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CW: A thread for survivors of childhood familial CSA

(73 Posts)
SurvivorSister Tue 22-Sep-20 21:12:38

I'm starting this thread as a space for people who experienced sexual abuse in childhood from relatives.

There are far too many of us who were abused by our elder brothers, our fathers, our uncles, our cousins. The taboos around it, even as a survivor, can make it incredibly difficult to discuss with other people who haven't been through it.

I experienced sibling abuse, and it has heavily impacted my life decades later. I still carry far too much shame about what happened, and obviously anger and grief.

That's it for an opening post really. I've never really felt that I've found an appropriate place to talk about this with other people with a similar background. Someone else's recent thread gave me and others a bit of space, prompted me to make this, and here we are.

I've stuck a content warning here and in the title because it's a sensitive subject, obviously. Other than that, I hope this can be a useful open mutual support thread if anyone needs it.
thanks x

OP’s posts: |
sassypants72 Tue 22-Sep-20 21:26:57

I was sexually abused by both my mum and dad. I think it's quite unusual for mums to abuse as well, but I think her marriage was just more important to her.

I've had minimal contact with them for 30+ years now. I was gaslighted massively by them.

It is hard and does make you feel somehow different from everyone else, kind of faulty I suppose. I look on in envy at some people who have fantastic relationships with their parents.

When I first had my daughter I suffered from massive anxiety (in hospital for 2 weeks) and lost 5 stone, due to the fact I had no idea how to be a mum or what a mum did.

8 years on I just do my best and try to make sure she has a happy childhood.

WorrierorWarrior Tue 22-Sep-20 21:36:22

I have found some items which I think indicate that a family member was or is being sexually abused by a former family member.
I have not spoken to the person concerned. I dont know where to get the best help on this subject. I know that a lot of people do not report these situations so I can not decide whether to mention anything to any of the agencies I think should be dealing with this.
I am glad that you started this thread. I hope that people will discuss this subject which is often brushed away officially.

Fl1mflam Tue 22-Sep-20 21:37:40

Thank you for starting this thread SurvivorSister
From the other thread:
These days, I find being able to sleep around just one other person (in relationships etc) really difficult because i just get hypervigilant
I can relate, I have always struggled with any co sleeping, co living actually, only feel truly safe alone.

I've had minimal contact with them for 30+ years now
Sassy I'm so sorry for what happened to you, it's good that you have distanced yourself and for a good solid long time, do you think you might be able to cut them out completely?

Sarahpaula Tue 22-Sep-20 21:49:28

I remember two incidents with my Dad. I was sharing a bed with him. I asked to share his bed on these occasions, because I was an innocent child, and I liked sleeping close to people.

On the first occasion, I felt his hand stroking up my thigh, he kept stroking higher and higher, until I rolled to get away from him. Then he stopped.

On the next occasion, I was sharing a bed with him. He stripped naked while he changed his clothes in front of me. In the bed, I was facing away from him. He rolled close behind me and pressed his erection into my back. He had space to not do this. If he had an erection by accident or whatever, there was space for him not to touch me with it. I believe that him rolling over and pressing it into my back is sexual abuse.

I was seven at the time of both incidents.

After the second incident I told my mother that I didn't want to sleep in the same bed as my dad again. She said why, and I said that I preferred sleeping in my own bed or with hers. I didn't say what had happened.

