Jane Epstein was sexually molested as a child over a period of years by her sibling when she was 6 and her brother was 12. At 50 plus years old, she is sorting it all out and sharing her story to empower other survivors to handle their emotions. God has called her to share her story. She knew she needed to share her story so other people did not feel alone
She was suicidal, a stripper, lost her first husband, but by no accident, got gave her tools to be where she is today.
Before Jane could heal from the trauma, she had to forgive herself before she could forgive her brother.
This is a much more common issue than many think. In this episode, Jane goes into the statistics, but if your family experiences this, her advice is for the parents to “breath, remain calm, and get both of the siblings help.”
In this episode:
"Understanding grief is a huge gift."
Connect with Jane:
Jane’s Website: https://www.complicatedcourage.com/
Jane’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/janepepstein
Jane’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Complicatedcourage
Jane’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jane_complicatedcourage/
Connect with Joseph James:
Joseph: Hey everyone, and welcome to another great show of Purpose Through Pain Podcast. I am your host Joseph James, and today we have an amazing guest, Jane Epstein. She is a sibling sexual abuse survivor. She's an expert in advocate who speaks publicly about and provides guidance and tools for prevention and victim recovery. Ms. Jane's passion is to work and her life mission is to bring awareness to the staggering statistics of sibling sexual abuse, surviving, and largely ignored segments of sexual abuse. Ms. Jane, thank you so much and welcome to the show.
Jane: Thank you so much for having me. And thank you to your listeners,
Joseph: Absolutely. So this is not something that is the first subject we've had of this on the show, and there's no doubt that this probably happens all over the world and even goes unreported, unannounced, you know, and hidden in probably so many different ways. But where does this go back to you as a child living in a happy family? What take us back to that timeframe.
Jane: Sure. I was about six years old. We were raised in a religious home, father was a school psychologist, mother was a school teacher, two older siblings, parents did the best they could. They thought they were following all the rules, and I had an older sibling who was 12. I was six, children between the ages of 10 to 14, particularly boys are going through a lot of hormonal change. So they have a lot of questions. Their bodies are changing, and my sibling didn't have a place to go and get questions answered. We were close and one point he made a conscious decision that he was curious and he needed to know more, and I was available, which is very common. Sibling sexual abuse is very common, its accounts for up to 40% of childhood sexual abuse. The big number, but nobody's talking about it, and sometimes it can start with curiosity, which in my case it did, and it went on and off for about six years.
Joseph: Wow. That's so when, not having an outlet like you were talking about, and you became the outlet, what, without going into detail, did this happen a couple times a day, was this just like an a curiosity thing that eventually just built onto more?
Jane: Yes, yes. So because we have a talking relationship, I can actually ask my sibling, Hey, why did this happen? I'm having these memories, are these accurate? My siblings very careful and they answer my questions, and they are also very careful about not giving me more information than I've asked for so that I don't have more memories, I have enough to deal with. Yeah, so it did start with curiosity, and they told me that it started with curiosity and his body responded the way it should, and eventually my body started rezoning the way it should, he never threatened me, never coerced me. I believed that I was complicit in the sexual abuse. I felt like I was a willing participant that it was just two kids being curious, and I spent decades believing that and yet having a lot of shame and embarrassment around it. It wasn't till I was about 45 that I realized, wait a second, that was more than two kids just being curious. As far as how often it happened, I'm not sure that I know, I know that I shut down and I left my body, but he has told me that he would take every opportunity to babysit me and would come into my room when I was sleeping. So it probably happened a lot more than I know.
Joseph: Wow, wow. Did your parents know about this? Did was there a thought in the mind ever say, Hey, mom, dad this is what's happening?
Jane: Never crossed my mind.
Joseph: Wow. Does that seem to be common in this the sibling sexual abuse.
