Violence UnSilenced Story – Revised and Revived

My story from September 29, 2011 was removed from the Violence Unsilenced Website. http://violenceunsilenced.com  I completely understand why.  My story was fragmented, rambling, and difficult to understand.  It is clear I was in an extreme amount of pain at that time.  I have salvaged what I thought was worth keeping and tried to clean it up in a more understandable format.

Here is the edited form of the story …

The following are the sexual abusive acts my brothers either did to me or did in front of me using some form of force, manipulation, and/or intimidation while I was between the ages of 5 – 11 years old during the 1970s:

Violence Labeled:

Types of Abuses Oldest Brother 2nd Oldest Brother
Hands-off Abuse (In my presence):
·         Verbal Sexual Taunting & cruel mockery me X X
·         Sexual Grooming of me X X
·         Sexual Acts between brothers X X
·         Full Frontal Nudity X X
·         Masturbation X X
·         Exposure to Pornography X X
·         Encouraging and Viewing other brother rape me while he masturbated. X
Hands-on Abuse to me:
·         Sexual fondling, touching, or sexual contact X
·         Oral to genital contact X
·         Attempted intercourse (Simulated Sex) X
·         Actual intercourse (Rape) X
·         Physical injuries resulting from rapes X
·         Visit to the ER as a result of one sever physical injury X
  • The oldest brother fully admitted and took responsibility for his part and has shown full remorse for his part. He agreed with my memory of what was done to me.
  • The 2nd oldest brother minimized his actions, blamed me, and gave numerous excuses. He never showed me the same remorse and full responsibility for his actions that B1 has shown.

Clues sexual abuse was going on in childhood:

  • Frequent complaints of stomach aches and head aches
  • Low productivity in school: Special low Math and reading groups (K – 8). Evaluation for Special school district in 5th grade
  • Speech therapy focused on lack of “TH” sound usage (the blended consonants represented the abuse and my brothers used this sound for taunting me in front of my parents.)
  • Phenobarbital prescribed at the end of 2nd grade and continued into 3rd grade for emotional turmoil.
  • UTIs
  • Unexplained bruises on my thighs
  • ER visit for vaginal bleeding at age 7 due to lacerations inside my vagina.

My parents found out about the abuse when I was 16. My mother found my journals. I was very depressed at 16. My mother’s response was a drunken rage and making fun of me and my journals. My father joined in when he came home. I really wanted to commit suicide that night but instead I shut up and shut down and became submissive like so many other times in my life.  I was broken.

I can’t remember a time that PTSD, depression, and distorted thinking has not been a part of my life.  I have been in counseling or therapy most of my adult life.  I still struggle with interpersonal relationships, depression, and sorted other emotional problems. I struggle to avoid isolation. I am in charge of my own life and I know I can’t blame current situations on my past.  Taking care of me and my healing process has to remain first if I am to thrive and enjoy my life today.  I am more than my past.


Pandoras-Aquarium Article on Sibling Sexual Abuse / Incest During Childhood

hel2Pandoras-Aquarium – Sibling Sexual Abuse / Incest During Childhood by Katy

“Sibling child sexual abuse is defined as “sexual behavior between siblings that is not age appropriate, not transitory, and not motivated by developmentally, mutually appropriate curiosity” (Caffaro & Conn-Caffaro, 1998). In the literature it is sometimes referred to simply as “sexually harmful behavior” rather than abuse, but I will refer to it as “abuse . . .”  http://www.pandys.org/articles/siblingsexualabuse.html

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I really like this article.  It is comforting for survivors and well researched for the time it was written.  I have only found one flaw with the article and it could be related to the time the author did research on the topic and proper information was unavailable.  This flaw seems to scream at me and this could be because of how passionate I am about current research on this topic and because I am a survivor of sibling sexual abuse myself and my experiences were quite severe.The following statement from the article is flawed and a myth:

“However, perhaps more frequently than found in adult – child sexual abuse, sibling sexual abuse is frequently non – touching.”

