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#SiblingsToo - Exploring the impacts of sibling sexual abuse

Mar 21, 2024

In this powerful and thought-provoking episode of the #SiblingsToo podcast, Decca Aitkenhead and host Nancy Morris delve into the underreported and deeply complex issue of sibling sexual abuse (SSA). The conversation provides an insightful exploration into Decca's journey to write a major article for The Sunday Times in the UK, addressing a subject that often goes unnoticed by the public and media alike. With a commitment to shedding light on this taboo topic, Decca and Nancy discuss the obstacles and responsibilities that come with bringing such personal, intimate stories to a wider audience.


The episode reveals the troubling silence surrounding SSA in mainstream media and highlights the urgency of informing parents, families and, importantly, society about SSA and how it can impact all of our lives. Decca shares the emotionally charged process of listening to survivors' experiences, the challenges in reporting on a subject with significant legal and social implications, and the overarching goal of sparking a national dialogue that can no longer be ignored. Insightful, raw, and unwaveringly honest, these show notes invite readers to fully grasp the magnitude of the problem and the need for immediate attention and action.


About the Guest:

Decca Aitkenhead is an award-winning journalist known for her role as the chief interviewer of The Sunday Times in the UK. With a career spanning three decades, Aitkenhead has become one of the leading names in journalism, interviewing a diverse range of prominent figures from the fields of politics, sport, culture, media, and the arts. Her expertise and dedication to uncovering compelling human stories have positioned her as a respected voice in the British media landscape.


Key Takeaways:

  1. The 'ick factor' and legal complexities contribute to the collective media silence on SSA.
  2. Parents and families must be aware of the dynamics within their household to prevent and address abuse.
  3. Survivors of SSA carry the emotional burden of their experiences, with disclosure often leading to a tumultuous yet liberating journey.
  4. The debate on terminology (perpetrator/victim versus child who harmed/child who was harmed) reflects the struggle to adequately frame and respond to SSA within society.


Notable Quotes from Decca:

  1. "Even more crucially, you could argue you want parents of children in their care today to read this article and think, 'Christ, I mean, there's no reason to think that couldn't happen in our family. I should be paying attention'."
  2. "It's the absolute ick factor journalists don't want to cover this story. It's kind of grim. People don't want to think about it."
  3. "The product of the school of thought, which feels that we must recognize that they were all children, and to some extent, they're all victims, is that they don't want to use the word perpetrator and victim."
  4. "If one parent reads this and pays attention and it means that it doesn't happen to their kids, then maybe that really is the ultimate change in this situation."



  1. The Sunday Times article -
  2. More on Decca -



Tune in to this significant episode of #SiblingsToo featuring Decca Aitkenhead, for a deep dive into sibling sexual abuse's harsh realities. Do not miss the full discussion for a comprehensive understanding and join us as we continue to bring light to these critical and pressing matters in upcoming content.




Decca's motivation to write about sibling sexual abuse




Legal implications and challenges of reporting on sibling sexual abuse




The silence surrounding sibling sexual abuse speaks to societal stigma




Challenges faced by victims in telling their stories without a criminal conviction




The awareness and resources on sibling sexual abuse have increased in recent years, indicating a potential tipping point.




The process of researching for the article involved speaking with academics, professionals, and individuals with lived experience.




The privilege and responsibility of telling these stories




Parents need to be aware and talk about sibling sexual abuse.




Sibling sexual abuse should be seen as a public health issue, not just a criminal justice issue.




Simple steps parents can take to protect their children.




The potential impact of the article on survivors and their healing process