely qualified him for the "horrific violence" part of this trope, but we lost all sympathy for his mentor/father figure Gambino when he sold young Guts as a sex slave for three silver coins to the pederastic soldier Donovan, who raped Guts and who Guts murdered for it afterward. Gambino met his fate not long after when he got drunk and tried to kill Guts, blaming him for the death of his lover, who had adopted the boy but died of an illness that he also had. It was probably not a good idea to mention that he sold him to Donovan, as Guts killed him immediately after. As one final backhand from Fate to Guts, he saw his adoptive mother die - from the plague - when he was three. (The universe has had it in for him from birth - his adoptive mother picked him up, umbilical still attached, from underneath a woman's corpse hanging on a tree.)
- Casca too. Her village impoverished and starvation being a large threat, she has to work for a noble, who took her with him when he passed by one day, to take a bit of the load off her family. However, turns out he didn't want her for cleaning or cooking, but rather as a sexual slave. She is fortunately saved when Griffith shows up and tosses her a sword with the words "If you have something you wish to protect, then take up that sword." She kills the would-be rapist and becomes devoted to Griffith and his cause. Her life in the present isn't much better however, thanks to what happened to her during the Eclipse, particularly at the hands of Griffith himself.
- Hansel and Gretel from Black Lagoon start off as completely unsympathetic Creepy Twins / Psychos For Hire. It turns out though that they have quite possibly the single most horrific and perverse example of a Freudian Excuse that you will ever find: when the Romanian government was overthrown and the orphanages were shut down, the two, along with other kids, were sold into the black market to be playthings for hardcore sex-freaks and ground up for hog chow in the end. Hansel and Gretel were spared this fate only because a particularly twisted sicko made them participate in Snuff Films as a special sideshow, and in their desperation, the two learned how to kill so they could entertain their twisted clientele night after night. And over time, they drew it all in, learning to love killing people in general and choosing to become trained animals working for the guy in charge of the video racket.
- Garcia has it rough in the El Baile de la muerte arc. It starts with his father being killed by a bomb and just gets worse from there. He has to witness Roberta, his family's head maid and surrogate mother figure, go insane and revert to her "Bloodhound" persona during her quest for revenge. At one point he eavesdrops on Roberta as she tricks an enemy into letting down his guard by seducing him. He has to listen to them make out before Roberta brutally finishes the guy off. When Roberta discovers Garcia in the room, she is way past batshit insane and thinks he isn't real — and prepares to shoot him to dispel the illusion. Garcia is forever changed by this experience — and not for the better.
- Shingen from Durarara!! not only let his (then four-year-old) son Shinra witness the surgical vivisection of a naked, unanesthesized headless woman, but handed him a scalpel and let him cut her open himself. It should be no surprise that Shinra grew up kind of weird as a result.
- This trope doesn't even begin to describe some of the horrific things that the diclonii and other children of Elfen Lied had to go through. Many of them have gone through the "horrific violence" part of the trope, and some (like Lucy in her Start of Darkness) actually cause it. And what the human Mayu and the diclonius Number 28 in the manga horribly fulfils the sexuality part of the trope.
- The titular girls of the anime Gunslinger Girl have each had something nasty of "exposure to horrific violence," "exposure to sexuality," or more frequently both, happen to them in their past to necessitate going through the process of becoming a cyborg. Henrietta's past involves watching her family killed and then being brutally assaulted by their murderers. Angelica was run down by her father in an effort to collect on her insurance policy. But the worst by far was Triela, who was involved in snuff films and horribly abused both physically and sexually. The fact that most of the girls have their memories erased prior to becoming cyborgs is a blessing even in the Gray and Grey Morality of the series.
- Seras Victoria from Hellsing. Poor, sweet Seras, who seems a cheerful and upbeat girl for most of the manga, has a rather dark and disturbing backstory, which seems to have happened when she was very young. It consists of her father being murdered by burglars, her mother hiding her in a cupboard to protect her, and her mother's subsequent murder by the same burglars. Seras tries to exact revenge by stabbing one of the guys in the eye with a fork. She gets a gutshot for her trouble and one of the perpetrators proceed to rape her mother's corpse, due to it being "still warm". In full view of Seras who lies on the ground bleeding profusely watching it happen and unable to do anything to stop it.
- Soubi in Loveless had a pretty screwed up childhood. He was trained to be "Fighter" and to be subservient to his "Sacrifice," which involved being whipped to the point of not feeling the pain anymore. Natch, he also gets the second type through his teacher, Ritsu, who sexually abused Soubi in order to get revenge on Soubi's mother, who married another man. Ouch. Needless to say, as an adult Soubi is a rather screwed up individual.
