Abuse, whether physical, emotional, or sexual, can infiltrate a family group setting and alter the dynamics greatly. Within a family there are different relationships and bonds, and every one of those relationships may have an alternative motive and form of abuse within it. A type of abuse within a family group that will not receive much attention from society is abuse by siblings. In general, abuse within a family is regarded as a parent abusing a kid and asserting their authority so, but the matter of abuse with a sibling is also very important to understand and there are many implications of such abuse. This research paper will address the value of sibling relationships to further understand the implications that come about from abuse within them, what healthy sibling relationships should appear to be, the commonality of different relationships of siblings having incest, types of family configurations where sibling abuse exists, and the treatments of siblings that abuse and are victims of abuse. Four articles will be used to understand the problem, “Sibling Family Practices: Guidelines for Healthy Boundaries” (2009), “Sibling Incest: Reports from Forty-One Survivors” (2006), “Making Sense of Abuse: Case Studies in Sibling Incest” (2006), and “Treating Sibling Abuse Families” (2005).
Abuse is a very powerful word that comes with many connotations. The exact definition of abuse has problems with it because it is not universally accepted and the perceptions of abuse from individual to individual vary greatly. Everyone has their own personal opinion on what abuse contains and generally it is typically regarded as causing injury to someone else. Abuse is an issue that has many intersecting factors and many layers that are rooted deep in relationships. One type of abuse that is of great importance, as are the others, is sibling abuse. Sibling abuse is abuse that is perpetrated by one sibling to some other and may be physical abuse or sexual abuse, known as incest. The importance of this type of abuse is that it’s not given much attention in society which is difficult to grasp. Society will not recognize sibling abuse as easily as it will recognize abuse between intimate partners or even abuse between parents and their children. Due to the lack of awareness it is vital to understand what a healthy sibling relationship is, cases of sibling abuse, and treatments of the siblings. By looking at four articles, a view of the issue will come into focus plus some light will be shed on the issue of sibling abuse.
In Johnson, Huang, and Simpson’s research, “Sibling Family Practices: Guidelines for Healthy Boundaries, ” (2009) surveys help conclude what is socially acceptable and what is not within a family group. The survey was taken of five hundred people and their opinions generally corresponded. The study showed that when it came to hygiene, bathing together is acceptable for children younger than five if they’re of the same gender. If the children are of different genders, the study demonstrates it is acceptable for children younger than four to bathe together. Showering is a similar issue, being acceptable for same gendered siblings that are younger than six and acceptable for different gendered siblings younger than four. 5 years. The data also reflects adults’ opinions regarding affection, with the statistics on kissing being “37% saying siblings should never kiss on the mouth and 23% of people saying they need to kiss at all ages. ” (Johnson, Huang, Simpson, 2009). Hugging is widely accepted between siblings. Caffaro and Caffaro address healthy sibling development in “Treating Sibling Abuse Families” (2005). Caffaro and Caffaro lend a glance at the introduction of sibling relationships, explaining that “sibling ties get started in childhood with parents writing the script. ” (Caffaro & Caffaro, 2005). It is common for parents to assign roles for his or her children without actively meaning to do so. Siblings tend to be raised being in an all natural competition with their sibling and trying to live up to the label that is placed upon them by their parents. A good example would be labeling a kid as “the smart one” and their sibling as “the polite one”. Both of these children would compete against each other to keep their title from the other and would also strive to maintain their title, forming it into their self-identity.
Carlson, Maciol, and Schneider conducted research in “Sibling Incest: Reports from Forty-One Survivors” (2006) to be able to get a concise picture of sibling sexual abuse. The research was conducted using thirty-four women and seven men and the majority of the forty-one participants were of white. The study conclusions discovered that three of the males initiated sexual behavior using their sisters and the other men were victims of sibling incest that was brought on by brothers of theirs. Four women of the analysis were victims of sibling incest for their sisters and the other thirty women were sexually abused by brothers. The study out of this article clearly implies that males are the most frequent perpetrators of sibling incest and women are more likely to be the victims, but men are also sometimes the victims of sibling abuse brought on by brothers. Corresponding with this data, Caffaro and Caffaro found that sixty-three percent of the women in their study were victims of incest because of the brothers’ sexual assault. In contrast to the prior study, “Treating Sibling Abuse Families” (2009) found that the second most usual form of sibling incest is from one brother to another, the next most typical being sisters sexually abusing their brothers, and minimal common form being sisters sexually abusing their sisters. (Caffaro & Caffaro, 2005).
As discussed earlier, it is problematic for society to see all of these cases as abuse and incest due to difficulties there are in defining abuse and there are also different views between groups of what’s acceptable and normal. In “Making Sense of Abuse: Case Studies in Sibling Incest” (2006), Bass, Taylor, Knudson-Martin, and Huenergardt discuss the opportunity of abuse being viewed as normal within a family. The study done in the article is case studies that follow two Latin American families where sibling incest was present. One of the families viewed abuse as normal and used secrecy in an effort to keep up with the abuse. Also, the family didn’t see outside systems as positive and held the judgment that the systems were invading their personal lives. The second family in the study differed from the first in the manner that they viewed abuse as a mistake and unacceptable plus they used secrecy to protect rather than perpetuate abuse. The second family also differed in seeing outside systems and legitimate and, even though the systems caused some hardships, they saw them as appropriate and not intrusive as the first had. (Bass, Taylor, Knudson-Martin, Huenergardt, 2006).
Treatment for sibling abuse may start with what is referred to as a Sibling Abuse Interview, or SAI for short. (Caffaro & Caffaro, 2005). The SAI functions by asking questions of most family members about the relationships that are currently between your siblings and also the history of those relationships. The SAI asks questions that deal with abuse and trauma and also points out regions of family resilience. Treatment is usually very much like treatment of other kinds of abuse, but the therapy is slightly modified. You will discover two different perspectives as it pertains to sexual abuse of children and they are the kid Protection Movement and the Feminist Movement. THE KID Protection Movement holds the philosophy that the kid victim is the main at that time and that the complete family is in charge of protecting that child and providing them safety. The best goal of the Child Protective Movement is to reunite the family with a healthier approach to life. The Feminist Movement favors advocacy over all others. This perspective feels that it’s necessary & most good for the victim with an advocate on their side that is set to establish protection for the child in the present and the future as well. The Feminist Movement supports family reconciliation, but it generally does not hold it as a high priority. (Crosson-Tower, 2010). Both of these theories produce different kinds of treatment and have different strategies for treating the victims of incest. Both hold the victim’s protection above all else but they differ in terms of what’s best for the child, whether healthy family practices or advocacy for the victim.
The four studies discussed help to provide a broad understanding of sibling incest, from the healthy sibling relationships that are used as basis, what sibling incest can be interpreted as in conditions of common types, family influences on sibling incest regarding their mindsets, to the procedure and outcomes of sibling incest. The studies were largely regular and everything painted pictures that corresponded with each other. There were some minor discrepancies in findings, including the commonality of different kinds of sibling incest, but on the whole the larger messages were yet. The implications of the research presented is an improved awareness of sibling incest and the capability to recognize warning flag when they can be found. Sibling incest is more prominent than society loves to think and without understanding sibling incest, it is difficult to avoid it from happening. With understanding, family structures that allow for incest can be recognized and sibling incest can hopefully be diminished.