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Acknowledging the Unseen: The Grief of Families Affected by Sibling Sexual Abuse and Trauma

As a public survivor of sibling sexual abuse, I hear from parents, survivors, and even those who have caused harm or abuse. My journey through healing has given me incredible empathy for all sides, offering a unique perspective on this often-overlooked issue. I also view this trauma through the lens of grief, having lost my first husband at 34, making me a young widow. When a family experiences sibling sexual abuse and trauma, it's a profound grief that touches everyone involved.

Grief for the victim: a loss of innocence and trust.

Grief for the family: recognizing that the family will never be the same.

I'm sorry you are in this situation, that your family has experienced something so damaging, and that your family will never return to the way it was.

I'm sorry that Mother's Day, birthdays and the disclosure anniversary often bring up very painful memories.

I'm sorry you are grieving. I truly am.

One day, I hope we can talk about sibling sexual abuse and trauma openly and educate parents and children without stigma. I wish no family ever had to go through this.

I've heard from so many parents blindsided by the discovery when their children are young or even after decades have passed. Their hearts are broken, and all they want to do is wake up and discover it was just a horrible nightmare.

I'm sorry.

I will keep sounding the alarm about this silent epidemic, which is not as silent as it was five years ago.

To the parents grieving, I see you. To the survivors, your pain is valid, and your healing matters. Together, we can work towards a future where sibling sexual abuse is understood, addressed, and prevented.

1 comment

1 Comment

Unknown member
May 23

Thank you for the advocacy work you are doing. I am a survivor of SSA. The pain of losing connection with myself and my family of origin is something I work to grow my capacity to be with in empathy and compassion daily. My family of origin is still blaming me. I have recovered from a few stress related illnesses as a result of the broken relational fields around this issue. The hardest thing to recover from is my habit of disconnecting from myself and sabotaging my own self expression.

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