03 Jul Abused by siblings!
Do we even imagine siblings sexually abusing each other?
The stories shared with me were really shocking. As for me, it’s almost like I’ve seen it all, still it got me upset at many occasions.
Let me first clarify one thing.
There’s something called age appropriate sexual development and sexual curiosity. A 2 Yr old touching or playing with their mothers breasts or a 4 Yr old watching his baby sister changing her diapers & asking why she doesn’t have a penis is normal & natural. But by the time they are 6 or 7 they do understand so many things from their surroundings, such as people are not walking naked in the living room, or no one is touching other’s private parts etc. Ideally from this age they must understand certain norms & basic body rules.
The discussion I had, mainly focused on sexual activities with siblings after that age. Not about consensually looking at each others body or touching.. But sexual activities that made the other person feel completely helpless & hurt. And activities that went on for a long time.
Why does this happen. Well mainly three reasons.
1. What the child sees in the family. Generally children imitate adults while playing. If there is a lot of control they see at home, for eg father controlling the mother, they imitate that with whoever they feel is lesser than them. Mostly it is a younger sibling.
2. If they have been exposed to adult sexual content in person or on porn or even if they have been abused they might know or do inappropriate behaviours that must ideally not be known to that age group.
3. Lack of sex ed – of course if no one has communicated to them that they must not indulge in genital play, private parts are called private for a reason, everyone has body boundaries, consent, autonomy, safety etc then definitely they’ll not know they are doing something they are not supposed to do. Can’t really blame the kids for adults not opening up about all this.
Also many told me, they experienced this when they were asleep. Some hot up & chased the abuser away, but some froze and lay there helpless. Just because someone is asleep doesn’t mean the body is not aware of whats happening to it. Body is on high alert with things that make it feel uncomfortable.
Those who asked me if they must not be hugging or kissing their siblings- Not at all. Please hug them all you want. What matters here is your intention. If there’s no sexual intention the other person’s body will NOT feel uncomfortable. What constitutes abuse here is when the other person’s body was made to feel dirty, shameful, hurt, helpless & used. If that’s not happening then express love however you want.
A girl had written about how she used to be hugged too tightly & her bum regularly slapped playfully by her brother which she used to feel really bad about. Her NOs were repeatedly ignored. In fact she said there was no sexual intention but she still felt violated.
I haven’t yet posted the hundreds of extra stories I got after the Q&A was over. I’ll do it soon. And I’ll be posting a video explaining this in detail so you can share with everyone.
Until then Can we Please please please please equip our children to say No & can we guide them to follow their body signals? Starting from listening to the child’s NO when it is full after eating. DO NOT tell them you know their body better. Because you don’t! They know their body.
They must know their body. They are the only ones who decide on behalf of their body!
The body is always right. It knows if it feels unsafe, uncomfortable or unheard. Our job is to listen to it.