The last unacknowledged domestic violence

(143 Posts)
MangoSeason Sun 13-Jun-21 00:28:22

You are a 15 year old girl coming home from school. A 17 year old boy is following you. He shoved you into a wall at school today. He called you a cunt. He knocked your books out of your hand. The teachers just told him to stop being a pest and then walked away.

At your garden gate he suddenly is upon you and slams you into the ground. You get gravel rash. Your neighbour rolls her eyes and goes inside. You get to the front door and get inside. Not safe of course. Your parents are not home and he follows you in because he is your brother and he lives there.

You rush to the laundry and lock yourself in. You stay there until your mum comes home. She’s cross of course. She has been working all day and comes home to this. She says you two are old enough to sort it out yourselves. You must have provoked him. You are too sensitive.

You once tried telling your head of year. He laughed and said all siblings fight and you will be best friends in a few years. You tried again and told the school safe-guarding lead. They took it a bit more seriously and spoke to your parents. Your parents were furious at you. You are called a drama queen, trying to get your brother into trouble over normal sibling rough and tumble. Get over yourself! Your whole extended family is unhappy with you. Fancy speaking to the school about your own brother. What an untrustworthy wuss you are.

There was a school assembly with the local police about domestic violence. You learn what you should do if your parents hurt you. What you should do if your parents hurt each other. There was nothing mentioned about what to do your brother hurts you. You think about speaking to the police officer afterwards but what is the point? No-one cares. It will only upset your parents. It seems it is perfectly acceptable for a nearly fully grown boy to physically assault you if he is your brother.

Sibling violence is an under researched area of domestic violence. Most people don’t understand what it is. They think it is sibling rivalry. The risk factors for sibling violence are having authoritarian parents, siblings close in age and siblings being latch-key kids. The perpetrator is usually the oldest and strongest sibling. Most common is older brothers targeting younger sisters, followed by older brothers targeting younger brothers. Less common, but still frequent is older sisters targeting younger sisters. Older sisters targeting younger brothers is the least common, as the brother will become physically stronger than the sister at puberty. Sibling violence is characterised by the persistent targeting of one or more siblings by a stronger sibling. There is little back and forth. One is the perpetrator and one is the victim almost all the time.

Society doesn’t know how to handle it. Schools and police bat the issue back to parents who are the least able to act properly, as they love all their children and bury their heads in the sand.

Just want to out this out there. If you work with children and they complain that their sibling is hurting them, please take it seriously.

OP’s posts: |
LetMeSewYouToASheet Sun 13-Jun-21 00:36:39

what’s your AIBU…

JustJoinedRightNow Sun 13-Jun-21 00:40:15

Thanks OP. Good to get this out into the open.
Has this happened to you? I’m really sorry for your experience if this was you, and I’m sorry no one took you seriously.

Stompythedinosaur Sun 13-Jun-21 00:42:51

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

MangoSeason Sun 13-Jun-21 00:42:57

JustJoinedRightNow

Thanks OP. Good to get this out into the open.
Has this happened to you? I’m really sorry for your experience if this was you, and I’m sorry no one took you seriously.

Some of them are my experiences and some are the experiences of other women who have told me about their lives trapped with an abusive sibling.

The gaslighting of this type of abuse victim is pretty universal though.

OP’s posts: |
DeathStare Sun 13-Jun-21 00:43:44

The risk factors for sibling violence are having authoritarian parents, siblings close in age and siblings being latch-key kids. The perpetrator is usually the oldest and strongest sibling. Most common is older brothers targeting younger sisters, followed by older brothers targeting younger brothers. Less common, but still frequent is older sisters targeting younger sisters. Older sisters targeting younger brothers is the least common, as the brother will become physically stronger than the sister at puberty. Sibling violence is characterised by the persistent targeting of one or more siblings by a stronger sibling. There is little back and forth. One is the perpetrator and one is the victim almost all the time

Those are very specific claims. Do you have researcg evidence to support them?

