Sibling abuse, including sibling sexual abuse, commonly known as sibling incest, is more prevalent than most people would like to believe. In fact, it is probably the most accepted, and ignored, form of domestic violence.
According to Dr. Vernon Wiehe, professor of social work at the University of Kentucky and author of Perilous Rivalry: When Siblings Become Abusive, ‘…as many as 53 out of every 100 children abuse a brother or sister, higher than the percentage of adults who abuse their children or their spouse. What some kids do to their brother or sister inside the family would be called assault outside the family’.
Because of the relationship of perpetrator and victim the abuse is rarely acknowledged or understood within the family. It is often hidden or minimized outside the family. ‘Boys will be boys’ or ‘siblings fight’ are often heard phrases which minimize the activity, and the damage caused by such behaviors.
Here you will find information about the problems associated with this type of domestic violence. “Sibling Sexual Abuse – A Parents Guide” offers much useful information. Separate sections help parents to recognize sibling abuse and give information on how to intervene if you discover this is happening in your family. Also of interest is a section on prevention of sibling sexual abuse.
Perpetrators are frequently protected by parents and other family members. This protection shields them from dealing with the consequences of their actions. The victim is also not given the help that they need in order to deal with the effects of the abuse.
Survivors of sibling abuse & sibling sexual abuse often display signs of post traumatic stress disorder. The symptoms are the result of traumatic events with which the survivor is unable to cope. Complex post traumatic stress disorder is a relatively new term, first used by Judith Herman in her book Trauma & Recovery, and is used to distinguish symptoms and situations of CPTSD from those of PTSD.
CPTSD is frequently seen in survivors of trauma, abuse and control extending over months or years.
There may also be signs of dissociative identity disorder or DID. Many of the symptoms of DID will also be found on the other lists of symptoms caused by severe trauma.
Some people with DID may have a tendency toward self-persecution, self-sabotage, and violence. The violence may be self-inflicted and/or directed at the outside.
Denial serves to reinforce the damage. The person will have problems that may last for a lifetime if they do not receive treatment.