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SIBLING SEXUAL ABUSE. Why Might This Type of Abuse Be Unique Interacts with family dynamics Victim and perpetrator will have ongoing relationship There.

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Presentation on theme: "SIBLING SEXUAL ABUSE. Why Might This Type of Abuse Be Unique Interacts with family dynamics Victim and perpetrator will have ongoing relationship There."— Presentation transcript:

1 SIBLING SEXUAL ABUSE

2 Why Might This Type of Abuse Be Unique Interacts with family dynamics Victim and perpetrator will have ongoing relationship There will be issues around family separation and family reunification

3 How Much Do we Really Know There is little research on sibling sexual abuse Research limited, often not specific to sibling sexual abuse, and often quite old Much of the information from studies of: Incest Incest Juvenile Sexual Offenders Juvenile Sexual Offenders Sibling abuse (physical and sexual) Sibling abuse (physical and sexual)

4 Definitions Includes stepsiblings, half siblings, and cousins NonconsensualSevere

5 Nonconsensual Age Differences years Florida law Power Difference Favored Child Caretaker Child Differences in strength, size, gender, intelligence, or developmental sophistication

6 Nonconsensual CoercionThreatsForceInjuryManipulationBribes

7 Severity Type of Activity Frequency

8 Severity Intercourse Oral Sex Other Penetration Can include hands-off abuse (ex. indecent exposure, forcing the sibling to watch pornography, taking pornographic pictures of sibling)

9 Severity Frequency Repeated instances Compulsive and interferes with normal activities

10 Models Nurturant or Psuedoconsentual Abuse Repeated consensual contact over time Sexual activity provides affection, contact and support (i.e. critical emotional needs) missing in childrens relations with parents The behavior often begins with elements of loyalty, mutual satisfaction, and support Power-Oriented May be to experience power in its own sake May be to compensate for the abusers own sense of powerlessness or past abuse

11 Prevalence Little information is known about the specific prevalence of sibling sexual abuse It is more likely to go underreported and ignored Older brother, younger sister most common, although all possible dyads occur Anecdotally, it appears to occur at all levels of income and education, and across all ethnicities Court Sample – 2/3 Sex Batt 1/2 L&Ls

12 What Do We Know About Sibling Offenders No single type of abusive sibling Sibling offenders have been found to have a diverse variety of personality characteristics

13 Sibling offenders often have experienced past trauma or maltreatment have not always been sexually abused themselves are very likely to have been physically abused may have experienced neglect and isolation may have access to pornography may be isolated and not relate well with peers average age of 15 ?! ( Caffaro & Conn-Caffaro, 1998)

14 Favoritism They may be favored and feel immune from detection or consequences if they target a scapegoated sibling They may feel rejected and retaliate against a weaker sibling

15 Research Comparing Sibling with Extra-familial Offenders The literature that does exist typically summarizes case studies OBrien (1991) compared: sibling offenders sibling offenders youth who abused peers and adult youth who abused peers and adult

16 Behavior of Sibling offenders OBrien found: Committed more acts of abuse over a longer period of time More likely to have penetrated their victims More likely to have 2 or more victims Less likely to have had court-ordered treatment OBrien speculated that opportunity and the nature of sibling and family dynamics may have contributed to these findings

17 Characteristics of Sibling Offenders OBrien found: More likely to have been physically abused Only a small percentage of OBriens sample reported that they had been sexually abused by a family member

18 Characteristics of Sibling Offenders families OBrien found: Parents, especially mothers, were much more likely to have been physically abused 36% of mothers of sibling offenders versus 9% of extra-familial offenders 10% versus 5.5% of fathers Rate of family dysfunction higher in sibling sexual abuse families

19 What Do We Know About Sibling Victims Average age of victim is (De Jong, 1988; Caffaro &Conn-Caffaro, 1998) Average age of victim is (De Jong, 1988; Caffaro &Conn-Caffaro, 1998) Sexual abuse is likely to have been more severe and/or frequent (OBrien, 1991) Consequences especially severe and traumatizing if force or aggression involved

20 Sibling Victims Laviola (1989) in a study of brother sister incest found: Force and aggression more likely to be associated with intercourse With force - victim likely to feel very negatively toward sibling and the behavior But less severe abuse problematic as well Less severe sexual behavior was likely to be associated with more subtle forms of coercion; Victim likely to feel ambivalent about the offender, and blame themselves for the incest

21 Consequences to the Sibling More likely to become precociously sexualized, and act out sexually - including sexually abuse others* More likely to exhibit disturbances of conduct* May be come confused about their sexuality More problems in family and romantic relationships More sexual problems Possible problems with emotional regulation