- Sohryu Asuka Langley of Neon Genesis Evangelion. When she was still a child her mother went insane and at one point asked Asuka to die together with her. Asuka later discovered her mother's body after she committed suicide (in the manga, her mother actually tried to strangle her at some point before the suicide). Around the same time her father had an affair with her mother's doctor, to the point where they even had sex in the hospital within earshot of Asuka. And just to top it all off, he ended up marrying the doctor shortly after his wife's suicide, and in the manga Asuka ended up with a half-sister who she always felt she had to compete with just to put the icing on the cake.
- Now and Then, Here and There is made of this trope. Forget Earn Your Happy Ending. If you're lucky you can manage a Bittersweet Ending.
- Souma of Sakura Gari has a very Dark and Troubled Past which, due to his gorgeous looks, consists of him getting touched constantly by people (including his mother in that way), being persuaded by his friend Katsuragi into wanting to kill his mother due to him being angry with her and when Souma couldn't go through with it Katsuragi took Souma's hand (that held a knife) and forcibly made him cut his mother's wrists while she was naked in a bathtub which causes her death, and Souma watched this happen completely horrified. And Katsuragi also involved himself with Souma when he was still a child as well.
- Touyama of Texhnolyze is quite lethal in battle with simply his fists, or with a katana. This is because he had a troubled childhood growing up in the slums of Lux. He father continually molested him and he was stuck around people who did nothing with their lives. In order to escape from that and make something of himself, he joined Organ, a organization that routinely kills members of the Alliance.
- In Witchblade Masane Amaha didn't want her own daughter seeing her in the battle form, which just so happens to be Stripperific Blood Knight Armor with Unstoppable Rage and Orgasmic Combat tendencies. Then it's subverted with vengeance: Anime-viewing kid very mature for her age is going to be so scared of superficial shapeshifting, especially when there was a real threat around... The only thing Rihoko (her daughter) saw when Masane finally had to transform before her eyes was Mommy in a different outfit, still the same woman she loved and respected.
- When she was a child, Altena of Noir lived in a country that had been leveled by war. A soldier finds her wandering alone, already looking utterly shell-shocked and hollow, and rapes her. This was the character's Start of Darkness.
- Laura Kinney aka X-23 was subjected outright horrific violence and abuse almost from birth by the Facility, including deliberate exposure to violent and disturbing images and deprivation of emotional support in an effort to break her of her humanity. And when her creators decided she still had too much empathy (probably because her mother attempted to violate the "no emotional support" order whenever possible) they forced her to kill a puppy. A puppy that she played with instead, so they told her it would be tortured to death right in front of her as punishment for failure. And this is even before they started sending her out as a hired killer, her "test run" being the slaughter of a presidential candidate, his family, and an entire roomful of press, security, and other functionaries.
- Her cousin Megan fell victim to this trope when Kimura and the Facility's agents came looking for her, and got a front-row seat as Laura tore her mother's boyfriend (actually a Facility plant) to shreds and slaughtered a Facility hit team sent to recover her (while being tortured herself by Kimura to punish Laura for escaping).
- And then Laura became a child prostitute in New York City. With everything she's seen and done it's no wonder she's so screwed up.
- In the most recent Zatoichi film, the twins had their entire family and servants murdered by yakuza, and were then forced to sell themselves for money to survive.
- The film The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc has young Joan witness her sister murdered then raped (yes, in that order). This leads to her either going crazy or being touched by God.
- In the first Silent Night, Deadly Night, Billy has a... traumatic childhood. First, he sees a deranged psychopath in a Santa Claus costume murder his parents, leaving him alone with his infant brother at the age of seven. Understandably, this causes him to have a fear of Santa Claus. At the age of ten he saw two orphanage workers having sex; the extremely strict Mother Superior told him all sex was evil. Naturally, he believed her. Then one fateful night at the age of 18 he witnesses one of his coworkers (who happens to be dressed as Santa) raping one of the female workers. It all proves too much, causing him to finally snap and go on a killing spree killing everyone he believed to be naughty.
- In The Seven Percent Solution, a young Sherlock Holmes witnessed his mother in bed with his math tutor, and then his father killing her for adultery, leading to his life long distrust of women, his passion for justice and his delusion that the relatively harmless Professor Moriarty, his tutor, was the Napoleon of Crime.
- In Danny the Dog, a.k.a. Unleashed, a very young Danny had witnessed the murder of his mother by Bart, who definitely groped her and may have done worse. Unusual in that he attacks the assailant, rather than staying hidden or going into shock.
- Played for laughs with Eric in Mystery Team, who can been seen hanging out in strip clubs and claims to have been shot three times.
- In The Crucible, a Korean film revolving around the true story of an abuse scandal at a school for hearing-impaired children, staff are depicted beating, grooming and raping students as young as eight. Also the novel on which it was based.