Fl1mflam Tue 22-Sep-20 21:57:33

Sarahpaula both incidents were abuse, these predators operate by gradually breaking down barriers, they try to maintain some plausible deniability, tricking the victim into going along with them so that you 'feel' as if you are complicit, they know exactly how the power imbalance works, they know you feel very uncomfortable yet reluctant to speak against them, they use it all to their advantage.
None of it is your fault, he is a sickening despicable predator.
I'm so sorryflowers

Chickencuddle Tue 22-Sep-20 22:00:18

I was sexually abused by my father.
Also my uncle was "inappropriate " but not sure if it was classed as sexual abuse. He babysat me once. I was probably around age 8. He put on a video of streakers and kept pausing it all the time to see the private parts and would make comments and tell me to look ask me what I thought etc.
He was a bit creepy...always asked me if I had a boyfriend. If I had kissed any boys. Would the boys like me or was I too ugly? Etc from as young as incandescent remember he did that.
He also described sexual scenarios frequently. He would say :
We went on holiday and there was a lesbian couple underneath our apartment. There was often lots of moaning to be heard along with a buzzing noise. What was the buzzing noise? If there were lesbians and moaning what was the buzzing noise...what were they doing?
Made me so fucking uncomfortable and the whole room would be laughing at me feeling uncomfortable and awkward. My dad my aunt my uncle my brother all laughing at me.
My mum and dad as well were both very sexual around me. They would often strip naked and touch each other up around me. I remember one time they were doing this and my father said to me "you're mother has shaved her pussy. Can you see. I like to see what I'm eating." Then started kissing her and touching her.
So my mum never did anything to me but she didnt stop these things and she joined in too although sometimes I remember she did kind of try to stop.
My aunt told me recently my dad used to talk to me about tits and arses and get me to make comments on them. I dont remember this though.
I have struggled my whole life with sex in general and felt deep shame. It's really only now I'm in my 30s I'm starting to talk about it (not really in real life but on here and I have to my husband too)

Fl1mflam Tue 22-Sep-20 22:01:00

I was abused by a male relative at a young age, between 2/3 and 7/8, told my mother aged 9, she completely ignored what I said.
When I told her as an adult she disowned me.
I am NC with female parent, LC with other one

SurvivorSister Tue 22-Sep-20 22:07:58

@sassypants72 - I'm so sorry your parents did that. Your anxiety hitting when you became a mum makes total sense; I'm glad you're making sure your daughter has a different childhood to yours. The feeling of being faulty resonates massively.

@WorrierorWarrior what is your relationship like with the person you think may have been abused? I would suggest calling relevant services and giving them an anonymised (so naming neither victim nor perp at first) account of what you know and have found, and see what they say.

I didn't report my abuse formally until I was in my thirties; my brother was arrested, charged and bailed until the CPS decided there was insufficient evidence to proceed. I had disclosed it to my mum (who'd had the same experience with her brother but dismissed / minimised mine) and friends in my teens (four out of five of us had the same thing happen at the same time, with brothers all in the same year group at the boy's grammar school).

I mentioned it briefly to a student counsellor in my mid twenties but she minimised it too. In my thirties I brought it up with a different therapist, and she told me if I told her details of which family member I was talking about, she was duty bound to report him (he was a teacher by that time). I don't know how I would have taken anyone reporting on my behalf at that point.

Then again, if somebody had intervened when the abuse was happening (between being 9 and 11), i think I would have been really thankful. A babysitter did walk in on him once, but just told him to stop being rude and for both of us to go to bed.

All my instincts say that I would want to report, but with the consent of the abused family member. That isn't always practical or possible though, and approaching the subject with them might be difficult. Hopefully other posters will have some better wisdom.

OP’s posts: |
HeidiHoNeighbour Tue 22-Sep-20 22:17:12

I was sexually abused daily by my mother.
She would also insist I “help” her friends with their needs.
I cannot remember a time when it didn’t happen, so from very young.
I was the only one of my siblings abused.
It ended when my mother took her own life leaving notes blaming me.
Note were also posted to others blaming me.
I found her.
Due to the notes I was kicked out of the house.
I was 13.

40 years later it’s like I’m talking about someone else. I’m a mother to two grown children. It made me way more protective of my kids. My son says he joined the military for an easier time!

Sarahpaula Tue 22-Sep-20 22:19:00

My brother also touched me down there many time when I was seven and he was nine. Yes children can touch and play innocently, but this wasn't like that, because he was much bigger than me, I didn't like him touching me there, and I was scared of him.

