Regrettable Typical Characteristics of Sibling Sexual Abuse

The following are a few things that I have found from my researching on the internet:

This is one of my favorite links about sibling sexual abuse:…p/family/13/285

Regrettable Typical Characteristics of Sibling Sexual Abuse

Below is based on current sibling sexual abuse research. No survivor or family necessarily fits each and every category but you may find some resemblance.

Violation of trust

  • Trust is essential in families, but a sibling who has been given a lot of responsibility and power may abuse that trust. Sibling sexual abuse often takes place when parents fail to pay attention to the trust that they have placed in one of their children.  ~ Vernon Wiehe
  • Both the victim and non-offending parents feel a violation of trust.
  • Trust is won by the abuser, and then violated in order to commit the abuse.
  • There is a misuse of power and authority by the abusing sibling.
  • The abuse is often Non-Consensual.

Serious nature

  • Family and Society tend to ignore or minimize the impact of sibling sexual abuse.
  • Sibling incest is of at least equal seriousness as Father–daughter incest.
  • Sibling sexual abuse usually accompanies emotional and physical abuse.
  • The survivor was more readily available for a longer period of time to the abuser.
  • The abuser often commits more acts of abuse over a longer period of time.
  • Sibling Sexual Abuse is often “Hands-On Abuse”.
  • The abuse often includes the most serious and intrusive acts.
  • The abuser is more likely to have penetrated the victim.


  • Open communication is discouraged in the family.
  • The abuser held the survivor in terror and silence.
  • The abuser is protected by family secrecy.
  • The abuse is more likely to go unreported and ignored.
  • Offenders normally have little to no consequences because they are protected by family secrecy.

Problematic Family

  • Sibling sexual abuse is the result, not the cause, of a dysfunctional family.
  • Provide poor supervision and little structure.
  • The parents/guardians tend to have had a history of some form of domestic violence.
  • Disclosure of abuse is often denied or greatly minimized.
  • Families may acknowledge the abuse, but blame and/or punish the victim.
  • Families may acknowledge the abuse, but fail to protect the victim and stop the abuse.
  • When abuse is disclosed, parents divide into teams, (victim versus offender) which compete for power, resources, and support.

Negative Consequences

  • The survivor tends to feel unprotected, powerless/helpless, ashamed, rejected, blamed, and betrayed.
  • Consequences of sibling sexual abuse are the same as those seen in other child sexual abuse survivors.  A few examples include: PTSD, instances of depression, suicidal feelings, substance abuse, eating disorders, compulsive spending, and disruptive and troublesome flashbacks.
  • Family relationships are sometimes disrupted or severed.

One Comment on “Regrettable Typical Characteristics of Sibling Sexual Abuse”

  1. […] different families, backgrounds, and countries can have such similarly sad childhoods.  The characteristics of sibling sexual abuse are somewhat universal especially when it continues to go unnoticed by the parents and other adults […]

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