Jane: I talk to a lot of survivors, a lot of survivors, thousands of survivors reach out to me daily. Parents reach out to me daily, and even the sibling who caused harm reaches out to me. So I do have a lot of intel, and I think it's very confusing for a child if you haven't been taught that you have body boundaries and you're allowed to say no. Now, hopefully parents these days are getting a little better about that, but when we're talking to our children about stranger danger, we also have to talk to them. Hey, siblings, cousins, step-siblings is a big one, and older adolescents. So it just, it didn't cross my mind, and at one point I, I did say something to my, my mom, she does not recall this, but she said something about, well, kids will be curious and kids are curious, no doubt, there's also another situation where we think my sibling and I, we think that my father walked in but wasn't sure, and then closed the door a again, my parents, I firmly believe that they did everything they could and parents don't want to think about this happening in their home, they don't, and it's right. They don't wanna see it, they don't wanna hear it and that's a normal human reaction. But if we bring about awareness and if parents are talking about it, if society's talking about it, then maybe we can handle it.
Joseph: What is normal in terms of that age, like when your mom made that comment of this is normal, kids will be kids, kind of thing. What is normal and what's not? I mean, I think, I mean, in my own mind, I can rationalize now as a 43 year old, well, that's not normal, okay? But we're talking about a 12 year old and a six year old.
Jane: Right. And first of all, the 12 year olds who cause harm, they are not behaving from a 24 year old perspective or an 18 year old perspective. They are operating from a 12 year old perspective.
Joseph: With hormones.
Jane: Right. They're not monsters, they are generally not perpetrator, there are those that are perpetrators, but generally they're a person who causes harm. So you have asked the big question and you can read all the literature you want, but even the experts can't agree, because there's not enough studies, there's not enough research, there's not enough survivors coming forward. But there are a few things that we know, they say generally an age gap of two years or more, but I have survivors reach out to me and say, no, no, I was sexually abused by someone who was eight months older than me. So that's where it gets murky, and it can also depend on the type of touch. It can type depend on the durationit can depend on is there threats, is there coercion, is it hidden? I think your general rule of thumb is curiosity is usually children of about the same age, same developmental level, same size, playing a spontaneous game of doctor, and there's some giggling involved and it's done. Anything outside of that needs to be talked about, and if you walk in on your kids and you're not sure and you think something's happening, remain calm, were parents, it's always a teachable moment, right. Sit down with them, ask them open-ended questions and use that as an opportunity to say we don't touch our siblings and we don't let our siblings touch us. And that includes cousins and older adolescents and open that dialogue because when they're teenagers, you're gonna need that dialogue to be open and your door to be open anyway, so that just opens the door early.
Joseph: Right. So you said something about the harm, what kind of classical signs, or is there classical signs? Because I mean, I think as a guy, okay, so even at the age of 23, even when I started to become sexually active, or even for me, ‘cause I was introduced to pornography by the age of 12, you know? The Hustler Magazines or the you know, some of the other magazines. So it became a curiosity thing first before there was ever any type of action, you know, and I think even, it kind of goes back to the old I'm dating myself, the old JC Penney's catalog, you know, with the section where the girls were wearing the bras and the panties, you know, but I'm eight 10, I'm 10, 11, 12 years old at the time. I don't know that it's wrong at all at that time, you know, this day and age we have to, almost compared to what we were seeing at that age. The most you ever saw on a TV commercial or a rap video or whatever the case may be, is maybe bra and panties, you didn't see what you see, right, you can go on TikTok, Instagram, you can see a lot more, than what I think a 12 year old should be seen, or a 10 or 11 or even a five year old. So was there signs, is there signs that like even adults, ‘cause I'm telling you, this is not something that, as a father and now a widow father that I even think about, I don't think about the sexual, the sibling sexual abuse. I just think my, man, my daughter's 13 and she's liking guys and guys are liking her, and I'm like, oh, oh, okay, boys, you better, you know, I know where their mind is at, okay. And all I can do is do my best to teach my daughter, Hey, you're not letting boys kiss you right now, I'm sorry, you know, and not to put teaching her safe boundaries versus you can't do something because I don't want it done because that's just gonna drive them to do it. But what are some clinical signs? What are some signs that parents can be looking at or even your sibling displayed that you know of now that you didn't know then?
