Brother's sexual advances bother her


July 04, 1992|By Dina Sokal | Dina Sokal,Contributing Writer

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.

A third option is to call the youth crisis hot line at (800) 422-0009 or the sexual assault recovery center at (410) 366-7273 and ask for their advice.

Q: I'm a 13-year-old girl and I have a problem. I was going with this guy and then I dumped him. All my friends supported me. They said he was a nerd and we were nothing alike. But then one of my best friends danced with him at a dance at which I was not present and now they are going together. She was the one who supported me the most and I feel as if she's betrayed me. Not that I still want to go out with the guy. It's basically the principle of the thing. Please don't say talk to her and discuss your feelings because I want her to be happy, and I feel awkward every time she mentions his name. What should I do?

A: You're probably thinking that your best friend convinced you to drop this boy so that she could go with him. If she did indeed do this then she's not really trustworthy and the friendship will probably never be the same. However, she may have truly believed he wasn't the right guy for you but had no interest in him then. Her feelings toward him may have changed after spending more time with him at the dance. Since you were no longer with him, she figured it would be all right to go with him.

You could try talking to her to find out what happened or you could continue the friendship assuming she didn't betray you. Over time, you'd figure out whether she is generally a reliable friend or someone who keeps betraying others.

Dr. Sokal is a child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist practicing in Baltimore. If you have a question, send it to Kids Ask, Features Department, The Sun, Baltimore 21278.

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