10.03.2011

Sibling Sexual Abuse: How Big Of A Problem Is This? Part II



By Lawrence W. Daly

Like all of the other forms of sexual abuse, sibling sexual abuse is sexual acts to obtain power and control over a brother or sister. The amount of control a sibling has over their sibling will make a determination if the sibling is unwillingly to comply with the sexual demands of the sexual sibling offender. As statistics have demonstrated over the years, sibling on sibling sexual abuse is something which is not new to the nucleus family. Examining and evaluating why sibling sexual abuse occurs is something which needs to be understand by those who have children or have authority over children.
Like all child sexual abuse, sibling sexual abuse occurs behind closed doors. In the case of sibling sexual abuse the closed bedroom doors are generally the reason the sibling sexual abuse is allowed to occur. Parents from time to time will detect the sibling sexual abuse by walking into one of the bedrooms, finding siblings in sexual positions. Discipline is generally the repercussion for what happens to the two participating sexual siblings. Discipline which should not be viewed as a negative tool, but one which brings about corrective behavior. Some parents are so excited and upset about the finding of the siblings in a sexual position, their anger becomes the issue and not the sexual acting out.

Boys and Computer.pngParents need to realize children under the age of 8 are generally experimenting with another sibling’s body, because being touched feels good. Unfortunately, with the school yard education, Internet, television and stories which are told in the neighborhood, the home and by other relatives, friends, peers and adults, a child under the age of 10 is on his/her way to understanding all about sex. Recently a colleague of mine told me he arrived home to find his nine year old son and his two nine year old friends on the home computer surfing the Internet for pornography. He said surfing the Internet for pornography has become a problem at his son’s school, neighborhood and their home.

The problems with sibling sexual abuse is the sexual acts can be a deep and dark secrets for decades. In one of my men’s sexual addiction groups which I have lead for the past couple years, some of the men have never spoken about what growing up looked like when it came to dealing sexually with their older siblings. During the last two meetings, three men described sibling sexual abuse by their older sisters when they were five, five and six. The average age of their sisters was 10 years old. These sexual assaults were well beyond the word “curiosity” i.e. being three years old, reaching out and touching the genitilia of his one year old brother. This type of curiosity is harmless as long as the curiosity isn’t a daily event. However, having sexual contract when one is 10 years old with her five year old brother is criminal.

Men In A Group.jpg
The men in my sexual addiction group are now sharing something which has been hidden in their own secret place for decades and the decision to come out with it in front of eight other men is simply a miracle. The distance (time i.e. years ago) of the sibling sexual abuse has taken away the hurt that they once felt at the time of the sexual assaults.  They blame the sibling sexual abuse on introducing them to sexual theme’s which then led them to pornography which led them to masturbation and acting out sexually with other peers.

Some children feel powerless and for the most part do not understand what the older sibling is doing to him/her. These experiences will form a trust to distrust relationship between the siblings. Researchers have documented that the younger sibling will feel responsible, unclean or ashamed of the sexual assault. This conclusion and analysis needs further exploration as a young child doesn’t know if being sexually touched by their older sibling that this is something considered bad. Until someone catches the two siblings acting out sexually, the younger child will be intimidated, manipulated and convinced by the older sibling that the sexual acts are fun, but needing confidential. Generally, it isn’t until years later when the child now adult realizes the affects sibling sexual abuse had on them.

In order to receive conformity the older sibling may tease, physically assault, torment, and do other bullying type acts. The younger sibling is forced to endure the continual harassment, belittling, and emotional pushing and pulling by the older sibling. Parents who have no idea that there are sexual assaults occurring in their home, may further and promote the sexual assault by giving the older sibling authority over the younger sibling. Rules need to be established by parents or the authorities of the children about how the older sibling will act towards the younger sibling.  Parents need to follow-up and make sure that all is well in the home. It is one thing to give an older sibling the responsibility to watch the younger sibling(s), but it is another thing to ignore what is happening, good and bad in their home.

Is the sibling sexual abuse a symptom of the lack of sexual education in the home? When should a parent begin telling their child about the body, who is allowed to touch their body and what are the functions of each body part? According to the researchers on this topic, the telling of these questions should be conveyed to children at the time they begin talking. If parents make the sexual education a reasonable and logical step in the education of their child’s life, then sibling sexual abuse may not occur at all or may occur on a one time bases, but it surely would be minimized. Telling the child that if someone touches them in an inappropriate sexual manner, that they should immediately come and tell the parent, no matter what threats are made to the old sibling.

Law enforcements role in sibling sexual abuse depends upon the parents reporting the sexual acts to them. Generally, one of the parents find out about the sibling sexual abuse by accidentally walking in on it; one of the siblings tell one or both of the parents; or the child tells someone who is in an authority position e.g. nurse, teacher, friend and etc. The age should not deter law enforcement from investigating the allegations to their fullest. The criminal statutes may determine for the law enforcement official what the laws mandate they enforce. The prosecutor’s office should be consulted in any and all decisions of whether to seek the prosecution of a sibling who is under the age of 12.

Police Woman.jpgTomorrow, I will continue to research just how much of a problem sibling sexual abuse is in the United States. Sibling sexual abuse is a problem worldwide and needs to be researched by those in their individual countries.

Lawrence W. Daly, MSc
One Daly Corporation
Legal Strategies And Forensic Techniques
(877) 364-5797
“Specializing In Child Sexual Abuse Education And Investigations”

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