Jane: Well, I'm gonna start this off by saying about 40% of sexual abuse victims show no signs. First I think as a parent you need to understand, we know our children and they don't change overnight for no reason. Do they suddenly withdraw? Do they suddenly become very angry? I became very angry. I was volatile, do they start wetting to bed? Do they have tummy aches, headaches? Do they not wanna go somewhere? Do they wanna sleep in your room? They're not trying to be a pain in the butt, they're trying to communicate something, they may not have the. So, and you aren't thinking about it, and so many parents have reached out to me and have said, we didn't know this was a thing. We had no idea, and with pornography, the blended families, it's a huge problem, huge problem. What these children are coming across on with pornography and then acting out on their younger siblings and their step siblings, I'm so passionate about this because it's tearing families apart, I have mothers reach out to me saying, is our family gonna survive? And I don't know. It changes the whole family dynamic because the parent is torn, these two children, you love, both children and you need to help both children or if you're a stepparent, if it's the other parent's child, it's so messy, but it's such a problem, it truly is a problem. I have people reach out to me daily, daily. And they tell me, I thought I was the only one. I thought I was alone.
Joseph: Wow. Wow, you know, and that's the thing about, you know, the premise behind our podcast is, is we talk about pain, you know, and it's, and this is a new added subject for us, because we talk about divorce, we talk about rejection, we talk about broken relationships, loss of loved ones, we talk about suicide and drug addiction, but now, we have another aspect, or another category I should say, if that's the right way to put it, of pain. And you know, one for me, ‘cause when, when my wife passed away, my father and my wife passed away, people's like, I can't imagine my, my pain of losing somebody doesn't match yours, I'm like, listen, I'm not here to match people's, pain is pain and we all deal with pain differently, some pain sends people into severe depression, some pain people can manage their ways through it, and some pain is hidden, you know, but at the end of the day, it's still pain. And I believe that pain can do one of two things, it can get you, it can get you stuck like glue and you never move forward in life and normally probably move backwards, okay? Or it can launch you into your destiny, right? Doesn't mean that it takes away the pain, doesn't mean that it stops hurting, it doesn't, it doesn't at all. It's just now, instead of me telling a story that, whoa is me, my dad and my wife died in the same month and I was abused my whole life and things like that, it's like, I'm taking that in that, I'm learning how to navigate through life. I'm 43 years old and I'm learning how to navigate through the pain that I dealt with as a six and seven and 10 and 15 and 25 and 30 and 40 year old, you know? How does one get through this kind of pain? What have you seen that has helped people?
Jane: Here's, oh, you and I have a lot in common because I lost my first husband to cancer when I was 34, and I be discovered I was a widow at 34, and through that process I had been so numb for so long and my late husband did not know about my childhood sexual abuse. So when he died, I actually felt for the first time in a long time, I felt alive and I felt a little bit of joy, which, but I was also sad, which grief can be joy and sadness all at once. And then I got remarried and had two children and that's when the memories came back and through that whole process. So I got remarried, I had two children, the memories came back, yet I was still grieving my late husband, and it had been 10 years since he passed, and I thought I should be over this by now. But something I finally realized, maybe there's no finish line, maybe there's no finish line to my grief of losing my first husband. And once I accepted that, I was able to process that better, and then I started thinking, I kept trying to heal, kept trying to heal, get through this childhood trauma so I could go on with my life. And I thought, well, maybe there's no finish line for that either, and that's not a negative way of thinking, It's a way of thinking for me is, okay, this is my story, I'm going to own it, and now I'm going to process it and become fully known and start sharing my story. So for me, I feel like I stumbled across some healing, I feel God kind of gave me some little gifts because I should not be where I am really.
Joseph: I'm with you.
Jane: I was a stripper, I lost my first husband, I was sexually abused, I should not be standing, I was suicidal, but I'm here and I think it's kind of, I don't wanna say by accident, but I feel like God gave me some tools by having to understand grief, that was a huge gift, I understanding grief. I'm not grateful for the loss, I'm not grateful for the sexual abuse, I'm grateful for the lessons that I've learned from it.
Joseph: Yeah, that's good, that's powerful.