I remember screwing up all my courage to say to him "I don't like you touching me there". Yet, he still kept doing it. I knew that I would have to get an adult involved to stop it.

The next time that he touched me there, I said "I told you that I don't like you touching me there", and I went out and told my mum that he was touching me there. She spoke to him, and he did stopand never did it again

HeidiHoNeighbour Tue 22-Sep-20 22:19:07

Oh and I went to social services several times through my childhood and when my mother died. Literally not interested.

Seeleyboo Tue 22-Sep-20 22:24:13

I was abused by my step father. From the age of 5 to 14. The things he did to me are indescribable. One incident involved a gun to my head to perform. He was sentenced to 10 years at the Old Bailey. Not enough for IMO. I am 48 now and still fucked

Fl1mflam Tue 22-Sep-20 22:54:35

the lack of help and support, the willful blindness, inadequate punishments, all twist the knife and compound the damage.
On here you are heard and believed.
Seeleyboo and HeidiHo such a lot of trauma, I'm so sorryflowers
have you had any professional help?

WorrierorWarrior Tue 22-Sep-20 23:26:38

@SurvivorSister I am not currently in contact with the person who I am 95% sure was abused. It seems significant to me that the suspected abuser has re-surfaced and has created all sorts of squabbles between various family members. There is also another person who I have suspicions about having been abused and I suspect the same person and I dont see that person anymore.
I have spoken to the authorities but they were dismissive and not greatly interested.
I dont want either of the people I suspect have been abused to be treated the way I was treated. It would be too heartbreaking. It takes courage to speak out and being dismissed was unpleasant for me and I was not a person sexually abused.

WorrierorWarrior Tue 22-Sep-20 23:28:22

@HeidiHoNeighbour I had the exact same experience with that particular agency.

HeidiHoNeighbour Tue 22-Sep-20 23:35:40

They are a shower of shit.

Never got past first session. Always felt they didn’t believe me because I was the only one in the family.
I got to a point of “I can keep trying to fight for help or I can just deal with it myself and take my childhood as a harsh lesson on how not to raise kids”. I did the latter.

Fl1mflam Tue 22-Sep-20 23:40:28

I never found therapists particularly helpful either😶
(Too hard to trust anyone)

TheFormerPorpentinaScamander Wed 23-Sep-20 00:14:43

I'm just checking in. I will share my story but not tonight. I'm too tired and have a migraine brewing for the first time in ages.
flowers to everyone

HeidiHoNeighbour Wed 23-Sep-20 10:55:08


Just a kind warning.
I opened up on here about someone I confided in talking about it very loudly amongst mutual friends whilst we were all in a bar.
MN removed my thread without telling me.
They had a lot of complaints, apparently.
Several new threads were started with disgusting comments aimed at me.
MN reinstated it with an “oops, our bad” message.

Do not expect any support from anyone here.
I’m not fussed because no one ever believes anyway.

SurvivorSister Wed 23-Sep-20 11:24:10

Thanks for the heads up, @HeidiHoNeighbour . That's awful.

I'm coming from a position that anyone posting on here is believed. I think with stuff like this, because it's so outside of most people's experiences and norms, others sometimes dismiss it as not true because the alternative (that this stuff cam and does happen) is so horrendous. Having your trauma become a subject of gossip among your friends on a night out is so .. I can't find the right word, but 'shitty' works well enough for now.

OP’s posts: |
HeidiHoNeighbour Wed 23-Sep-20 13:02:41


Just thought I’d warn!
Shitty is a pretty good assessment of them.

fmlagain Wed 18-Nov-20 21:12:06

Survivorsister.. Thank you for the link.