MangoSeason Sun 13-Jun-21 00:47:03

Stompythedinosaur

I think this post is over dramatic tbh.

There is a body of research about sibling abuse.

Maybe it is over dramatic. Not so much fun when it’s happening to you.

Are you able to signpost some of the research? (Genuinely not being sarcastic) I have read a lot about it over the years and there doesn’t seem to be a coherent area of study. I have found a reasonable amount of research about sibling sexual abuse but very little about physically violent siblings.

I would be interested hearing from people involved in safe-guarding children too, about whether they have guidelines about what should be done in these circumstances.

OP’s posts: |

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GNCQ Sun 13-Jun-21 00:47:12

You're right, and it's a growing problem particularly because children now have increasing circumstances of both parents working or single parent homes, with less extended family.

It's something society needs to learn more about.

Pantsomime Sun 13-Jun-21 00:48:32

My mum is in her 70s & suffers life long self esteem problems due to bullying older sister- physical violence mostly, playing cruel tricks & mum getting blame. Neither her parents or teachers believed it was her sister & as OP said, she got in more trouble for “lying” & being “ wicked “ trying to get her older sister in trouble. Sister apologised as adult but mum still talks about the helpless- it’s a thing & incredibly damaging

MangoSeason Sun 13-Jun-21 00:49:06

DeathStare

*The risk factors for sibling violence are having authoritarian parents, siblings close in age and siblings being latch-key kids. The perpetrator is usually the oldest and strongest sibling. Most common is older brothers targeting younger sisters, followed by older brothers targeting younger brothers. Less common, but still frequent is older sisters targeting younger sisters. Older sisters targeting younger brothers is the least common, as the brother will become physically stronger than the sister at puberty. Sibling violence is characterised by the persistent targeting of one or more siblings by a stronger sibling. There is little back and forth. One is the perpetrator and one is the victim almost all the time*

Those are very specific claims. Do you have researcg evidence to support them?

www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/toxic-relationships/202002/sibling-bullying-and-abuse-the-hidden-epidemic

OP’s posts: |
ILoveMyCaravan Sun 13-Jun-21 00:51:13

This happened to me. He also went on to sexually abuse me in addition to the violence. I was blamed in the way you describe and told to get on with him better.

JustJoinedRightNow Sun 13-Jun-21 00:53:49

I’m so sorry to hear that @ILoveMyCaravan

MangoSeason Sun 13-Jun-21 00:53:58

ILoveMyCaravan

This happened to me. He also went on to sexually abuse me in addition to the violence. I was blamed in the way you describe and told to get on with him better.

I’m sorry. Being blamed for your own abuse is just the worst.

My brother was physically violent and emotionally abusive (well beyond normal sibling insults). He was sexually inappropriate (bursting into rooms when he knew I was changing) but did not sexually assault me.

OP’s posts: |
ILoveMyCaravan Sun 13-Jun-21 00:59:10

I'm so sorry @MangoSeason. It should be recognised for what it is, domestic violence, not just sibling rivalry or whatever. Needless to say he went on to treat women badly, not so much the violence but emotionally and financially.

I do blame my mother for how he was, he was the golden child, could do no wrong even when the evidence was plain to see.

MangoSeason Sun 13-Jun-21 00:59:34

LetMeSewYouToASheet

what’s your AIBU…

I periodically post about this every few years on popular forums to reach as many people as possible. I like to think (prossibly naively) that it might plant a seed in the minds of those who can make a difference.

But to make it simple just for you- AIBU That Sibling Violence is the Last Unacknowledged Domestic Violence?

OP’s posts: |
Stompythedinosaur Sun 13-Jun-21 01:02:55

Are you able to signpost some of the research?

Lots of articles are behind a pay wall, but you could try this or this

I would be interested hearing from people involved in safe-guarding children too, about whether they have guidelines about what should be done in these circumstances.