Jane: I think what's helped me is I wrote my story down. First of all, I wrote it down and I kind of got it out of my body and I had to reorganize my life. And I was like, oh, no wonder my life happened out of order, I was sexually abused, I knew too much about sex before I should have, and oh, I was a widow, I shouldn't have known about death, and writing it down and reorganizing it and getting it out, and then starting to share it with my husband, my now husband, and being accepted and truly known because keeping all of that inside of you creates shame. It creates walls, I wasn't truly known and I was called to share my story, I didn't wanna share my story. Yeah, I thought I could talk about grief all day long, that can be my thing. But no, I kept getting this nudge, no, it's gotta be sexual abuse, I'm like, okay, fine, sexual abuse. No, it's gotta be sibling, I'm like, no, I do. No, I don't want this to be my thing, but I Google it and I understood the statistics and I also saw nobody was talking about it, and I thought, we're all feeling alone when I need to find my people and let them know they're not alone.dying and it was November of:
Jane: First of all, I am very fortunate that I can talk to my sibling. There is a story there. When I was 21, he apologized to me, that's the first step, which a lot of survivors don't get. When he apologized to me, I was taken aback, he said, I'm sorry for what I did to you when you were little. And, my brain went, what did you do to me when you were little? And I froze, and my response was, it's okay, I participated and I went on, I put that apology in a little box, I put it in my back pocket, but it was in my back pocket. Somewhere along the line, I knew that it was there, I knew that he knew what he had done. So maybe 20 years later, after his apology, I found myself incredibly depressed and angry, and I realized that this had impacted my life in a negative way. Through a lot of counseling and therapy and a couple other zigzags and things that were placed on my path, I was able to forgive myself. Because there was a six year old little girl who kept looking at me and I kept staring at her, and I said, I don't know what you want. I put a picture of myself in the mirror and I said, I don't know what you want, I don't like you, I hate you, you are dirty, you are shameful, you didn't say anything, you enjoyed the touch. I didn't like her, at some point I was able to forgive her, and when I was able to forgive her, it led to forgiveness in other areas of my life. And eventually I was able to write my brother a letter of forgiveness, and he was shocked when he received the letter. He thought, I thought it was over. I apologized, I thought it was done, but through that process, I explained to him, I said, nobody's talking about. We need to talk about it, you aren't the only 12 year old boy, I'm not the only six year old girl. And he said, I will do whatever I can to help you heal. And, I know. So he help me, he answers my questions, which I think really helps me understand because survivors, we wanna understand why did you do it? Why did it happen? And I'm able to ask him those, and I think that helps other survivors when I can share my story, his apology if that shows other people who cause harm. An apology goes a long, long, long way.
Joseph: Now, it's interesting that you talk about forgiveness, I was just on a show not too long ago that we were talking about the power of forgiveness. And when I went up to my dad one day, I'm in my twenties at the time, I went up to tell him that I forgave him for the way he treated my mom and stuff like that. And one thing that I realized is, well, one, when I told him I forgave him, he just kind of sat back in his chair and he says, well, I didn't know I was doing anything wrong, you know, and this is something that dawned on me and it didn't dawn on me until I was doing the show is, we have to know and understand that when we go to somebody to ask for forgiveness or even tell them that we forgive them for what they did to us, whatever pain it may be that you've gone through with a hurt, we may hear an answer that we didn't expect to hear, you know. I thought my dad was gonna be very empathetic and say, you know what son, I'm sorry he didn't say sorry at, right. He didn't say sorry.
Jane: And that's a risk.
Joseph: Yeah. He didn't say sorry to my brothers and sisters and I until my mom passed away, and that was a few years later, but, and that's what broke him, but I'm like, in my mind, I'm like, how in the world could you not, could you even fathom that that was okay? But let me ask you this, if your brother would not have came to you and said, forgive me, would it have been a memory would have been brought up, would this have been something you knew that happened but didn't know that it was wrong or that it had been done wrong to you? What, talk to me about that.
Jane: It would've come back, it would've come back. The memories came back and they reared their ugly head, they really did. And I think when the memories came back and I was angry and I was depressed, I remembered his apology, but it didn't mean much to me at that time. So I think it, I still would've gone after him in some form. I had to be known, there was a little girl inside of me stomping her feet screaming, saying, no, no, I need to be heard, I need to be heard, and she wasn't gonna go away, and I still refer to her, I'm the third person. So it was gonna come out. It was, it had to come out somehow some way or I was going to, I was going to go into a very bad place.
Joseph: Yeah. Did the start of that lead you to being sexually active at a very young age outside of that, with other, with relationships or even, I know you mentioned about being a stripper, did it lead you down that direction?
