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my friend remembers being sexually abused by her brother
December 12, 2001
4:00 pm
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sk
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my friend has been having memories of being sexually abused by her brother. It began when she was 8 and it lasted for a number of years. Her brother is 4 years older than she is. Her brother is a very religious person and has already asked God to forgive him. My friend has never had a real conversation with him about this, but she knows that he remembers. She won't talk to her family about this because she doesn't want to ruin the close bond that they all have. She also doesn't want her mom to feel responsible for this. She won't talk to a counselor. If she can't talk to her family, how could she talk to a stranger? She also told me that she really doesn't want to remember anything, she just wants to forget. But obviously she hasn't forgotten and won't. She is 21 years old now and in a serious relationship with a great guy. He knows that she was sexually abused, but she won't tell him who did it because she wants to protect her brother. I am one of four people that knows about this and I don't know what I should do? Should I do anything?

December 12, 2001
4:18 pm
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Molly
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It should be easier for her to discuss this with a stranger, as the only consequence would be healing. There are several other consequences to deal with in opening this closed closet with all the family members. Since you are aware of her awareness, and aware that the brother has admitted it, and asked God for forgivness, you sound pretty involved, is it possible for you to mediate for the brother and sister in a neutral place. I see no gain to bring the mother in at this point, it would only cause her confusion and shame, and create quite a disturbance for the family as a whole. If not then encourage her to speak to a professional.

December 12, 2001
4:27 pm
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sk
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Her boyfriend has encouraged her to talk to a professional but she refuses. I definitely don't feel qualified enough to be the mediator. She is one of my best friends and I barely know him. The only reason I know that he has asked God to forgive him is because she told me. This issue came up between them once. She said that they cried and he talked about God and that's it. He never asked her how she was feeling or if she wanted to discuss it more. He also told her that he was going to tell his wife about it. She thinks that he told her, but I don't think he did. Everybody thinks the world of her brother and he wouldn't talk the chance of ruining his reputation. I agree, I don't think any good would come out of telling the rest of the family. But I also know that she won't talk to anybody else about it. I know that this is bothering her and that she needs help, but I don't know how to help her.

December 12, 2001
7:16 pm
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gypsygirl
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You cannot help her unless she wants the help. As for the brother he is a scumbag. I know this because my brother did the same to me!!!!!!

December 12, 2001
7:34 pm
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sk
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thank you all for your support...it's so hard not to say anything when everyone I know thinks so much of her brother & I know the truth. Next time I see him, I might slip in a little comment letting him know that I know. I don't understand how anyone could do something that horrible period, let alone pretend to be a person free of sin! I will just be there to listen for now, she's an adult and needs to sort this out however she feels comfortable. gypsygirl, how did you get through it? Was there anything that you wished your friends would have done for you?

December 12, 2001
7:45 pm
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gingerleigh
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This is difficult. I can speak from another perspective... My high school sweetheart, when he was 18 and I was 17, told me that when he was 10 he inappropriately touched his younger sister (she was younger by 4 years). This happened a few times, playing "doctor". As a childhood sexual abuse survivor where the perp was also a family member, I was pretty horrified inside to hear this from someone that I loved, trusted and was sharing my first "normal" sexual experiences with. I couldn't really pass judgement, I didn't know what to say, but I do know he was horribly horribly sorry and spent years torturing himself and drowning in the guilt. I never questioned him as to why, and eventually he tried to kill himself and wound up in therapy with prescribed meds for ADD and other things.

We never discussed his weirdness with his sister or my past again. We lost touch over the years, I am not sure what happened to the family, but last I heard, he was married, as was she, and the family was still intact. I don't know if his sister ever processed what happened, since she was 6. Plus he was 10, old enough to know that things weren't quite right, but not old enough to really understand... he told me "I was old enough to know better! I should have known better! Wrong wrong wrong!" What do you say to that? Is that something that a 10 year old should know? Should a 12 year old know better? How much better? What encourages a 12 year old to act that way with a sister? What was going on in that house? Who put that idea into his head and made it seem like this was an OK impulse to act on?

There's likely more going on here than is known, so it's real hard to play judge and jury. Only thing that I'm completely set on is that it's AWFUL that your friend got abused, and it was WRONG for her brother to do that, and steps should be taken to make sure that he NEVER abuses anyone again. But...

This really is between your friend and her brother. I wouldn't recommend getting in the middle. Just be there for her to listen when she asks. You might also want to encourage her to get some outside counseling and get over whatever stigma she associates it with. Heck, encourage her to post here as a start...

December 12, 2001
7:49 pm
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gypsygirl
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STUFFING

My brother is now a parianoid schizophrenic with social anxiety that is the only reason I can forgive him and still talk to him. I have developed multiples partly because of that I still have not faced it completely and do not want to I mentioned it in passing to my therapist but do not feel comfortable talking about it.

December 13, 2001
4:40 pm
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Ladeska
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As others have said here - not much you can do except just be there for her. I do have to say though - that I really have a hard time with the bit of - her talking to her brother and him saying he went to God and got forgiveness, but didn't get "her forgiveness" and didn't ask her how she was or anything in that direction. Not okay. Not okay AT ALL. I am highly suspicious of anyone who does something like that and you can forget the bit of him being "godlike". GONG!!! on that one. That's not christian, moral, nice or anything of the kind. It's a narcissistic mindset. It's all about "me, me, me".

Yeppers, supposedly when my father got religion (which was just another con, btw) he got up in front of church and went on and on about God, and this and that and how God was so good to him, blah, blah, yada, yada. Meanwhile, I'm in the pew about to puke up dinner. Because the asshole - never said sorry to me for all the atrocities he did, but he could get up there and cry like a baby in front of everyone and turn over this new leaf and have everyone fall all over this new convert. What the hell ever.

And yet, he would come home and preach to ME, read me bible verses until I wanted to beat him with the bible and went on and on about what all he knew in the spiritual realm. And yet, all he could say to me was and I quote, "Sorry for the life you had growing up." Cute, huh? No, no, nothing cute about it and this holier than thou bullshit - doesn't fly with me either.

IF you are holy or moral or whatever - you get inside this other person's skin that you have wronged and when you exhibit that you are sorry - they know it is sincere...they feel it because this person can feel their victim's pain and they are truly remorseful for it. This guy just said he was going to tell his wife to try and keep anyone else from telling her because supposedly now- she already knows! Well, if she does know anything - I'm so sure the story she got told is rather different and one-sided about what happened and who did what!

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