I'm a mh specialist nurse working with young offenders. Sibling to sibling abuse is (sadly) common in our client group. Yes, it is included in training, as it's own monitoring category, and everything else that makes me think it is treated as seriously as other types of abuse. The safeguarding procedure is the same as any other type of abuse.

LoopTheLoops Sun 13-Jun-21 01:03:58

My brother use to beat the crap out of us, it was so bad my mum actually fled to a woman’s refuge with us younger ones, but even looking back now she just said it was “what siblings do”

MangoSeason Sun 13-Jun-21 01:11:44

Stompythedinosaur

*Are you able to signpost some of the research?*

Lots of articles are behind a pay wall, but you could try this or this

I would be interested hearing from people involved in safe-guarding children too, about whether they have guidelines about what should be done in these circumstances.

I'm a mh specialist nurse working with young offenders. Sibling to sibling abuse is (sadly) common in our client group. Yes, it is included in training, as it's own monitoring category, and everything else that makes me think it is treated as seriously as other types of abuse. The safeguarding procedure is the same as any other type of abuse.

That is really good to hear Stompy. Are they young offenders because of the sibling abuse or for outside the family crimes. I appreciate there would be a lot of crossover. I mean, do they see you primarily because of the sibling abuse?

With the safeguarding procedures, how does this work if the parents refuse to co-operate? Can an abusive child be removed from their home against the wishes of the parents?

I am really pleased to read this- it was the 1990’s when my brother had his reign of terror so it is good to hear things might be improving.

Thank-you for the links too.

OP’s posts: |
Shamoo Sun 13-Jun-21 01:17:53

My brother used to beat me up a lot. He was the middle one, me the youngest and we had an older sister who did her best to help me. My mum turned a blind eye, blamed us both for fighting when he was kicking me to bits. Never even crossed my mind to tell my dad as he would not have done anything. I was covered in bruises. The worst one though was that he would hold pillows over my head until I thought I was going to die. All the time. I cannot have a pillow near my face now or put my head under water for long as I panic. He also used to sit on my arms and dribble spit on me as I tried to escape.

Had two good friends at school who would both be beaten by their older brothers.

This was all a long time ago, and it’s ended up being a bit of a joke in my family. Nobody has ever apologised and whilst I do get on well with my brother now, I do still have quite a bit of resentment.

No chance social services were getting involved in something like that. I was a million miles from anybody caring about it.

Merryoldgoat Sun 13-Jun-21 01:20:06

I have a different experience in that it was a much younger sister who terrorised me but it was ignored and never dealt with and I still feel anger about it 35 years later.

I will not allow my children to abuse each other under any circumstances and will never favour one over the other.

babbaloushka Sun 13-Jun-21 01:20:29

There is a Jacqueline Wilson book on this topic I believe, a girl terrorised by her older brother. Well written post OP, substantial and thought provoking. flowers for all of those victims of domestic abuse.

FriedasCarLoad Sun 13-Jun-21 01:24:35

I was safe from my older brother whilst at school (different schools), but emotionally and physically abused by him much of the rest of the time. I've forgiven him, but I'm still emotionally and physically scarred.

FriedasCarLoad Sun 13-Jun-21 01:26:10

I meant to add, thank you for posting this. I've never seen it addressed before.

Pedalpushers Sun 13-Jun-21 01:30:48

This was me and being beaten while my parents were at work by my older brother, although I loved him very much still, he has grown up to be a very disturbed adult and has noone but me to support him, which I don't, but it doesn't stop the requests for drug money or threats of suicide.

ButYouJustPointedToAIIOfMe Sun 13-Jun-21 01:38:49

Thank you for this - it is a hefty reminder that I need to step up for my eldest more. She can hold her own against her brother right now but will not be able to when he hits puberty (she is two years older). He is neurodiverse. I suspect I expect a level of maturity from her and making allowances that is completely unreasonable.

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