Jane: I believe it did, because I knew too much about sexual feeling, and it feels good, my body reacted, course my body of course didn't know. Okay, this is your brother.
Joseph: It's supposed to feel good.
Jane: Yeah, it's supposed to feel good.
Joseph: My body responded the way it was supposed to, and then he went away to college. And I'm thinking, the best way I can describe it is he left me like, like a child addicted to crack, right. And I'm thinking, okay, where am I gonna get my next fix? And I trained my brain to think that I needed a boy's attention in order to feel validated, I needed someone to want to sleep with me in order to feel validated. And so, yeah, I slept around, I barely graduated high school and then I became a stripper, and stripping was very empowering for a short period of time, it was very validating for a short period of time. And that's actually where my, where I met my first husband, the one that passed away from cancer, so it was all, it's a crazy life story, but it all seems to work.
Joseph: Right. Do you still find yourself at this age seeking validation not in that realm, but just in as a human seeking validation because of not getting it at a young, as a young girl the way you needed to get it.
Jane: That's a pretty deep question, because I have grown so much and just since shedding my layers, I mean, I used to be a shy little girl, and now I'm getting ready to go on the TEDx stage in front of a thousand member audience. But there's a lot of insecurities there, as I'm writing this talk and I don't feel worthy and I end up in a pile of tears. So certainly the validation isn't as, I don't need it as much, but I am human for sure. And but I think some of that's gone away with age, I'm in my 50, paige is a beautiful thing when it comes to that. Certainly less don't need male attention, I've got a very good husband.
Joseph: Amazing, amazing. So what has been your biggest discovery throughout this? Has it been more of the fact of what you've gone through or how there's not a lot of information out there, not a lot of education, and it's happening to so many people or is it both?
Jane: I think it's both, but we are slowly gaining momentum and that's very rewarding, I'm actually pretty connected with someone who wrote the book, sibling sexual abuse, and he rehabilitates the child who causes harm. And we actually kind of work together, we've done a couple podcasts together. I'm also working with a couple moms and another survivor to build a website so that when families discover this, they have somewhere to go. I'm trying to bring about awareness, I am finding my people, I'm in my fifties, but yes, I'm on TikTok, but that's where I'm finding my people, I'm finding so many people. And people are able to message me and that's where, you know, parents do message me, and like I said, the sibling who caused harm messages me, they are the sibling who causes harm, a lot of them live in, in a lot of shame and a lot of pain as well.
Joseph: Now, not to compare one to another, but you said that your brother was very passive about things, was not threatening. But then you also have the flip side of people dealing with a lot of trauma at that age because of the sexual abuse, because of their forced or their, there's a lot of that, you know, and I'm just gonna stay on the sibling side. I'm not even gonna go on the parent or parental side of things, you know? Do you come across the trauma just as much as you do even with yours, not saying that you didn't have trauma, but the forced, I should say sexual, the sibling sexual abuse versus the past of like what you went through.
Jane: Yes. A lot of siblings were threatened, other siblings, I was not, so that's hard for me to wrap my head around, but it's very common.
Joseph: Do you see that more in particular homes? Is there any type of statistic on financial or demographic or no?
Jane: No family is immune, no family's immune. And if you have one child, you're still not immune because you may have cousins or your child, I don't wanna scare everybody, but if you could read these messages and there's a new study coming out and they're saying it could be as high as 57%.
Joseph: 57% of families?
Jane: 57% of child sexual abuse is sibling or child on child. That's a new study that that is coming out in February, but we know it's 40%, so we can stick with that number. So say your child goes to spend the night at a friend's house, older sibling, and unfortunately, I'm not gonna fight the porn industry, I'm not gonna rattle that cage, but that's a whole another aspect that we have.
Joseph: Yeah. What is the government, what is the states, what is legislature doing?
Jane: No, they're not taking, they don't take it seriously. I'm also a member of a parent Facebook group, and it's hard for parents, it's hard for lawyers, it's hard for the courts to understand, okay, this 12 year old, not sexually abused, but flat out, I don't even wanna say the word, but 12 year olds are doing this to six year olds, they are, and it's hard to wrap your head around it if we aren't talking about it. And in the UK they're doing more studies, but we are way behind. And even the states, when something happens, they aren't aligned. Some states are thinking, okay, well we gotta send you to jail, we've gotta treat you as an adult other States are thinking, okay, let's just get you therapy, or let's just put you back in the home, there's no alignment. So we have a lot of work to do, a lot.
