For younger brothers and sisters
For Family & Friends, Young People
This book is for children whose brothers or sisters have been sexually assaulted. You can read it on your own or with a close and trusted adult.
Sexual assault is when an adult or bigger/older person touches, or makes a child touch, private parts of their body. Usually the people who do this are known by the children and use tricks or bribes to make sure the child does not tell anyone. It is a serious crime to do these things to children and people who sexually assault children can go to jail.
If your brother or sister has been sexually assaulted it usually makes things hard for everyone in the family. This leaflet will help you talk about the things that worry you and make it easier to talk about your feelings. It is always better if you can talk about how you feel rather than keeping it in your head on your own.
You may have lots of difficult and different feelings about what has happened to your brother or sister.
It is really common for kids to feel worried or scared when they find out someone they care about has been hurt. Some kids feel frightened that the person who hurt their brother or sister might hurt them too.
Kids can also worry that the person might want to get back at their family for talking about the sexual abuse. It is pretty unusual for either of these things to happen, because the person who hurt your brother or sister is already in big trouble, and he or she doesn't want to get in any more.
Talking to someone about your fears is important and can really help.
Sometimes you may feel guilty about what has been done to your brother and sister because you feel you should have known or feel you could have stopped it. It is NEVER your fault if an adult or bigger/older person has done something bad. It is ALWAYS the fault of the person who did it. Children do not make adults do wrong things do they? It is important to remember that it is very hard for a child to stop an adult doing something bad.
Sometimes kids have seen or heard their brother or sister being sexually assaulted. This can feel really yucky and you may feel that you can not tell anyone. If you keep yucky feelings in your head it can give you a big muddle. It really helps if you can tell someone what you feel bad about.
You may angry about what has happened and that's OK. It's right to feel angry when someone you care about has been hurt. If the person who sexually assaulted your sister or brother is someone you know, like or love it gives you some difficult feelings. It is OK to feel angry with someone you love. You can hate what they have done and but still love them. Sometimes you may not be allowed to see the person who hurt your brother or sister because it is not safe.
What can help you when you are angry? Maybe punching a pillow or writing or drawing angry thoughts.
Sometimes it can be hard in a family when a child has been sexually assaulted because the adults are upset as well as the children. Sometimes people cry a lot or are very quiet or are more grumpy. This will not go on for ever and everyone will feel better in time. The best way to cope with this is to let your feelings out.
When someone has been sexually assaulted they need extra love and care . This can be hard for you because you may feel upset or left out or angry because you feel your brother or sister is getting more attention. Try and think of it as a big injury like a broken leg. It always takes time to heal when you have been hurt and everyone who has been hurt needs some extra time and love.
Your brother or sister will have a lot of feelings . They may be very sad. They may feel scared and have angry outbursts. They may not like themselves very much. Sometimes they may have bad dreams or wet their bed or find it difficult to sleep. They may find school difficult and can lose interest in playing.
There are lots of ways that you can help your sister or brother. First you need to listen to your own feelings and thoughts and try to talk about them or draw them or write them. Remember everyone in your family will have feelings about what has happened.
Ways to help
- Try to understand what has happened to your brother or sister and tell them you will listen if they want to talk.
- Let them know you care about them and are sorry that they have been hurt.
- Do things with them that you both enjoy.
- Talk to your family about how you can help.
If any of these things have happened to you, tell a grown up you trust right away! If you are too frightened or are not sure what to do, then you can ring the Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800, or ring us (CASA) on 1800 806 292, the person you speak to will know what to do.