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Brandy's Blog

A Mother’s Shattered Heart - Finding The Strength

Updated: Feb 24

Hi I am the mother to Brooke, who recently shared a blog about writing her victim impact statement as a teen survivor of SSA. [Read Brooke's blog here.] We are both working together to raise awareness about sibling sexual abuse and sharing our impact statements to help other victims along with families. I want to be a voice as a parent to create change in many ways including to help lower the rates of teen suicide. 


When my daughter disclosed what had been happening to her, I felt my heart shatter. You have so many hopes and dreams for your children to grow up close as siblings. You never envision yourself on a journey of something so gut-wrenching. I knew that at the moment of disclosure, my daughter needed justice and my son wanted to make sure she received it after he admitted to everything. This was the day I started advocating for my children in very different ways, including writing a victim impact statement to speak to the crimes that were carried out against the victim but also acknowledging my son needed help for his addiction issues. My son admitted to being in a dark place from viewing years of sexually explicit material online from a young age which led him on a path of destruction.


I wrote my statement to reflect on the pain I felt knowing that my daughter’s innocence was taken. I voiced concern about how my son would have to face the lifelong impacts of his decisions. This happened during a time after my husband was hurt at work resulting in a major amputation of his hand. I had to pick up a second job for a few years to help with finances which my daughter discussed in her victim impact statement. 


I know this is a very personal decision for each family in how they decide to proceed after disclosure. For some families it may be therapy and a treatment center for the offending child. For our family, justice was the route we decided to pursue, and my daughter is in a place of healing now due to having the chance to be heard during her sibling’s sentencing. I hope that you will find this blog to be informative. Please read on to see how I supported both children in my impact statement.


Heather 



I have written this impact statement to bring forth a different view as the parent of a victim and offender of sibling sexual abuse. As a mother, to see the victim, my daughter, most days battling through feelings of worthlessness, depression, and thoughts of self harm has been unbearable. The past crimes that were committed against her have destroyed her trust in anybody which is very disheartening. She went through many years of questioning her own sexuality and how she identified, due to these heinous acts that occurred over a 5 year period. She now realizes that the abuse caused her confusion. Her school grades suffered, she attempted to run away to escape her abuser, my son, one night. There were many nights she dealt with insomnia due to her worries of the abuse that could possibly happen after her parents fell asleep. She has been hospitalized twice within a 3.5 year period due to depression, suicidal ideation, PTSD, and other diagnoses from the impacts of the offender’s sexual and mental abuse.


I lost my loving daughter through it all, a girl with the biggest heart ever. She was a completely innocent 11 year old “child” when my son decided to start grooming and using coercion to commit these crimes against her. When you raise your children you have hopes that your son will always offer a normal sibling relationship and protection for that younger child. My son destroyed our family bond, broke our family apart, and caused what has felt like a death of both of my children in some ways because my daughter will never be the same person she was no matter how hard she emotionally pushes to get back to that place. My son will have to deal with the consequences of his poor decisions for the rest of his life too and continue to battle depression himself.


I think what hurts me most was the fact he knew she had been diagnosed with adhd and high functioning autism and he saw this as an opportunity to abuse her in the first place with hopes she wouldn’t tell anyone what had happened to her because he knew she always adored him. My daughter had always sought out her brother’s attention from a young age but eventually came to the realization that he was only hurting her. I never as a parent thought I would have to encounter something so heart wrenching as this disclosure. What happened to the victim was premeditated and my daughter will unfortunately have to deal with the life-long psychological impacts from this abuse. 


With all this being said I do feel that the offender, my son, does deserve some advocacy from his mother in hopes that a portion of his sentence could include some time at a facility that specifically includes treatment for sex offenders and addiction issues such as pornography. I would like to see the offender receive an extensive and aggressive treatment program for sexual offenders with hopes that he would never reoffend again. My son has acknowledged that he had developed a severe addiction to viewing pornography for many years and eventually carried out those acts against the victim. I do feel the offender does need to serve time for the lifetime damage that my daughter, the victim in this case, will have to endure. I will continue to help her find herself again and to come away from this stronger. I am also hopeful my son will be able to recover from his addiction and move forward in life; to come away from this stronger one day without any urges to ever hurt another.


Unfortunately we are living in a time when sibling sexual abuse is increasing, with the statistics showing that 1 in 25 children are being affected now. Our world needs change for teen accessibility to the dark web and internet in general. I hope to help bring forth change to keep other families from being impacted in this way. I have decided to move forward in advocacy work to help others and one day hope that all the members of my immediate family can stand behind this movement for change. 

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