Joseph: Are they jumping straight to the conclusion that it's rape?
Jane: Sometimes it is, that you need proof and then it's hard to believe that your 12 year old would do that, and it's just very messy.
Joseph: Yeah. Do they ever say anything like, oh, it was consensual because you didn't say no?
Jane: Yes, they do, and sometimes parents don't believe a teenager would say, say a teenager comes to an a parent and says when they're about 12 or 14 and says, somebody did this to me five years ago, then the parent looks at the teen and says, why didn't you stop it? But we know with even adults who are sexually assaulted, you freeze or you flight and it's even more confusing when it's someone you love when it's a sibling or cousin, but yeah, a lot of parents, it's easier to deny than to process it, and I get that, I'm a mom of two teen boys and I'm hoping I'm doing everything that I can.
Joseph:Yeah. So let me, let's switch subjects, okay. Because I am a parent, you're a parent, you know, I have a 13, 11, a blended stepdaughter soon to be, in the future, she's seven, and then I have a three-year-old. What do parents out there, the listeners, what do they need to do for precaution and not overreacting, you know, but still being precautious or what can we look out for?
Jane: I think the first thing, the first line of defense is education. Talking to your children when they're preverbal, start reading to them when they're two and three, reading them, 10 different body safety and secret books, that way they hear it 10 different times, 10 different ways, and then keep educating them. Don't stop when they're five years old, don't stop when they're seven and when they're teens, when they're in puberty, there's lots of books. And I have my favorite books listed on my website and I've read most of them, and my kids, my poor kids, they've been educated, but there's a lot of books that talk about if you open that door and you talk about what their body's gonna go through and make that door open so they can ask you questions. And in my home sometimes I know they ask my husband questions, he doesn't tell me what, they know that that's a closed door, that that's between them, lots of books on my website. I have lots of research and lots of resources, that's the biggest thing is we educate them and we keep an eye on them, and we don't leave two children alone. It is better in threes because it's less likely to happen, but then again, it can happen in groups, I think your biggest thing is education and talk to them and keep your eyes and your ears open.
Joseph: Now, you said something about your boys going to your husband and that being a safe place, do they come to you at all because you being a female?
Jane: They haven't but they've been read a lot of books. Every book that's on my website, they've been read, and there's actually some book, good books on pornography, these are not my books, I'm not selling them, I'm not writing them, I don't get anything from this, I am a full-time advocate. One that's called good pictures, bad pictures, because it's not a matter of if your child's gonna come across pornography, it's a matter of when and when they come across it, they see it and their body reacts and their body feels good. And that's okay, but as long as their brain knows, okay, I need to walk away from this.
Joseph: So what kind of tips would you have for a single father with a daughter that's at that age? Because I'm there.
Jane: At the risk of categorizing, I will say that males between 10 to 14 are our biggest risk, and when we have a child who's a male, 10 to 14, it's okay to talk to them and explain to them you are at risk of touching a younger child, I think that they need to be educated that your daughter's, girls, less likely, but I've had survivors reach out to me and tell me, no, my sister sexually abused me. A communication, I think communication and talking to them, because they don't wanna be the child who causes harm, they don't wanna be on that end of it either, they don't, because these messages that I received, that the words and the terms that they describe themselves as, I'm not gonna repeat them because I don't want them to think that I'm repeating things that they've said, but they need grace too, they, those children who cause harm, they need grace too in most situations, I know of situations.
Joseph: Both sides, both sides need grace, I mean, those that have caused the harm and then those that received it, because six year old you didn't know that was wrong.
Jane: I did not, on some level I knew something was wrong, but I didn't have the words and then I felt like I was hiding the abuse as well. I was becoming complicit. It's, I would describe this type of abuse as, it's not black and white, it's not cut and dry, and I always say it has tentacles it ‘cause it just kind of goes through the whole family.