The following is information to dispel this myth: ”sibling sexual abuse is frequently non – touching.”:

  1.  Sibling sexual abusers are thought be worse than other sexual offenders, whose victims may be inside or outside of the family. Sibling sexual offenders commit more sex crimes for more years, and often practice more intrusive sexual behavior, such as vaginal penetration (Firestone, 1999).  http://www.uic.edu/classes/socw/socw517/siblingincestbrunnette.htm
  2. Rudd and Herzberger[22]report that brothers who committed incest were more likely to use force than fathers who commit incest (64% vs. 53%). Similarly, Cyr and colleagues[7] found that about 70% of sibling incest involved sexual penetration, substantially higher than other forms of incest. (22 – Rudd, J. M., and Herzberger, S. D. (1999). Brother-sister incest/father-daughter incest: A comparison of characteristics and consequences. Child Abuse and Neglect, 23, pp. 915-928. 7 – Cyr, M., Wright, J., McDuff, P., & Perron, A. (2002). Intrafamilial sexual abuse: Brother-sister incest does not differ from father-daughter and stepfather-stepdaughter incest. Child Abuse and Neglect, 26, p. 957-973.)
  3. Sibling sexual abuse also seems to be the most severe with higher rates of sexual penetration than other intrafamilial sexual abuses (O’Brien, 1991). But it is not limited to intercourse and includes nonpenetration touching (e.g., groping) as well as nontouching behaviors such as leering, forcing a sibling to view pornographic material, and sexual proposals. All have potentially harmful psychological effects on the victim. Although father–daughter sexual abuse has received more attention, there is some evidence that sibling sexual abuse is as harmful with regard to psychological distress (Cyr, Wright, McDuff, & Perron, 2002). ( Caspi PhD, Dr. Jonathan (2011-09-12). Sibling Aggression: Assessment and Treatment (p. 8-9). Springer Publishing. Kindle Edition.)
  4. Sibling sexual abuse (incest) often causes more damage than abuse by a stranger. This is because children are dependent on their families and parents to keep them safe. Studies of convicted teenage sexual abuse offenders show that the sibling offenders commit more serious abuse over a longer period of time than other teenage offenders. This is because the victims (brothers or sisters) are more readily available, they are available for a longer period of time and the abuse is protected by family secrecy. (Public Health Agency of Canada) http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/ncfv-cnivf/sources/nfnts/nfnts-visac-sibabus/index-eng.php
  5. In the handful of studies comparing sibling incest victims with victims of parent-child incest, one set of researchers (Cyr et al., 2002) found a higher percentage (71%) of sibling cases involving intercourse . In another study (Meiselman, 1978), sibling victims engaged more often in oral-genital contact, had more often experienced periods of sexual promiscuity, and more often reported a history of rape.  More-recent investigators (Carlson et al., 2006; Tidefors et al., 2010; Tremblay et al., 1999; Welfare, 2008) suggest that sibling sexual abuse also results in more pregnancies than does father-daughter incest because offenders have greater access to victims and penetrate them more frequently. They suggested that the seriousness of the effects may be due to the duration and intrusiveness of the sexual acts, which are greater than in adult-child sexual abuse. Questions about the scope of the incest are complex, and depend somewhat on developmental factors. Younger offenders may be more likely to respect a victim’s unwillingness to continue the incest; an older victim may be more able to resist a brother’s or sister’s manipulation or sexual aggression. Evidence suggests, however, that older brothers may behave more like parents in maintaining the incest without regard for their sisters’ protests . Overall, the primary conclusions reached are that victims are most often female and are likely to suffer from extensive mental health problems (Winokur et al., 2009). [Caffaro, John V. (2013-08-22). Sibling Abuse Trauma: Assessment and Intervention Strategies for Children, Families, and Adults, Second Edition (Kindle Locations 2154-2165). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.]

Further evidence to support why sibling sexual abuse is actually harmful, originates from a conference outline presented by John Caffaro in 2007.  The following is from than outline:

Reasons why sibling violence is thought to be less harmful:

  • Presumption that child offenders not as strong, and victims therefore, not as damaged by threats
  • The notion that child-on-child violence developmentally is normal and therefore victims feel less stigmatized and violated
  • It leads to belief that children are developmentally more resilient when child perpetrators involved
  • Finally, presumptions of mutual responsibility in terms like scuffle, fights, squabbles often used to describe sibling conflict. 

