Child Holding head in their hands

Sharing – Sibling Sexual Abuse Facts Caregivers Should Know

Sibling sexual abuse is difficult for parents. I know because I watched my parents deal with it during my adult years, let alone parents who learn about it when their children are young.

Sibling sexual abuse is an underreported form of family violence. Learn the warning signs of harmful, inappropriate sibling behavior and what you can do as a parent.

There’s no surprise to me that it’s underreported. I didn’t report it. The litany of reasons I didn’t report could take up volumes. Some of the reasons are in the article above, including the fear of not being believed (especially as a male victim), the fear of being removed from my family, and because I had no idea it was happening to anyone else.

Many survivors don’t tell out of fear of what will happen to them and the abuser. When the abuser is a sibling, that is a very real fear. It also means having to tell your parents that one of their children is an abuser. I never wanted to tell my parents that. I didn’t tell them. My roommate did after my first serious mental breakdown in my 20s because someone had to explain to them what was happening to me. He took on that responsibility. I’m sure it was a horrible conversation.

I don’t envy any of them; I don’t envy the realizations my parents must have had and the reality they had to face for the rest of their lives, knowing all their children would never be in the same place with them again. I also know I wouldn’t have been able to heal while keeping it secret from them.

This article makes clear that sibling sexual abuse is happening to kids all around us. It has been happening throughout history. We also know a lot about it if people are willing to listen. The article is long but well worth it to understand what the risks are, what to do when you find out about it, how to prevent it, and most importantly, understand that if you were sexually abused by a sibling, you are not alone.

I was, too. So were many other survivors.


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