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Mar 29, 2008
Some clarifications...
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

Megan, the first thing I want to say is that whether or not you "minded" that molestations of any kind occurred, or whether or not you said no or got mad does not necessarily enter into the picture when it comes to sexual child abuse.

I suggest you read my child sex offenders page for a better understanding of the difference between normal sexual exploration of children and child sex offenders.

Regarding your brother, four years is considered sufficient difference in age and understanding to say that your brother at 13 years old knowingly took advantage of your innocence. What he did would not be consider age-related "curiosity." My adolescent sex offenders page provides more information.

Assuming your brother is of sound mind, what he did to you when he was 13 years old is considered sexual abuse. The fact that you didn't object in any way was indicative of your age and vulnerability at that age, Megan. Please don't blame yourself for any of what happened to you. Your brother had all the power. It wasn't your fault. Indeed, your brother had, and possibility still has, serious problems. He could still be offending.

As for your memory of the events, it's not unusual to either block out or repress memories. And it is not unusual to begin to remember as you get older. A stage of life can act as a trigger; puberty is often a time when memories resurface, especially memories that might be related to a life situation: for example, a dating or sexual relationship. Sometimes an event, or something as simple as a smell, can trigger a memory stream.

The fact that you are now bothered by the events is to be expected. You are maturing, and with that growing maturity comes more understanding and questioning.

I strongly recommend you seek out some form of counselling, Megan. Perhaps a school counsellor can help you and provide you with some available resources. Another resource is Child Help at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453). They are staffed 24/7 with professionally trained counsellors who will listen to you and speak openly about your confusion.

I wish you all the best, dear.

Darlene Barriere
Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir

Mar 29, 2008
Molestation or not?
by: Brandy Shirley, M.A.

You are by no means alone in this area. As a therapist, I find myself answering this question quite often.

Here is my rule of thumb when dealing with these type of situations. Under the age of 14, I believe that kids are still exploring and not quite clear of sexual boundaries. I don't ever label kids under the age of 14 as sexual offenders unless the abuse continues to evolve into the teenage years or adulthood.

In your case, the nine year old neighbor probably wasn't aware that her actions were inappropriate or hurtful. As for your brother, if it was a one time thing, he was also probably unaware that his actions may have been inappropriate. Yes, he "should have known" but sometimes that isn't always the case. Depending on your home life, your parents may have not explained the differences between inappropriate and appropriate sexual behavior, which is something that the two of you were exploring on your own. However, if your brother continued to ask you to touch him, this is a whole other issue, which I would then label as molestation.

Since this is bothering you now, it may be appropriate to address this issue with your brother. It's hard to fully understand the circumstances unless you address it with him. Let him know that you remember an incident b/w you and him and you want to talk about it. Share your feelings and listen to what he has to say. More likely than not, if it was a one time thing and he's aware of his inappropriate behavior now, he may feel bad and guilty about the incident. This would be the perfect opportunity to resolve the issue.

Another reason why this is bothering you now is because you've reached an age where you're learning the difference between inappropriate and appropriate sexual behavior. There is nothing wrong with this at all, it just says that you're maturing!

Find peace within yourself knowing that you, your brother, and your neighbor were too young to know what was going on.

I hope that helps.


Mar 29, 2008
Reply regarding post from Brandy Shirley M.A.:
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

Megan, I feel compelled to tell you that I disagree with Brandy Shirley on the issue of confrontation with your brother. Confrontations are often rife with denial, minimization of what happened, and/or a shift of blame. This could lead to further confusion.

Furthermore, the definitions of sexual offenders offered on this website are those that have been adopted in Canada; they may be more clear-cut than they are in the USA. While Canada has adopted nationwide laws regarding sexual assault and sex offenders, it's quite possible that there are no nationwide standards in the USA. Sex offender laws may well be defined on a state-wide basis. I must caution you that personal interpretations do not necessarily fall under the legal definition.

But more than anything, what should be your main focus is some form of counselling to help you deal with the confusion. I hope you'll take the suggestions regarding counselling that I offered in my first post.

Darlene Barriere
Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir


Mar 29, 2008
In response to Darlene's comments
by: Brandy Shirley

Just some clarification...

Yes, confronting your brother will bring up a lot of issues, which is why many people fail to address their feelings with the ones who have hurt them in the first place.

If your brother feels guilty about his actions, he will probably deny it, minimize it, or blame you. It is definitely up to you whether or not you want to confront your brother. If, however, these past incidents are really causing you problems, I advise that you speak to a counselor in your local area about how to deal with this situation. In order for you to heal, you need to address the issue. And speaking to a counselor may be enough for you to confront the issue, without speaking to your brother about it.

As for the sexual offender laws in the U.S., I'm not too clear on the age cutoffs myself. So, you may want to check that out and go from there. Follow your gut and trust yourself in the process.

Mar 30, 2008
WOW
by: Anonymous

WOW either way if its molestation or not its still unessacary!!

Mar 31, 2008
Yes
by: Anonymous

You could easily count those incedences as molestation. Or even just sexually abused. But, one way or another, you were sexually abused. No matter what you call it.

Apr 05, 2008
Pictures
by: Emily

I remember my dad making me pose with my sister when I was little. I was naked and she was naked. He made her sit between my legs and told me to spread my legs wider.

I felt uncomfortable and ashamed. He was exploiting us with his new camera; the kind that took instant photos (no taking the pictures in to be developed).

What he did was evil. But he denies everything and feels sorry for himself. Most abusers feel sorry for themselves I've noted.

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