Critique of Presumptions:

  • Lack of socialization often make child offenders more, not less dangerous
  • Remember, sex crimes are believed to be more injurious the earlier they are experience
  • Children may have much more intense and on-going contact with assailants–siblings—than would most adult victims

 http://www.oudconsultancy.nl/Resources/Proceedings_5th_Violence_in_Clinical_Psychiatry_2007.pdf


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: http://www.gvcasa.com.au/documents/sibling_sexual_abuse.pdf

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: http://www.isuvoa.com

This featured resource goes well with a news article I posted back in February 2013 titled “America Has an Incest Problem”  https://paulabrave.wordpress.com/2013/02/

Be Safe – Paula Brave


Rewind To Fast-Forward

Director Sasha Joseph Neulinger spent his childhood in front of a camera. His father Henry, also a documentary filmmaker, shot over two hundred hours of home video capturing every aspect of Sasha’s young life. But within the footage of birthday parties, family trips, and hockey games, something dark was hidden.  Sasha revisits his father’s videos and the painful secret of his early years—a secret that would shift the course of his life.

Between the ages of three and seven, Sasha was sexually abused by two of his uncles and one male cousin. After Sasha came forward and spoke up about the abuse, his father Henry shared a secret of his own.  Henry’s brothers, the same men who had abused Sasha, had also abused Henry as a boy.  Sasha spent a decade entangled in the criminal justice system—and struggling to find his identity in the aftermath of his stolen childhood. This autobiographical film will unearth a historical case of multigenerational sexual abuse and by doing so, it will also give intimate and inspiring insight into one survivor’s healing process.

His website is at: http://rewindtofastforward.com/

His Kickstarter Project is at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sashaneulinger/rewind-to-fast-forward

Visual imagery with audio is a powerful tool. This film is quite significant for me as a survivor.  I hope this young man succeeds in his Kickstarter project because I look forward to watching his film.  


Two major causes to be aware of in April: Child Abuse Prevention and Sexual Assault Awareness

Some Secrets Should be Told – child sexual abuse … tell someone you trust.

To make copies of the above poster go to: http://www.somesecretsshouldbetold.com

Under the picture it explains how to make your own 8 1/2 X 11 copies.

Please post where adults and children can see it.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month!

 

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month


Desire and Defense: Survivors of Sibling Abuse challenged by Intimacy (Amy Meyers, PhD, LCSW February 19, 2014)

Our primary motivation is to feel a sense of connection to others (Fairbairn, 1952). The root of all connectedness begins with mother-infant, yet siblings soon become a key source of emotional connection (Winnicott, 1971). When children lack nurturing relationships in their home, they search for that connection throughout their life. Families set a precedent for how its members understand closeness with another person; how they think about connectedness; and how they experience intimacy. Because victims of sibling abuse do not have a model for a “healthy” and satisfying connection, there is a tendency in adulthood to seek out relationships that repeat aspects of their previous experiences.

Survivors of sibling abuse endure feelings of helplessness, powerlessness, and inferiority that erodes self-esteem. This ultimately influences the nature and quality of relationships to others. When one’s most trusted peer—the sibling—betrays the sanctity of that relationship, the idea of closeness—and of intimacy—becomes fraught with danger. As a result, survivors develop defenses against and within intimate relationships as an attempt to self-protect from re-traumatization.

See more of the article at: Desire and Defense: Survivors of Sibling Abuse challenged by Intimacy

Also see her latest journal article:

Meyers, Amy. (2014): “A call to child welfare: Protect children from sibling abuse” Qualitative Social Work March 12, 2014http://qsw.sagepub.com/content/early/2014/03/09/1473325014527332.abstract

Abstract

Sibling abuse is extremely common, yet child welfare does not provide statutes for its identification and workers are not trained to identify its occurrence. This retrospective study explored adults survivors’ experiences of childhood and adolescent sibling abuse and the family environment that engendered hostile sibling relationships. The varying parental responses from punitive to neglect to collusion with the perpetrator resulted in feelings of helplessness and worthlessness in the victim. Personal narratives of survivors highlight the sibling abusive experience and underscore its devastating repercussions. Recommendations are presented for child welfare to establish sibling abuse as a phenomenon in need of recognition and include siblings in risk assessment.

p7_selfesteem