Taboo Sibling Incest / Sibling Sexual Abuse (non-consensual)

Sibling Incest is also known as Sibling Sexual Abuse and is a form of non-consensual intrafamilial sexual abuse.  Intrafamilial sexual abuse is another term used to describe incest or child sexual abuse that occurs within the family.  According to the WHO (World Health Organization), Incest/intrafamilial abuse accounts for about one third of all child sexual abuse cases.
Sibling sex abuse is now recognized as the most common form of intrafamilial sexual abuse.
In times of great sorrow people tend to go to the comfort of family and friends. But what do you do if the source of your sorrow is a life changing event that is considered taboo? What if this life changing event is sexual abuse committed by an aggressor in our own immediate family? How do we relate to our family, friends, and others when the topic is considered “forbidden”?  Do you risk telling anyone?  Sibling Sexual Abuse is an unfortunate truth that is many times ignored and/or not discussed since most people avoid this taboo like a skeleton(s) in the closet. However, people still pretend and choose to avoid dealing with the looming big issue.
skeletons-in-closet“Skeletons in the closet” is an idiom used to describe an undisclosed fact about someone which, if revealed, would have a negative impact on that person.
I remember, at 13, the first time I learned the meaning of the word “taboo”. The definition in the dictionary gave a few examples of what taboo is and of course incest was listed. The small voice inside me agreed “yes … this happened to me but I can’t talk about it … now what?”  13 is when the nightmares started and flashbacks were almost a constant companion.  My eyes opened and my reality altered. This whole facade of my “hero” “brother” came crashing in. I was able for the first time to see what he did to me was sexual abuse.  I remember looking up the word incest in the dictionary numerous times because I realized that this definition fit me and the “brother” I loved so much, and I now felt hatred.  The paradox of loving and hating the same person at the same time began.
crime_victimTaboo signifies that a truth or something is forbidden, perverse, unclean, or cursed.   A topic so taboo tends to leave the survivor of sibling sexual abuse many times without a voice. 
Incest is frequently referred to as taboo however; incest can refer to consensual and non-consensual sex acts between close blood relations. Sibling sexual abuse is a term sometimes referred to as sibling incest, but for the purpose of this blog, both terms are referring to non-consensual Intrafamilial sexual violence. Non-consensual sibling incest is the result (not the cause) of family dysfunction with the parent’s failure to pay attention to the trust that they have placed in one of their children over another child, such as, baby-sitting. My own family had troubles way before either of my brothers started “grooming” me.
thicker“The taboo against talking about incest is stronger than the taboo against doing it” – Maria Sauzier, M.D1
My visit to the ER at 7 years old in 1974 with blood coming from tares inside my vagina was a major red flag of physical signs of being raped (by my older “brother”).  This was an obvious truth that was being ignored and remained unaddressed.  The doctor treated the wounds but not the cause.  I was very afraid and could not remember how this happen.  The doctor was more concerned for my mother’s overt hysteria and calming her down than for the silent little girl bleeding on the examination table. I was sent home.  The cause, my “brother”, continued to rape me for several more years.
tumblr_m0g693qcKM1r4m87ko1_500Visible signs of child sexual abuse are rare but when physical signs are demonstrated and ignored, then an obvious truth that is being ignored or goes unaddressed similar to the account of the “Emperor’s New Clothes” or the metaphor of an “elephant in the room”. 
An “elephant in the room” is an English metaphorical idiom for an obvious truth that is being ignored or goes unaddressed. The expression also applies to an obvious problem or risk no one wants to discuss. It is based on the idea that an elephant in a room would be impossible to overlook; however, people still pretend the elephant is not in the room and choose to avoid dealing with the looming big issue.
imagesCASF71OS“Yeah, I see him too … But nobody wants to talk about it!”
It is easier to discount signs of sexual abuse when the victim and the aggressor are both your own children. Another layer of denial and complexity is added to an already troubled home. The parents may find it easier to accept lies (not even very good lies) than have to deal with an unthinkable taboo involving their own children yet the parents are still accountable to protect and help both children.  “Sibling sexual abuse is a gross abuse of trust.  Survivors often reveal feeling betrayed  …”2
new baby sisterFigure 13-1 The new baby sister.  The moment when life’s longest relationship begins.
 In the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes, you would think it would be impossible to overlook a naked King; however, people still pretend the King was wearing clothes and choose to avoid dealing with the looming big issue. It took a child in the crowd, too young to understand the desirability of keeping up the pretense, to blurt out that the Emperor is wearing nothing at all.  the emperor's new clothes
My 2nd oldest “brother” was my baby-sitter. No one could see the signs in me or what signs they saw were dismissed. It is difficult for people to draw conclusions that a little girl is being raped by her big “brother”. My parents failed to pay attention to the trust that they placed in one of their children to be in charge of me. Maintaining family secrecy and saving the dream of the “ideal family” is placed before the welfare of their victimized child in order to protect themselves and their aggressor child from any outside legal/social advocacy, intervention, interference, and most of all embarrassment.
big_brother_is_watching_you_propaganda_poster-re04eeda43f6c4d049e38e774389b109e_aiked_400“… fear, along with shame surrounding the ‘incest taboo’, can mean the victim’s silence extends over the years of childhood, and for some, continuing into adulthood.” 2


The referenced pamphlet is an excellent resource for survivors:

  1. Goulburn Valley Centre Against Sexual Assault Sibling Sexual Abuse Pamphlet:

Incest Survivors United Voices of America I.S.U.V.O.A.

There are so many resources today to help survivors of incest (child sexual abuse) that I have decided to start featuring one of these resources as least one a month.  So for July 2014, I am featuring Incest Survivors United Voices of America I.S.U.V.O.A.

Incest Survivors United Voices of America I.S.U.V.O.A.

I.S.U.V.O.A. supports men, women and children that have suffered from the effects of sexual violence and child abuse. We draw upon our own personal experience and knowledge as a man and a woman that has endured these tragedies ourselves. We blend together our insights and unique perspectives in a way that is rarely seen to help others gain understanding to heal and be empowered as well to become more than just mere survivors. We hope that you enjoy our website as we each share our unique stories we each have in our journey as individuals and as friends. Our hope is that you can be encouraged and empowered to continue on the journey just as we have to find the peace of mind, strength and understanding to rise up against the devastating effects of abuse just as we have done. We share the hope that is within us to help you and others understand that healing is possible and that together we can make this world a safer place for your children today.

They also have a Blog Talk Radio Program called HOW- Healing Our Wounds Blog Talk Radio.  Check out their website for more information at:

This featured resource goes well with a news article I posted back in February 2013 titled “America Has an Incest Problem”

Be Safe – Paula Brave