I to was abused at the hands of my older brother. When I finally found the courage to tell my family around 6/7 years ago I thought that would make me feel free to an extent..It just made it worse to the point the majority of my family dont speak to me and I am seen as a liar. It's been hard as I am from quite a large family and always been surrounded by them and to be hated/disowned by them has been really tough and I've just been left to deal with it myself. I have my husbands support and my girls by my side. It has been a long lonely road.

I do speak to some of my immediate family. My mum, my dad and step mum, my younger sister and brother and some cousins who went through the same with me... the story of my cousins came out when I told my mum.. It shouldn't have I know but I wanted them to know it wasn't just me but it backfired and from what I can gather the abuse to them was consensual and all is fine with that. I don't believe it was at all from the conversations we had when it was all happening, hey were also forced.. I am recently In contact with them and do hope to get the bottom of it all with them and together. Although I won't bring it up with my family again.

It's so sad so many children have their childhoods wrecked because of this. It happens way to much. And the abused victim tends to be blamed.

What I went through was excused by my brother as a game, playing mums and dads etc. All kids did it... wtf?! And the adults have accepted it.

All other posters who have been through this are survivors and together we can heal ourselves

fmlagain Wed 18-Nov-20 21:20:18

Some days I don't like who I have become.. and I blame him for the way i am. It's defined me and I hate it.. I want to be the real me.. the one who's childhood wasn't taken. I want to be who I should be but I will never be.. I will never know what life would be like now. Some days I'm in a deep dark hole and can't escape. I hate being a victim but I also hate the fake family who pretend to like me and pretend all is ok.. i see it in their eyes, it's written all over their faces. Their disgust at me. It infuriates me.. he is still winning.. Why? How? I don't wish bad upon anyone but he doesn't deserve happiness and a care free life. Yes he struggles with depression... good! I am glad. So do I suffer with depression.. I blame him! But he has a family stiĺl who care about him. A family who believe I was lying to make them hate him... Why would I make up something so horrific. But yeah apparently I did!! 😪💔

20shadesofgreen Thu 19-Nov-20 12:17:44

Hi Survivor sister and others for starting this thread. It is so awful reading your experiences. My experience definitely falls on the lower end of the scale but the impact it has had on my life has been enormous.

My brother used to get into bed with me and hold my hand to his penis while he masturbated. I would wake up and find him doing it. Eventually I told him to get out or I would tell. I also saw him doing something with my older sister.

I was always anxious at night time after and I felt very alone trying to figure out the world. With hindsight I now realise he was not the only problem in the household. My father was very aggressive and moody and I felt like I was tiptoeing on egg shells around him. My mother was very emotionally overwhelmed and then tried to control everyone to with emotional manipulation and shaming being her tools of choice. The culture around us kids particularly the girls was very dismissive and minimising and undermining, always a culture of meeting our parents exacting standards to mind their emotional needs with no scope for having emotional needs ourselves. They were also both particularly misogynistic. I suspect this culture played a significant part in my brother engaging in abusive behaviours, the culture around him really supported him to do so.

When I finally told my parents they were absolutely awful. They told me I would ruin everyone’s lives if I didn’t sweep things under the carpet for them.

When many years later it came out that my brother had engaged in decades of abuse of my sister, I was absolutely destroyed. She has handled things very differently to me her main coping mechanisms seem to be denial and dissociation and she is comfortable with that. But my father decided to continue his relationship with my brother and put the abuse behind him and for me I have had to come to terms with that injustice as well. I find it impossible to keep any significant contact with family members going along with all the carpet sweeping and denial so I have now reached a point where I keep my distance from my whole family. That has had an impact on my children as well as they were very much in touch with family until that change occurred. It has been very sad all around.

I am at the point now after a long, long struggle of trying to focus on the positive points of my life, the positive relationships I have and the lovely family I have created with my DH and leaving my family of origin behind on some metaphorical island to live out their lives. Losing my family and extended family came with a lot of grief because I really loved them but they are not relationships I can nurture based on what has happened.

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