Dear Bunrni,
AM 15 and the only child of my mother who remarried about three years ago. We moved into her new husband’s home and sometime last year, my step-brother, who is now 18, forced me to have sex with him.

Whenever my mother and step- father go to our home town, which is at least once a month, he forces himself on me. When it first happened, I threatened to tell my mum. He laughed and threatened to harm me if I did.

When I eventually had the courage to tell my mum, that my stepbrother was touching me, she said I was trying to break up her marriage because I didn’t like my step-father. My mum told me my step-brother merely had a crush on me and I was being silly. I’m scared of what would happen if I told her that he was actually having sex with me.

Davida by e-mail.
Dear Davida, The most loving of parents sometimes find it hard to accept that a member of the family or a family friend is abusing their daughter. Yet it’s within family relationships that sexual abuse is most likely to occur. Among the most frequent victims of abuse are girls who fall prey to step-fathers and step-brothers.

A young girl being abused within the family is terrified of the effect on those they love most if the truth is revealed – so the secrecy, reinforced by threats – often continues. It is urgent that you tell someone who has access to your mother no matter what immediate distress this may cause.

Your happiness and peace of mind is important and there is also the danger of your getting pregnant. Speak out now and insist that your mother protect you.

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