Here is your warning

My story starts when I was in college. I was taking a women’s history class. We were in a discussion room with only about 20 students in the room. The professor was talking about the article we were supposed to read last night (I didn’t read it…whoops) and he stated a quote. Now, I don’t remember the exact quote but it went something like “1 in 5 girls are sexually abused”. At that moment a wave of anxiety and traumatic experiences flashed through my brain. I sat there, remembering that I am that 1 girl, I was sexually abused by my older brother. I have never said these words out loud. I never accepted it and I pushed it back into my brain. It wasn’t until that statistic was read that I remembered. I remembered my brother “teaching me” about my lady parts. I remember my brother dragging his penis on my stomach. I remember him “teaching me” how to kiss. I remember him telling me it was okay to sleep naked together. I remember him on top of me. I don’t remember when it started or ended. I would say around 7 is when it started. Probably around 10 when it ended. I remember when I realized it wasn’t right and pleading to God that I wasn’t pregnant. I didn’t realize I couldn’t get pregnant at my age so I would stay up all night worried and crying. My brother is now an alcoholic and lives with family. He can’t support himself and has been going through a rough time. I was informed by a family member that my brother was sexually assaulted. He was sexually assaulted after he sexually abused me. Right now, I am struggling with everything. I act like everything is fine, but no one knows what he did, no one has any idea. I am expected to help him through this time because I am his sister but I can’t. He leans on me for advice and I give it because that is what a good sister would do. I think he thinks I forgot about the abuse because for 8 years I did. But I remember now and I can’t tell anyone. 


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15 comments

  1. CarmenR Volunteer

    Hi there,

    I am so sorry that this happened to you. What your brother did was not your fault, and you didn’t deserve it. You don’t owe him or the rest of your family anything. You don’t have to suppport him or have him in your life if you dont’ want to. That is your choice to make. I hope that telling us what happened has helped. We are here for you, and we beleive you. Is there anything we can do to help further? Stay strong, and know that you are always welcome here.

    Carmen

  2. Brianna W Volunteer Volunteer

    I’m so sorry this happened to you. I’m also sorry to hear that this class has brought back memories of that event. It takes a lot to share your story and know that we care about you and your story. We will always be here for you and if you ever want to share anything else we will stand beside you every step of the way. Thank you for opening up to us. Stay strong and keep on fighting I know you can do this.

    -Brianna

  3. Lizzi G Volunteer

    Hi sunfloweryellow22,
    I’m so sorry that you had to go through that, and that this class brought back memories that you had managed to forget. That must have been so scary and awful to be sitting in class and have those memories come flying back to you. It’s really disgusting what your brother did to you and it’s horrible that you’re expected to help him through his struggles when he has caused you so many struggles. I don’t think I could support someone that did this to me, and you shouldn’t be expected to either. I’m proud of you for telling us your story and trusting us with this, especially when you feel like you can’t tell anyone. You shouldn’t have to act like everything is fine if it’s not. I wonder if you’ve tried seeing a therapist or would consider it, as that would be someone you could confide in as well as get help for overcoming the emotions of remembering the abuse again. I hope things get better for you soon.

    Much hope,
    Lizzi

  4. candyappleb Volunteer

    Hi Sunfloweryellow22,

    I’m so sorry that your brother abused you, and that your family has been unsupportive. Thank you for sharing your story with us. We’re here for you, we believe you, and anytime you need support please feel free to post.

    Best of luck,
    Becca

  5. Graciegrace22 Volunteer

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. It seems extremely hard to have been doing something so positive in life and have all those horrid memories return. Just know none of this is your fault. Your not obligated to help your brother either. Heal for yourself, it’s a growing process and I hope you are able to heal from it.

  6. Thomas Volunteer

    Hi sunfloweryellow22,

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. We believe you and you are not alone. I am so sorry that this has happened to you. None of this is your fault and he should have never treated you that way. Having your memories return to so abruptly like that is not easy. But you are so strong for perservering through all of this. The expectation to support your brother is definitely not easy. But whether or not you communicate with him is your choice. It is completely up to you. You need to do what is comfortable with you. Prioritizing your own self-care is absolutely okay. We are here for you. Please let us know how else we can help. Stay strong.

