About Me

paulabrave2One survivor’s struggles with past sibling sexual violence…

In the fall of 1974, at 7 years old, I found myself in the Emergency Room (ER) with my parents. I was there because my friend’s mother called my Mom concerned because I showed up at their house with blood running down my legs from my groin area. At 7 years old, I did not understand what and how this happen. I first noticed the blood when I went to get on a swing so I blamed the swing. At that time, I was not able to connect what my 14 year old brother did to me earlier that day was the real cause.

After some debate, my parents finally decided to take me to the ER only to have the doctor dismiss me for home care. The ER doctor did not want to deal with my hysterical mother and apparently lacked experience to identify the tares inside my vagina was caused by rape. The ER doctor asked my parents to promise to follow up with our own pediatrician. My parents never followed up. To this day, the hospital was never able to locate an ER report on this incident although my parents and I still remember being there.

When I finally saw my own pediatrician in the spring of 1975, I had a urinary tract infection (UTI), unexplained migraines, stomach aches, and emotional turmoil that my physician treated me with Gantrisin (for the UTI) and Phenobarbital (for everything else?). The physician took my mother’s word that this was all related to stress at school. So my story continues with many other acts of abuse and rape being committed by my 2nd oldest rapist-brothers and my parents continued denial, minimization, and their own domestic violence.

My oldest brother (by 9 years) did participate in “hands-off” sexual abuse up until he witnessed my 2nd oldest brother (by 7 years) take my virginity when I was 7. I was 7.  I was in 2nd grade while the brother that took my virginity was in 9th grade and the brother that witnessed the horrific event was in 11th grade … two high school boys against one grade school girl.

After that, my oldest brother never participated in sexually abusing me ever again; however, because of the complete breakdown in communication within my childhood family home; My 2nd oldest brother was in a position of power to continue sexually abusing me until he moved out of the home about 5 years later.

Sibling sexual violence is the result, not the cause, of a dysfunctional family. My own rape by my abusive brother was not the cause of my family’s problems; it was a symptom of a much deeper family problem, such as my own parent’s own atrocious child abuse history done by their parents. It appears the abuse has been passed down through generations in my family. Clearly, my parents were not paying attention to their children. My 2nd oldest brother was placed in the role of a substitute father while my parents failed to cope with their own lives and role as my parents.

My parents were giving a second opportunity when I was 16 to protect me and hold my brothers accountable for their actions. Instead they became very angry and drank heavy amounts of alcohol and did nothing. This was the day my mother found my journals about my painful memories of being raped in her home as a little girl.  “Are responses to Sibling Sexual Abuse as Harmful as the Abuse?” For me, the answer is, “Yes!”  My parents concern for preserving “appearances” and protecting my brother from consequences outweighed the welfare of their daughter.

To this day, my childhood family remains in a shattered state and I am still seeking help for all the unfortunate aftereffects of multiple traumatic events repeated over a prolonged period of years during childhood. I know that it is too late to help the 7 year old little girl in my story but my hope is that others can learn from my past so maybe other little girls, little boys, and families do not have to suffer the same fate.


One Comment on “About Me”

  1. Thank you. Thank you for your courage. Thank you for surviving. Thank you for sharing. I am so sorry your parents were not able to be proper protectors and guardians for you. I am so sorry your brothers learned violence. I am so sorry that no one in the system seemed empowered to see your plight and help you. We have a nonprofit that teaches incest survivors to regain their human rights that were taken from them by the people who should have been teaching them. Check us out sometime: http://www.healingincest.org. You are not alone. You are loved. Keep seeking wholeness – we are with you. One day you will pull that little 7-year old girl inside yourself onto your lap and tell her, “I am here for you now. No one is going to hurt you any more.” I know it will be so – keep healing, keep seeking help, keep learning, keep going!
    with love and hope, Another Mother

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