- Felix and Mildmay of Doctrine of Labyrinths were sold by their mother at the ages of three or four to 'Keepers.' Felix's beat him severely leaving him with massive scarring on his back and nearly drowned him several times, started on him sexually at eight, and after the Keeper's death in a massive fire (that killed the few friends the boy had) he ended up in a brothel that catered to BDSM. And that's all before he's bought by the Big Bad Mildmay's keeper tended toward more psychological torture than physical, but she started sleeping with him herself when he was almost fourteen and began training him to kill people at the same time. By the time they meet as adults they're two of the most screwed up people in their canon and that's saying something.
- Nick Perumov's Keeper Of The Swords cycle. It is revealed that Dark Magical Girl Sylvia had to fight in the wars (as a witch) from early on, so that by ten(!), she was "already considered a battle-hardened veteran". She also suggests that she witnessed other witch, Seges, being a "pervert", though it's not clear whether she herself was abused. In the story itself, she has a Near Death Experience AT LEAST once a book. She gets speared, buried under rubble of a tower, her head smashed with a candelabre, hit by magical lightning... Way to have a childhood.
- The Alienist by Caleb Carr. Oh boy.
- The Star Wars Expanded Universe novel Legacy of the Force takes it up to Over Nine Thousand with Ben Skywalker. Picture a thirteen-year-old boy joining his cousin's version of the Hitler Youth, being trained as a Sith, regularly tortured, taken to a Sith planet (and choosing not to eat the girl), and then he turns 14, his mother dies, his memory's wiped, he assassinates a head of state, he's tortured, offered sex in exchange for information, and when neither of those work, he's forced to watch a friend die.
- The In Death series: Oh, lord! Eve Dallas was beaten and raped by her father when she was 3 years old. He intended to turn her into a prostitute and sell her to child molesters. Her mother had mistreated her and then left her with her father, and she had to have known what the man intended to do to his own daughter. The abuse continued until she was eight years old, when she managed to stab her father to death while he was trying to rape her again. She also had to face more problems after that. Roarke was beaten up by his father and his non-biological mother left him because she cared nothing for him. Nixie Swisher from Survivor in Death witnessed murder when her entire family was slaughtered in one night. It shouldn't hurt to be a kid!
Live Action TV
- The crew on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit have to deal with cases of one or the other Once an Episode.
- Michael of The Wire was molested by his stepfather at a young age, and was also exposed to the gang violence and drug culture of West Baltimore. He becomes a hardened hitman, drug dealer, and stick-up artist by the time he's fifteen.
- Tsukihime, and frankly, the entire Nasuverse seemingly only give out childhoods to characters they want to make tragic.
- The opening of Tsukihime is a dream Shiki has remembering the death of his entire clan, and his mother dying protecting him.
- Kohaku and Hisui are twins with the power to boost the powers of other people... if they have sex with them. In order to hold at bay the increasing insanity he was succumbing to, the head of the Tohno household kidnaps the twins (probably murdering their families to do it, given what he does to Shiki's family), and forces sex upon Kohaku, while sparing Hisui (because he felt Kohaku would be easier to control)... starting around when she was four years old. By the time of the main series' events, she is an utterly broken shell of a person and a Stepford Smiler who lives for revenge not out of hatred, but because she can't think of any other reason to live.
- In Ryu Ga Gotoku, former Yakuza Kiryu Kazuma takes nine year old Haruka to odd places when he isn't kicking major ass, such as gambling dens ("It's take your daughter to work day") and soaphouses ("It's a... social studies field trip").
- As becomes aptly clear during the game, Jennifer in Rule of Rose has survived two distinct massacres in her childhood, and she's implied to have witnessed the sexual abuse of some of her fellow orphans as well. The game revolves around dealing with her traumas and helping her to face the future.
- Drakengard involves a mission in which you must you kill Child Conscripts with which the main character shows practically no remorse over slaughtering. As well as this, the main antagonist is a six year old Enfant Terrible Add to the fact that one of the party members is a pedophile while the other is a child-murdering cannibal. The final party member? A six year old boy. Did we mention that Drakengard is not one of the most kid-friendly games on the planet?
- It's no wonder that Homestuck's Vriska Serket is so messed up - she was raised by a giant spider which demanded she lure other children in to feed it, and her role model as a kid was the Villain Protagonist of a book of mind-control pirate erotica.
- Dave had some of this too, as his brother made sex-toy puppets for a living, left hundreds of them lying around all over their apartment, set up traps which dropped heaps of puppets on Dave, and may have misled him into being involved offscreen in the production of at least one "puppet snuff film" involving a blender. Violence-wise, Bro also put Dave through Training from Hell with daily swordfights on the roof, and inexplicably kept the swords in question in the fridge, requiring Dave to hide food in his closet. The fanfic Brainbent takes this to it's logical conclusion and has CPS intervene and remove Dave from Bro's custody, and many other fics have the same premise.