Sibling abuse, including sibling sexual abuse, commonly known as sibling incest, is more
prevalent than most people would like to believe. In fact, it is probably the most
accepted, and ignored, form of domestic violence.
According to Dr.
Vernon Wiehe, professor of social work at the University of Kentucky and author of Perilous Rivalry: When
Siblings Become Abusive, '...as many as 53 out of every 100 children abuse a
brother or sister, higher than the percentage of adults who abuse their children or their
spouse. What some kids do to their brother or sister inside the family would be called
assault outside the family'.
Because of the
relationship of perpetrator and victim the abuse is rarely acknowledged or understood
within the family. It is often hidden or minimized outside the family. 'Boys will be boys'
or 'siblings fight' are often heard phrases which minimize the activity, and the damage
caused by such behaviors.
Here you will find
information about the problems associated with this type of domestic violence. "Sibling Sexual Abuse - A Parents Guide" offers much
useful information. Separate sections help parents to recognize sibling abuse and give information on how to intervene if you discover this is
happening in your family. Also of interest is a section on prevention of sibling sexual abuse.
frequently protected by parents and other family members. This protection shields them
from dealing with the consequences of their actions. The victim is also not given the help
that they need in order to deal with the effects of the abuse.
sibling abuse & sibling sexual abuse often display signs of post
traumatic stress disorder. The symptoms are the result of traumatic events with which
the survivor is unable to cope. Complex post traumatic stress disorder is a relatively new
term, first used by Judith Herman in her book Trauma
& Recovery, and is used to distinguish symptoms and
situations of CPTSD from those of PTSD.
CPTSD is frequently seen in survivors of trauma, abuse and
control extending over months or years.
There may also be
signs of dissociative identity disorder or DID. Many of the symptoms
of DID will also be found on the other lists of symptoms caused by severe trauma.
Some people with
DID may have a tendency toward self-persecution, self-sabotage, and violence. The violence
may be self-inflicted and/or directed at the outside.
Denial serves to
reinforce the damage. The person will have problems that may last for a lifetime if they
do not receive treatment.
|This is a list of symptoms
or warning signs that abuse is taking place or may have taken place. These are generally
encountered in magnified proportions.
- Failure to thrive
- Weight loss/gain
- Anxiety and/or depression
- Phobias or irrational/inexplicable fears
- Personal space/privacy issues
- Difficulty with authority
- Low self esteem
- Emotional outbursts
- Frequent illness
- Sympathy issues
- Difficulty sleeping / insomnia or fear of the dark
|Some abused children &
adult survivors may participate in:
||Some abused children
- Addictive behavior
- Self destructive behavior
- Self injury
- Suicide threats and/or attempts
- Aberrant sexual behavior
Adult survivors of abuse including sibling abuse may suffer from some of these symptoms.
These symptoms may vary in degree according to type and duration of abuse. Recognizing
symptoms is an important first step in recovery.
usually does not get the treatment that they need to stop this type of behavior. Parents
and other relatives sometimes cover up the abuse out of disbelief or shame. The
perpetrator continues the behavior unless they receive treatment.
If you or someone
you know is a survivor of sibling sexual abuse, please get help. You may see, in yourself,
some of the signs or symptoms shown on these pages.