Can’t Stop Brother’s Abuse

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I’m 19 and my brother 17.We used to share a really good bond.He was my best friend until he began doing this and now i almost hate him.

I’m from India and you have to understand here we don’t usually have separate bedrooms for kids. My brother and I sleep in the same room, different beds but with an arm length separation in between.From the past few months, many a days, I have woken up from my sleep feeling my brother’s hand on my chest and under my pants. But, every time, every single time it happened, i went so horrified and numb that i was not able to think clearly or react fast.So my brother might have taken that for a yes.I’m not sure.

Well,anyway i tried to talk to him and find out why he was doing this but he was not really interested.Every time i sleep and parents are away from home,he just creeps in to my room and starts groping me.I would feel like screaming and shouting at him or just pushing his hand away but i cannot…I just go numb and cold and start crying.

I thought of telling my mom about it. But my parents adore my brother and he usually gets his way around them.They are surely not going to believe if i tell them about it. I’m sure because i tried to tell my mom, just hinted about it, and she was so horrified and angry,at me actually, for making up such stories about my own brother and called me crazy.

So now I’m scared to sleep because I’m afraid if i do,my brother might do it again.Once he even tried to, I’m so ashamed and pained to be saying this, but once he tried to have intercourse with me. And i was scared to death and i started shivering but i could not react properly or get angry with him or even scream aloud. But my parents arrived home at the moment and he had to go. He is so big and strong i cant even fight back. When i resist him, sometimes he gets aggressive and physically abuse me.

When i think on it, i feel really guilty about not reacting the way i should have.And i cry over it for hours. Sometimes i feel so dirty and i won’t be satisfied until i take a shower three four times.I was a really bright kid at school but now i can’t concentrate on my studies.All my friends at college started asking me about it, why my grades are so low, and i really wanted to tell someone about my issues at home..but i don’t want any sympathy from them. They will always see me as the sexually assaulted girl.They are going to think really bad things about my brother and parents and that’s not something i want.

I can’t understand why my brother would do this to me.I somehow think it’s my fault.I could always lock myself up in my room but for how long am i going to run away from it???

I really couldn’t take it anymore so i told my best friend about it.She says if i don’t have the courage to talk to my parents about it,then she will. I don’t know about that. She said we could go to the police. But i don’t want all the others to know that this is happening to me. And i don’t want to be labelled as ‘sexually assaulted’. She is really trying to help me out and she says I’m not trying to do anything about it.I know it’s high time i do something about it but I’m at a loss.

PLEASE HELP ME…….

A: I am so very glad you wrote. Please don’t feel guilty about your reaction. It is very common for people who are being assaulted to freeze. This is especially true when the abuser is bigger and stronger and has already shown that he is capable of physical aggression. You can’t fight him. All you can do is detach from yourself.

Make no mistake: What your brother is doing is a crime. He is sexually abusing you. It is not normal. It is not okay for him to take advantage of you if you have to sleep in the same room. He continues assaulting you because he can get away with it. He has already tried to have sex with you and will do so again. Stop it now before it gets even worse.

You really do have to tell your parents. I’m sure they won’t want to believe it. No parent wants to believe that their son could actually sexually abuse his sister. It is understandable that they would rather think you are crazy. For some parents, crazy is better than criminal. But that doesn’t make their reaction okay. They need to protect you. In fact, they need to protect both their children: You from being raped by your brother; your brother from going to jail.

Take care of yourself. Before you have the conversation, arrange for a friend to be with you to give you support. Write out what you want to tell them. If words fail you, you can hand them your letter. Do not have the conversation with your brother present. He will of course deny it and try to make it look like it is your fault. You don’t need to deal with that.

If your parents call you names or try to make you retract your statement, you need to stay calm and simply tell them they have to stop it or you will go to the police. If your parents persist in not believing you, then go to the police and stay with your friend until your parents send your brother away. You cannot safely live in the same house with him. He is likely to try to get even with you for telling.

Abusers can only continue abuse as long as everyone keeps their secret. You have a right to be furious. You have a right to protect yourself! If your parents handle this as they should, there is no need for you to have a negative reputation. Even if the story does get out, you can hold your head up with pride because you refused to be victimized.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Photo

 

 

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 16 Dec 2013

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2013). Can’t Stop Brother’s Abuse. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 24, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/12/16/cant-stop-brothers-abuse/