Our expert says:
Classification is a theoretical or legal exercise ; lasting impact is what matters most for the individuals involved. Various forms of sexual exploration and play between children of different ages is more common than most people seem to think. What is probably most relevant in terms of its later significance is how it is interpreted by the target individual, whether there is coercion, whether it is experienced as interesting or pleasurable or as horrible and unwelcome.
Similarly, when the children are close in age, it is usually viewed less seriously than when there is a significant age gap - for instance, in your story, for a 15-year-old to do this with a child of 6 is probably more serious than where the ages were similar.
And it gets complicated - there is probably something significantly wrong with the family dynamics of a family where so many older male children sexually exploited a younger sister.
Its common for the younger child to passively accept what happens, especially when it seems to have been a family pattern - it is not fair to blame yourself or feel guilty. And in one way or another one is usually sworn to secrecy.
As a young child one actually rather readily acepts what we're told, without having the experience to question everything.
YOu are not a weak person who failed to stand up for her rights - you were a really young child, not aware of what her rights were ; and not empowered to feel able to stand up for whatever rights she was aware of.
Its understandable too that you feel love for your brothers, for other reasons, even if some of what they did was definitely not loveable.
Its fair to ask where your parents were, and why they didn't realize what was happening or protect you - but presumably these boys took care not to let the parents recognize what was happening.
Sadly, this sort of thing may even happen a bit more easily in "strict" families, in which sex is not talked about, and it is even more difficult for an exploited younger child to feel able to talk about this with any adult.
What you need to do is to see a good local psychologist for psychotherapy, to talk through all this, to better understand your reactions and to work your way through it.
Do NOT try to "confront" those boys on your own. There a lot of dangerous twaddle preached by amateur meddlers suggesting that "confrontation" is either necessary or automatically helpful - this is absolutely not so.
Fortunately, while such experiences are sadly common and distressing, they do not too often cause significant problems, and you can work through this with the right help and emerge undamaged and confident and at peace
More useful to start with a counsellor on your own side, to work this through and later make an informed decision about what, if anything, further to do, and wh, if anyone else, to tall about it.
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