I got played by my best friend in my own home: survivor testimonies of sibling sexual abuse

Tova Lewin, Nina Spaegele, Afnan Attrash-Najjar, Carmit Katz*, Anat Talmon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Sibling sexual abuse may be the most prevalent type of intrafamilial sexual abuse, however, the dearth in empirical knowledge lends to its great obscurity and lack of awareness, prevention and intervention by clinicians, researchers and families alike. The current study fills this knowledge gap through an inductive analysis with written testimonies of 28 survivors of sibling sexual abuse. Findings indicate familial and external circumstances surrounding the abuse that contribute to its occurrence. Three main themes emerge from the analysis: (1) Survivor reflections on their perceptions at the time of the abuse, (2) Responses to disclosure of abuse both in childhood and in adulthood and, (3) Survivors’ reflections upon their perceptions and feelings concerning SSA. The analysis indicates the critical need to listen to the voices of survivors and put an end to the marginalisation and minimisation of their experiences especially when attempting to make waves in practice, policy and prevention. PRACTICE IMPACT STATEMENT: Survivors of sexual abuse, especially SSA, rarely disclose the abuse and even more rarely receive the proper interventions to allow them to cope with these experiences. The current study is thus an important step forward in terms of listening to the lived experiences of survivors and presenting to the scientific audience the invaluable information that they have bravely shared which will invariably further the research, awareness and policy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-342
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Sexual Aggression
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2023


  • Characteristics ‌
  • Sibling sexual abuse
  • disclosure
  • intrafamilial abuse
  • survivor emotions
  • survivor testimony


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