Joseph: Right. What are you doing in terms of, I know you're an advocate for this, but are you coaching, are you mentoring people or I know you're gonna be on the TED Talk, you know, what are you doing behind besides just your talking to help people?
Jane: I'm talking, I'm talking, I'm not going away, I am bringing about awareness, I am not coaching, I'm not a therapist, and when people reach out to me and asking me certain question, I can always tell them I'm not a coach, I'm not a therapist, and I can send them to certain websites that might have the resources, I'm not gonna pretend to have all the answers, I'm still healing, I've got very good ears and I do have survivors reach out to me anonymously and share their stories with me, and I hear you, I see you, I believe you, and you can reach out any time. So that's what I'm doing.
Joseph: Has this become full-time for you?
Jane: Yes. I'm also a moderator of a Facebook group with 10, with nine other moderators for survivors. There's 5,000 survivors, 10 moderators, and that's a full-time job.
Joseph: Just sibling sexual abuse.
Jane: No, I apologize, survivors of sexual abuse.
Joseph: Okay, survivors of sexual abuse.
Jane: Yeah. And I'm on the board of, a new group called Incest to wear. So that's what I'm doing, I'm just bringing about awareness and just trying to be there and it has turned into a full-time job.
Joseph: Wow, I hate that, that's a full-time job for you, you know, but thank God that, God has put those things in your heart and given you those tools to not only for yourself, but also to help and influence and encourage and teach and educated other people, both survivors and you know, people that haven't been involved in it, in educating those people because I would've never thought, I thought on the parental side of things, and then also, you know, like relatives, uncles, things like that. ‘cause you heard, you have a tendency to hear more of those stories, that I was sexually abused by my uncle or my father or, you know, cause I've heard that a lot, even growing up. But, not even, I was afraid to change my daughter's diaper when I was younger because I was so paranoid of it, you know, I don't want to.
Jane: And I've heard that, I've heard that from men. And I will, I would like to say is that siblings sexual abuse child on child sexual abuse is three to five times more common than father-daughter incest. But nobody's talking about it, it is a silent epidemic.
Joseph: How can people get the word out? How can people be educated on it besides, like, I know you said the reading of the books and things like that, but where do people go to find this stuff?
Jane: Another problem. You Google and the problem is that parents come across this, it happens in their family and they have nowhere to go. No, there's very few resources and so that's why we are building this website and we are trying to help families so that these parents and survivors don't come across the same things we came across. Now, when I googled sibling sexual abuse five years ago, there may be a couple outdated articles, that was it. Today we are starting to gain momentum, we are. So hopefully in the next three to five years, it'll be even better. But if somebody's listening to your show and they're looking for resources, they can reach out to me and we can see if we can find what they're looking for.
Joseph: Absolutely. Now I wanna talk a little bit about your TED Talk. What, I know you've had a lot of going into that. What is it all about, the sibling sexual abuse? Is there any more to it? How did that happen for you?
Jane: Well, I'm trying to bring about awareness and the TV stations, they don't wanna hear from me, this does not bring up ratings. So I kept thinking, well, how else can I do this? And so I started looking into a TEDx talk and I have a great TEDx coach, and I selected Boca Raton, Florida, because their theme was defining moments, I thought, great, that's a great theme, it's January, Boca Raton, great time of year, great location, put my application in, had no idea that Boca Raton is almost impossible to get into, and I kind of slid sibling sexual abuse through the back door, I wasn't gonna have it at the forefront of my talk. And they got me on Zoom and they said they wanted me, but they wanted me to talk about sibling sexual abuse, and I said, excellent, I can do that. So I have 10 minutes to talk about sibling sexual abuse on the Boca Raton or the TEDx Boca Raton stage. It's an amazing opportunity, it's a great door opener, for whoever comes after me, this needs to be brought about.
Joseph: Absolutely, absolutely. Ms. Jane, how can people get in contact with you if they want to either, either share their story or maybe know people, or maybe just wanna be educated?
Jane: Sure. My website is complicatedcourage.com, and I am on Instagram, Jane_complicatedcourage, those are pro, there's a Facebook page as well, but Instagram seems to work really well to get messages through or if you go to my website, you can email me from my website and those are probably the best ways to reach me.