22 Consequences to the Sibling More likely to runaway More likely to experience teen pregnancy More likely to make suicide attempts, especially between ages 14 and 16 Frequently re-victimized throughout life, including physical abuse, rape, and domestic violence Lower self-esteem (Most of this from general incest research)

23 What Do We Know About The Families Provide poor supervision and little structure Tend to have had a history of domestic violence and physical abuse Secrets - Discourage open communication

24 Sibling Abuse Families May fail to provide appropriate boundaries: Extramarital affairs (76% of the sibling cases of Smith & Israel, 1987) Extramarital affairs (76% of the sibling cases of Smith & Israel, 1987) Parent-child hierarchies Parent-child hierarchies Sleeping arrangements Sleeping arrangements Privacy for family members Privacy for family members Family member sexual behavior (ex. allow children to observe adult sexual behavior) Family member sexual behavior (ex. allow children to observe adult sexual behavior) Choice of surrogate caretakers (ex. allow children to remain unsupervised with/in the care of known sibling offenders) Choice of surrogate caretakers (ex. allow children to remain unsupervised with/in the care of known sibling offenders)

25 Sibling Abuse Families Parental absence - physical or emotional Divorce Divorce Work Work Parent dealing with own trauma Parent dealing with own trauma Substance abuse Substance abuse Psychiatric illness Psychiatric illness Dependent personality orders Dependent personality orders Some researchers argue that this is the most important dynamic in sibling incest families

26 Problematic Families Deny the allegations of abuse Ignore or minimize the abuse Acknowledge the abuse, but blame and/or punish the victim Acknowledge the abuse, but fail to protect the victim and stop the abuse When abuse is disclosed, divide into teams, (victim versus offender) which compete for power resources, and support In the end, problematic families can leave the victim feeling unprotected, helpless, rejected, and further blamed as the victim begins to act out

27 Safety Planning Assess victims comfort with the offender in the home Assess parents ability to supervise appropriately Identify internal and external risk factors

28 Common Safety Plan Elements Offender not to supervise other children Offender not to be left alone with younger or vulnerable children or share a bedroom with them Vulnerable children bedrooms will be closer to parents Alarms may be placed on offenders door Family members will not shower or bathe together Family members will dress appropriately at all times

29 Common Safety Plan Elements Family members will knock if doors are closed No babysitting No changing diapers No dressing, bathing or helping younger or disadvantaged children get ready in the morning No sleepovers No pornographic materials

30 Treatment Important to distinguish between mutually consenting among similar age siblings or even age-appropriate sex play before starting NCSBY Handout on Sexual Behavior Problems from 2 – 12

31 Cloé Madanes (1990) Model for Sibling Sexual Abuse Treatment General Principals Create a positive framework by emphasizing compassion, higher emotion, and spirituality Create a positive framework by emphasizing compassion, higher emotion, and spirituality No secrets – Secrets allow abuse to continue No secrets – Secrets allow abuse to continue Emphasize blamelessness of the victim Emphasize blamelessness of the victim Find outside protectors (for each child) Find outside protectors (for each child) Emphasize offender responsibility and reparation Emphasize offender responsibility and reparation Steps can be modified depending on the situation Steps can be modified depending on the situation

32 Madanes 16 Steps: 1.Obtain an account of the sexual offense(s) moving from parents, to siblings, to offender, to victim 2.Ask each family member why it was wrong beginning with the offender 3.Therapist - it was also wrong because it caused the victim spiritual pain or pain in the heart 4.Therapist - it also causes a spiritual pain in the victimizer

33 5.Discuss other sexual victimization that has gone on the family 6.Therapist – these behaviors also causes a spiritual pain in the family 7.The Apology – offender gets on knees in from of the victim and repents 8.The Apology II – other family members get down on their knees and repent for not having protected the victim 9.Discussing the consequences of any future abuse

34 10.Find a protector for the victim (e.g. responsible uncle, 2 grandmothers, etc) 11.Individually with victim – work to place the abuse in context and orient victim to positive things in her life 12.Reparation – an act of long-term sacrifice for the offender that is beneficial to the victim 13.Reconnecting the offender to peers and appropriate social and sexual activities

35 14.Restoration of the parents love for the offender 15.Restoration of the offenders role as protective of younger sibling 16.Help offender to forgive him/herself

36 Wes Crenshaw, PhD (Family Therapy Institute Midwest) Has taken the apology step and broadly applied it to a broad variety of dependency cases Appears to have worked more frequently with cases where victim, offender, and/or have been removed from the home Madanes had the apology take place toward the beginning of treatment - Crenshaws model seems to build to the apology which is seen as the heart of the intervention


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