    Thomas

  7. Kailey2298 Volunteer

    Hi sunfloweryellow22 ,
    I’m so sorry for what happened to you. I’m sorry your brother did such a horrible thing to you. You giving him advice might be great for him but it is not for you and I think it would be good if you tried to back away and let him seek help elsewhere. You come first and its important to remember that. Have you spoken to anyone? With all that is going on it could help to talk to someone about how your feeling and work through those emotions. Thank you so much for sharing your story. You are so brave and we are all here for you! If you need anything please let us know!
    Kailey

  8. mkyuellig Volunteer

    sunfloweryellow22,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I am so sorry to hear that you experienced childhood sexual assault, and at the hands of a family member that you should have been able to trust. I can also sympathize with feelings of being triggered when statistics like that are brought up, it can be very jarring. If you haven’t, I think it might be good for you to look into seeing a therapist or counselor. They could help you process some of what you’ve been through, and give you some tools to help you deal with your anxiety and issues you encounter from day to day. There are also several effective treatments for trauma and PTSD that have really helped a lot of survivors of childhood sexual assault. I also just wanted to say that you do not owe you brother anything. I understand that he was probably very young at the time of your abuse, but I do not believe that he doesn’t remember abusing you for years. I’m sure it is something he thinks about often, especially if later he was a victim of abuse himself. I could never tell you to tell your family, or to confront your brother about this, because that is a huge thing that shouldn’t be taken lightly, and should 100% be your decision. I do think that you might have some sense of clarity if you worked through it and discussed it with a therapist. Do not be afraid to put yourself first. You say your brother is having a hard time, but it sounds like you have been suffering silently for years. There is nothing wrong with prioritizing your own healing. Please feel free to come back and update us. We are here to offer you a listening ear and our support.

    Stay strong and be gentle with yourself,
    Keight

  9. colton95 Volunteer

    I am really sorry for what happened to you. It is good that you have been giving your brother advice but I think that he should seek help elsewhere because of what he did to you specifically. As for you there are plenty of people here at avfti who are willing to listen you and sympathize with you. Stay strong and don’t lose hope!

  10. rkr18 Volunteer

    Sunfloweryellow22,

    I am so sorry you had to experience your brothers abuse. It was not your fault and you did not deserve it. Thank you for being brave and sharing your story with us.
    I’m sorry he was abused, but I feel you need to heal first and he needs to seek his own help. Have you talked to someone like a counselor or therapist for help and guidance. If not please check out our resources. If you need anything, please reach out to us we are here for you. Keep us updated.
    -Marie

  11. Jess Volunteer

    I’m so sorry that your brother did that to you. It had to be incredibly difficult, having your memories flood back to you in that way. Our brains are so strange in the way simple sentences or images can trigger these repressed memories. I’m also sorry that you’re feeling this familial obligation to provide support to your abuser. However, it’s incredibly important to take care of yourself. You should do what makes you feel safe and comfortable. If that means talking to family or cutting off ties with your brother specifically or even confronting him, you should do it. It is incredibly difficult to navigate these things alone though, and therapists can be helpful in finding your correct path and healing from your trauma. There are lots of resources under our “Find Help” tab, if you need any assistance.

    Thank you for trusting us with your story. Please let us know if there is any other way we can help you. We are always here and we believe you. Stay strong and keep fighting. <3
    -Jess

  12. kelly Day Captain

    Hi, sunfloweryellow22. Thanks so much for trusting us with your story. I’m sorry your brother did that to you. It’s crazy how our brains can shut out these memories for so long, and a sentence like that can bring it all flooding back. I’m sorry you feel like you’re expected to help your abuser. I know it’s hard when it comes to family (my abuser is also a family member), but staying in contact with your abuser is your choice. You have the right to protect yourself. You have the right to talk about it. Do what makes you feel safe. Talking about it in therapy and support groups helped me a lot when I felt I had no one else to talk to. My therapist helped me when I decided to cut contact with that part of the family. That may not be the right choice for you—it’s something you have to figure out for yourself—but I’m just trying to say you have options and there is support out there. We are here for you. Take it slow and be gentle with yourself. You deserve love and support.

  13. Marissa Day Captain

    Hi sunfloweryellow22,

    Thanks for sharing your story with us! I’m really sorry for what happened with your brother. It must have been so hard for everything to come rushing back like that, especially during a class around a bunch of people you’re not familiar or super comfortable with. I hope you know that, even though everyone expects you to give him advice and let him lean on you for support, you have 0 obligation. He hurt you, and you are entitled to your very valid feelings about what he did. It would be really difficult to tell your family about what happened to you, but I think it would benefit you in the long run. At the very least, I would hope that they wouldn’t expect you to be there for him anymore… but then again, I don’t know your family. Please only do what you’re comfortable with, though. It won’t help if you force yourself to do something that you’re not comfortable with.

