Non-consensual coercive sexual behaviours between siblings is often not spoken about.
While there is no universal agreement over its definition, sibling sexual abuse (SSA) is acknowledged internationally as a prevalent form of child sexual abuse but tends not to be recognised by health professionals, according to sexologist Dr Eve.
In her blog, Dr Eve says "Sibling sexual abuse captures a broad continuum of sexual behaviours in childhood and adolescence that exceed the threshold of age-appropriate curiosity. Ranging from an older sibling forcing non consensual activities onto a younger naive sibling, to a full on mutual relationship between siblings, SAA may be a once off encounter at any age, to ongoing abuse through a younger sibling’s teen years."
She sat down with Eusebius McKaiser to unpack this and why it is kept quiet in most households.
There has not been a lot of research done because of the secret nature of this and the damage and the danger around it.— Dr Eve, Sexologist and Couple and Sex Therapist
She says while parents need to be alert to the fact there is huge difference between experimentation which is necessary for childhood sexual development there is a vulnerability in families where one of the siblings is going to cross the boundary and play with their sibling in a very different way.
There are the hugs and games, a wrestling that happens and then the other sibling just doesn't know that this is not appropriate. Then it becomes a little more explicit, invasive and becomes very sexual.— Dr Eve, Sexologist and Couple and Sex Therapist
There is the result in confusion and enormous pain that results when the younger on is sexually forced, coerced or even mutually involved.— Dr Eve, Sexologist and Couple and Sex Therapist
In your own self you may find that you are not victimised because you are participating and becoming physically aroused so it is very difficult to get any kind of credence and believability from any from either parents or a healthcare provider and this is put away at the back of your mind.— Dr Eve, Sexologist and Couple and Sex Therapist
Dr Eve explains that part of the problem is also parental attitudes.
What literature suggests is that there is a very strong denial that there is such a thing as sibling incest that exists, complete denial and because it is such a taboo it is easy to ignore.— Dr Eve, Sexologist and Couple and Sex Therapist
What really harms children so much, is the belief that sibling sexual behaviour is harmless.— Dr Eve, Sexologist and Couple and Sex Therapist
She says as with any trauma, this leads to anxiety, depression, difficulty with intimacy in adulthood and more.
When the disclosure happens you have got to deal with the rage and mostly the secondary victimisation of dealing with parents.— Dr Eve, Sexologist and Couple and Sex Therapist
Click on the link below to hear the full conversation....
This article first appeared on 702 : Trigger warning: Sibling sexual abuse, why it shouldn't be kept quiet