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Was I Sexually Abused by My Sister?

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From the U.S.: For the past few years, I have dealt with increasing anxiety and depression… Lately, it has turned into OCD characterized by intrusive thoughts of guilt and shame over many things. I have often wondered if there is a memory that I have long-suppressed from my childhood that has been a root cause for my issues. Until tonight, I had never been able to recall anything significant at all.

Tonight, I was reading someone’s story about their OCD – and something they said triggered a long lost memory of mine – When it came to me, I almost couldn’t believe it and it didn’t seem real, although I knew for a fact it happened. My stomach dropped and I feel nauseous just typing this.

Here’s the memory: When I was around kindergarten/first grade age, my older sister (just a little less than 3 years older than me,) asked me at one point if I knew what sex was… I specifically remember we were in the bath tub together, which wasn’t a unusual thing at our young age. I told her I had no idea what sex was, and she explained it to me in such a way that i’m sure was fairly naive. We shared a bedroom/bed at this time. I can’t recall if it was that same night after the bath or some other night around that time period, but as I was trying to fall asleep she asked me if I wanted to have sex… As innocent as I was, having absolutely no idea what sex meant, I simply said okay. I remember she told me to take my clothes off, she got on top of me and tried to “rub” herself on me. I remember thinking it was awfully strange, and I think it lasted for about 30 seconds – if that long at all.

I cannot believe that i am just now re-calling this memory. Obviously we were both children and had no idea what sex really meant – she was just “experimenting” for lack of a better term. Is it possible I was suppressing this memory because it was traumatic? Is it possible I was abused as a child?? I am at a loss for words… I feel ashamed and revolted. Please help. Thank you

Was I Sexually Abused by My Sister?

Answered by on -


As you rightly pointed out, you were both kids when this happened. She was only 9 and probably was trying to figure out something she didn’t understand. You were only 6 and didn’t know what you were doing either. 6 and 9 year olds don’t know much about sex unless someone older has been inappropriate with them. The incident does make me wonder what happened to your sister.

Please consider that feeling ashamed and revolted now is putting adult feelings on what happened as a child. You don’t report having had those feelings then. All childhood sexual experimentation isn’t traumatic or traumatizing. From what you wrote (and only from what you wrote — there may be more to the story), I’d say your OCD now is a much greater concern. You may be assigning more to the incident than it warrants because of your current state of mind.

Since you have been diagnosed, I’m assuming you are talking with a mental health provider. If so, please take your letter and this response to your next session to talk it through. If you are not seeing a professional, please make an appointment. A professional can help you sort out why you are suffering from such anxiety that you are becoming increasingly symptomatic.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Was I Sexually Abused by My Sister?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Was I Sexually Abused by My Sister?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 22, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 5 Aug 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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