Kids are brave. They often stand strong and believe that's what's expected of them.
My kid typically has small bruises on their legs. I see them play at school and it's normally from regular bumps during rougher rumbling around. But nonetheless, Star's mother and I ask her how is school and normally try to understand if anything is going on. After lots of patient questions, we started to suspect specific colleagues at school might be responsible for the rough play.
While we investigated and engaged with the school, I one day sat down with my kid playing and casually said "you know, when daddy was a kid, daddy had colleagues at school that would be bad to me".
I travelled around a lot growing up, so I always had very few friends around me. That, plus the fact I liked to read books and had OK grades made me a perfect target for the bullies always on the lookout for someone to pick on.
So when I suspected what might be going on, I tried to help my kid open up and also make them know they had something I wished I had when these episodes happened: somebody to stand beside me.
They didn't even let me get to my point. They put their arms around my neck and said "Daddy, I'll protect you."
If you've read my posts you'll know their name means "Defender of Mankind". Talk about living up to your name...