Joseph: Yeah. How can parents get through, what have you seen? What's a tip that you can give parents that may realize that they, this is going on in their own family?
Jane: Breathe, remain calm, and get both of your children help denying it and pushing it under the rug is not gonna help anybody. If you get your child, if you get the sibling who causes harm, help, it's not like they're gonna grow up to be a Josh Tucker, if you get them help, if you don't get them help they might become a Josh Tucker. It does no good to do anybody help, it does no good to brush it under the rug. So if you're a parent and this is happening in your home, first of all, the statistics don't lie, know that you are not alone. Reach out for help, get both of your children help and get yourself help because it doesn't do anybody any good to brush it under the rug and ignore it.
Joseph: Wow. It's sad that we live in this world that this happens, you know? But I thank God for people like yourself that God's given you the strength to be able to walk through this, and not saying that it's easy, not saying that it's, I believe that it's, you know, just like what I've walked through, I believe that it's possible, but it's a journey and it's got the, no one's ever climbed a smooth mountain, you know, it's got all the jagged edges and rocks and trips and falls and all the climbing, that's a part of it, you know, and so I'm thankful for people like yourself that can come on here and be open and be transparent, because I know the transparency is, as has helped in your own healing. And I wanna ask you one last question, what does the title, purpose through pain, what does the words purpose through pain mean to you when you hear that?
Jane: I'm gonna kind of answer this the way I answered my history in that, I am grateful for everything that I have learned because of what I've gone through, I'm not grateful for the childhood sexual abuse and I can finally be grateful for the loss of my first husband, but that took me a long time to get there, it's been 19 years. I learned so much from that. And purpose through pain means to me, I can feel I am empathetic, I have a very good ear, I don't sweat the small stuff, I still do on occasion, but I appreciate the sunny days, I appreciate the rainy days and I really, really try to not judge people ‘cause I think we're all doing the best we can and those are all things that I've learned from my pain.
Joseph: Yeah. Well thank you so much, I've got one question that just popped up in my mind and I don't wanna delay this show any, but of course you have triggers, you have triggers, there's probably no doubt in my mind that you have triggers when it comes to the sexual involvement with your husband and things like that, how does somebody in his shoes help you when something is triggered?
Jane: That's the great big elephant in the room. Intimacy for me is a huge, huge struggle. And I have to give my husband a lot of credit, He's been fiercely loyal. He's been there for me, and when I finally told him what had happened to me, he was quiet, and then he said, I'm sorry that happened to you. He has allowed me to share my story, and when I tell him no more questions, he respects that. It's a very, very hard road to travel as a spouse in this situation. And in fact, I had a spouse reach out to me, his wife had passed away and he'd written her a love letter and it was absolutely beautiful and it talked about how he really loved her even though she had gone through so much and she didn't feel worthy. And it was just absolutely beautiful. It's a hard journey, it's a hard place to be in, it's gonna require a lot of time and a lot of patience.
Joseph: Absolutely. Ms. Jane, thank you so much for your advice, thank you so much, for just, not that what you've gone through, but how you've gone through it because it is an inspiration to so many people. And even just sitting here listening to your story, it definitely opens my ears and my eyes and my mind to not to be oblivious about things like this, you know, because ultimately, it's kind of one of those things, like for me, you hear people, you know, passing away of cancer and things like that, but it's a whole different thing that when you have to live through it, and you're living through it with your spouse. So I can't imagine what you've gone through. But thank you so much for being transparent, being vulnerable, and coming on the show and just sharing your heart.
Jane: Well, thank you. Because I think that we are all connected by our stories and I think someone will hear something in my story even if they weren't sexually abused. We're all connected, like you and I just have so much in common our stories.
Jane: Well, thank you.
Joseph: Absolutely, yes ma'am. Guys, please do not hesitate to reach out to Ms. Jane and on her website, on her email, she's also on TikTok and Instagram. Don't hesitate, if you have questions, if you know of somebody or even have experienced sibling sexual abuse or any type of sexual abuse, this lady right here, she will, I know she will do her best, just talking to her for a few minutes off stage, she is passionate about this subject and about this healing, not only for herself but for so many other people. So please reach out. Don't forget to subscribe and share, and we love you guys. Thank you so much.