    If you need to, please don’t hesitate to reach out again. We are here for you, no matter what, no matter how many times or how petty you think the post is. We support you 100%, and we always will. Stay strong!

    Marissa

  14. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    I am so sorry for what happened to you. I know how you feel. I was sexually abused by my older brother, too-and I remembered what happened to me all at once, too, in a flashback at school. Right around when I knew what rape was. I’m so sorry this happened, and that you are just now remembering. I want you to know that you’re not alone-that you didn’t deserve this, and this wasn’t your fault. I know these feelings can be really overwhelming and complicated. Have you thought about seeing a therapist? It’s been really helpful for me in dealing with all of this. Let us know how else we can help-we are here for you.

    Erin

  15. Solongago

    Well, you can tell. You can tell us. You can tell other family members. You can tell your pastor. You can tell your friends. You can tell a rape crisis center advocate. You can tweet it. You can put it on facebook. You can tell whoever you want to tell. But, some people won’t be safe with that knowledge. There are some folks you may not want to hurt. And while you were the victim, it is on us to keep the secret because when we tell, people get uncomfortable.

    I am right there with you when it comes to my brothers. You are not alone. There are some things we share that makes the type of abuse unique. Yes, Father-daughter abuse has it’s intricacies, as does Mother-son, Mother-daughter, Father-son. We can sit here and rate which type is worse, but that is not my point. Sibling abuse has aspects that are unique. For one thing, the people in the world that are suppose to love and support us more than anyone, no matter what we do, and all that, well they are also the parents of the perpetrator. Speaking to parents about abuse is always painful because they were suppose to protect us, so they feel guilt and pain for what happened, and suffer with us. But they also don’t want to face what their child did to their other child. So they minimize or they deny or they just can’t bear to be there for us. They usually aren’t going to disown the perpetrator, many are more likely to disown the victim — what’s up with that??? Be that as it may be, but family events generally are going to include the scumball who did this, and the attitude is if you don’t like it, YOU don’t have to come.

    Am I sounding a little bitter? I am sorry. I feel for you and your story. 1 in five? Yes, you are the one. I am the one. So many of us are the ones. This sort of thing should not happen, and I am really sorry that it did. I would not be surprised if your brother was not abused prior to abusing you. Kids get it from somewhere, and boys in general act out, and girls in general act in. So boys will often replay the abuse they experienced on friends or siblings, and having been sexualized early, they continue to develop their sexual conduct. Girls on the other hand generally act in, become depressed, introverted, shy, suicidal, low self-esteem/self confidence. The only good thing, is many of us do not have to deal with the hurt we have done to others. For example, to heal from their being victims of sexual abuse, they have to face what they did to me. Neither of my brother will. My oldest brother admits he remembers it, but he did not think it was a big deal. My younger older brother refuses to acknowledge it at all. So I have to look at him and pretend everything is hunky dory at every major holiday. Whoo Hoo Mother’s Day two days ago, and Mom’s birthday is this weekend.

    I’m sorry, I am going on and on aren’t I. When the rape crisis lady was explaining their privacy/confidentiality policy, etc, I told her that I didn’t care if she shouted it from the mountain tops. I DIDN’T DO ANYTHING WRONG!!! Neither did you. But a little caution. The way to heal and deal with the shame that attacks us and beats our self-esteem/confidence into the dirt is to tell. To tell folks that you respect what they think, and who can help us understand that they do not see us as damaged, do not blame us, are not disgusted by us knowing that happened. But stick your toe in the water, tell someone safe, and see how that goes. A pastor or a therapist is probably the best people to begin with. I think we go through a time where we feel like we are walking around with a giant “I” plastered on our back and our front. But it is never that bad. We have to stick our toe out with friends too. Some will be able to take the friendship to a better level, where others will not know how to manage it. And, you will probably have to tell your partner at some point. The good news is that you seem to be at a pretty healthy starting point, where you seem to understand that this was not your fault and your brother was the bad guy. Good.

    Your college may have counsellors available, and that may be a good place to start talking about this, to someone in the flesh. I wish you the best.