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Sibling Abuse - It's more than rivalry

Sibling abuse is a largely unrecognized social issue that is flourishing by our silence. Research has found:

  • Sibling abuse is common in families across all racial, cultural, and socio-economic lines
  • Up to 75% of family violence is between siblings
  • 53% of children aged 3 to 17 have committed acts of severe violence towards a sibling
  • Children are at least 5 times more likely to be sexually abused by a sibling than an adult family member

By the time they are eighteen, children abused by a sibling are twice as likely to have depression, anxiety, and self-harm; they've lived a confused entanglement of love, fear, shame, and self-blame. They are held captive; the abusers are usually older, in charge, with 24-hour access to their victim.

Survivors will likely struggle throughout their lives with mental health and addiction issues, relationship difficulties and more, including suicide and ongoing abuse, as victim, perpetrator or both. Often, they are unaware their struggles are rooted in abuse by a brother or sister because our society accepts, ignores and/or silences violence, psychological and sexual abuse by siblings. Normalizing it as sibling ‘rivalry’ effectively condones it.

Together we can change that.


Listen to CBC Radio’s The Current with host Anna Maria Tremonti in discussion with playwright Lorene Stanwick and two other survivors of sibling abuse: ​​​​​​​'I'm still petrified of her', sibling bully and its lasting effects

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