A 17-year-old brother tended to his 11-year-old sister who was distressed after having her first period when nobody else was around.
Redditor “aitathrowaway219803” admitted his brain was “a little jumbled” after he was reprimanded by their aunt—who called him a “massive creep” and accused him of “invasion of privacy”—when he thought his intentions to help her were good.
For context, the Original Poster (OP) said he and his sister do not have a mother and her whereabouts remain a mystery.
“We have no idea what happened to her, my dad’s silent on it and gets mad whenever we bring her up.”
“We’ve never had any sort of maternal figure save for maybe my aunt, who visits us three times a year. No extended family in the U.S. either.”
“Our dad raised us by himself, and when I got old enough, I helped out with raising my sister. Currently, for the past two months, he’s working extremely long hours so it’s up to me to cook/clean/take care of my sister.”
“On top of that, AP exams are this week and next week, which has really taken a toll on me and perhaps has screwed up my judgment in all this.”
“My sister and I are 11 and 17, respectively.”
When the sister experienced her first menstrual cycle, they were on their own.
“Anyway, while my dad was gone for work, I heard my sister screaming in the bathroom. Essentially, she just got her first period, and she was really freaking out about it.”
“I was panicking because I have literally never dealt with/thought to prepare for this (stupid, I know). Like, don’t get me wrong, I know periods exist and that you need to block the blood, but I don’t know the specifics.”
Thank goodness for the internet.
“Luckily, my sister had some sort of ‘class’? on periods and hormonal changes in her class, so we figured out what to do (with the help of some awkward WikiHows as well. God, there really is a WikiHow for everything).”
“So after a load of talking, I rushed to the nearest Target to pick out some pads, and I came home and slid them underneath the door. The situation was handled well, or so I thought.”
The OP told their concerned aunt how he tended to his distraught sister, but the reaction was not something he expected.
“Today, my aunt called us on FaceTime to make sure we were okay, if we had enough food, etc. We updated her on everything, and my sister also announced that she got her period.”
“My aunt told her that she shouldn’t be talking about her period in front of me, because it’s private, to which my sister told her that I actually helped her.”
“My aunt was livid, and started lecturing at me about how I was a massive creep, and that this was an invasion of privacy, along with how I should’ve called her first.”
He continued being lectured on an exclusively female function and began second-guessing his caring attempt.
“She told me that periods are a woman’s thing, and that it was extremely inappropriate for me, as a guy, to interact with her like that.”
“Both me and my sister were kind of bewildered, because neither of us knew how to process that, but I ended up apologizing to my sister while my aunt watched, and that was that.”
“I thought I was helping my sister, but at the same time, I do feel like maybe I invaded her privacy and acted inappropriately? I’m not sure.”
The OP also mentioned that another one of their aunt’s complaints was the fact that he did not reach out to her when the sister got her first period.
He asked AITA (Am I the A**hole) for enlisting the help of the aunt.
Anonymous strangers on the internet were asked to weigh in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
This Redditor touched on the stigma that prevents men from purchasing feminine products at the store.
“NTA. Your sister is the one who can determine if her privacy was violated, not your aunt.”
“It sounds like she wanted and asked for your help, which you gave, because you’re a good big brother.”
“There’s nothing about periods that inherently mean men can’t help women out with them if needed, that kinda attitude is why we have men who are too scared to pick up tampons for their girlfriends at the store.”
“My dad was the one who was there when I started my period. He was also a science teacher that taught sex ed so none of it was shocking or gross to him and he handled it great.”
“Sounds like you did a pretty good job too, and its good your sister feels like she can go to you for help.” – badb-crow
“I agree with this 100%. Only the woman in question can determine if her privacy is invaded.”
“Like we have only one guy friend at my friends’ group of like 6 or 7. He has heard us talk about it. He knows it exists. He isn’t grossed out. And he is not even family, he’s just used to us.”
“Also, my father helps us out. We’re three girls at the house. He buys us many times pads and many times he calls us too so he can find the necessary stuff.”
“He isn’t embarrassed, he knows it’s a natural thing.”
“Honestly, OP’s aunt sounds like the AH here. She is the one actually invading their privacy as it is none of her business how they handle things at home.” – pavgiot123
The aunt may not have scored points as a good role model, but these Redditors praised their dads.
“My dad had 3 daughters who all had a different preference in pads or tampons.”
“His only requirement when picking up pads/tampons was that we give him the old packaging so he can match it in the store to get us the right kind.”
“There is absolutely nothing ‘creepy’ about OP helping his sister, who she’s probably a lot more comfortable with than the aunt she sees 3 times a year. OP is NTA and the aunt is definitely an AH.” – turtleracer14
“Same. My dad also had 3 girls. It was so much fun (he did most of the shopping) when he’d yell down the stairs ‘Was it the one with wings or without’ while you were hanging with your friends.”
“I agree…NTA-the aunt was.” – Irish980
The aunt was slammed for her archaic views on women’s health.
“Yeah, screw your aunt’s 1950s worldview on this subject.”
“This is a situation you could have (and did) handled yourself and your sister trusts you and is old enough to make that judgment call.”
“Periods happen, and it’s this ancient outlook on the subject that will keep it taboo.”
“It’s as natural a part of life as is pooping, but your aunt wouldn’t keep you from buying your sister toilet paper if she needed it, right?” – spicytuna36
“Not to mention the fact that NOW the sister thinks she has something to be ashamed of thanks to the aunt, where her brother did not make her feel that way at all.”
“Huge NTA.” – jofs37
People were concerned about the sister’s distorted view of her menstrual cycles, thanks to auntie’s disapproval.
“The risk now is that OP’s sister has this thought seeded in her brain that her brother was maybe invading her privacy and that she should keep her ‘women’ stuffs private from guys, including her brother… who is kind of the main person she can have help from around her at the moment.”
“She might close up to her brother in the future because of her aunt’s sexism which is no good.”
“It’s good to have someone around you that you can trust on everything and that will support you. When she’ll be a bit older and will start having a sex life and will want to speak about contraception and pills and all the stuff then it’s a good thing to have a big brother that you can speak with about it, especially if you don’t have a mother around and your dad is too busy.”
“So the aunt is clearly the AH here, also because of the potential consequences on the brother/sister relationship of what she said.” – DrFolAmour007
“Tell her that auntie is really old-fashioned in this topic. It’s madness.”
“Your body should be nothing you should be ashamed of and that is what aunt basically told her. ‘It’s a private topic and nothing for a man to know’ is not far from ‘You are gross at that time, hide anything about the grossness.'”
“Honestly, her body works as intended. It’s normal and something that will be there for quite some time.”
“She should never let anyone tell her how she should handle it. No matter whether she wants to use pads or tampons, wants to talk about it openly or handle it privately, it is her decision.”
“And damn it, it’s better she can talk about it so you can help her figure things out, because in the next months, it can start hurting like crazy to have her period and all you want is that she can ask for help instead of silently suffering. (Warmth and a light painkiller are an excellent start here IMO.)” – ChristieFox
“Just want to put this out there. OP you are an amazing brother. Most men get kind of skittish hearing about periods even though they are natural. Props to you for helping your sister.” – nxjxjnx
It seems the Reddit jury has spoken and declared the OP as NTA for making the right call—which was not having auntie on speed dial.