Q: I have a very serious problem. I'm 13 years old. My older brother, who is 16, tries to pressure me into having sex with him. He says all the bad language to me. He shows his sex organ to me through his pants. He also tries to touch me. That makes me feel sick and cheap. I think he is crazy, but he acts real polite and normal in front of other people. What should I do to stop him? Does every brother do that to their sisters? Help. I need peace and quiet.
A: You're right -- this problem is serious. Your brother's behavior toward you is not normal and most brothers do not act like he does toward their sisters. He needs help as he is directing sexual wishes toward you rather than toward girls his age. He is having difficulty handling his wishes appropriately and is involving you in the wrong way. You may need help, too, as you could be feeling confused, sad, angry and even ashamed, and later may have difficulty becoming close to boys or may develop other emotional problems.
There are several ways for you to get help. One is to tell your parents, if you think they would listen to you and stop your brother from molesting you. However, sometimes parents doubt one child's word over another and aren't always able to listen and be protective. If this is the case, then I'd suggest asking for an appointment with your pediatrician and telling him or her what's happening so that he or she can talk to your parents and decide if the Department of Social Services needs to be informed. Their job is to find out whether a child is being sexually molested or abused and to protect the child from such abuse. They would decide whether it's safe to keep you and your brother together or whether they'd have to separate the two of you. They'd also make recommendations for therapy.