My Sister’s Keeper: Survivors Disclosing Sexual Violence to a Sibling

Veronica R. Barrios, Miranda Corpora, Emily Pawlecki, Jonathan Caspi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Siblings are often cited as a source of support throughout life, but they have not been included in studies of sexual violence disclosure. Survivors of sexual violence often delay or do not disclose their sexual violence. The current study investigated if and why survivors of sexual violence decided to disclose to their sibling. This qualitative investigation included 10 female participants, of which six had disclosed their abuse to their sibling. The participants ranged in age from 20 to 58, five identified as Hispanic, one as Hispanic and White three identified as White, and one identified as Middle Eastern. Thematic analysis was used to examine the data. Three major themes were identified that affected sibling disclosure decisions: sibling dynamics, perceived and real reactions to disclosure, and words of advice. The findings from this study demonstrate the continued need to investigate siblings and their role in disclosure of sexual violence. Practitioners may also want to examine the sibling relationship as a source of support for survivors of sexual violence. Finally, as policies continue to develop around support of survivors of sexual violence, inclusion of siblings in family policies, outreach centers, and counseling services may be beneficial.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • child abuse
  • family issues and mediators
  • reporting/disclosure
  • sexual assault

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