Siblings share and fight over things all the time. But there’s a certain expectation this will fade as you get older, not intensify.
At least, that’s what Redditor siblingthrowawaya34 surely thought. The original poster (OP) and his younger sister are young adults and should have some degree of boundaries with each other’s things.
However, that is not the case, as OP’s sister stole one of his stories for a college scholarship. This makes OP question whether or not he should turn her in.
To try and decide, he asked the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit if he would be wrong to come forward.
OP asked “Would I be the A**hole” (WIBTA):
“WIBTA if I got my little sister’s college scholarship revoked?”
This was where they were:
“I (21m[ale]) have been an avid writer my entire life. I have written three full length novels that I’m almost perpetually reworking and a book of short stories all set within the same universe.”
“I’ve been working on this universe and the characters within it since I was 13 and it is all very personal to me.”
“This week, I found out that my younger sister (17f[emale]) won a massive scholarship by submitting one of my short stories.”
“I would have been upset regardless of which story she’d taken, but she happened to pick one based around my experience feeling othered because of my autism.”
“My sister is not autistic and has actually bullied me for my autistic traits in the past, so the fact that this was the story she picked to steal from me almost feels like an attack.”
“In addition to submitting the story, she also had to write about what inspired her to write the piece, and even thinking about what she must have made up makes my blood boil.”
“My parents are currently struggling for money and this scholarship would pay for almost her entire first year. Both my parents know what my sister did and they have both asked me to just ‘let it slide’ because my sister having this scholarship is helping our family out a lot.”
“They were also worried that the school my sister has been accepted to might find out and rescind her admission. They’re both using the excuse that she is just a little girl who made a dumb mistake and that it would be petty and over the top for me, an adult man, to hurt her future over it.”
“I don’t want to hurt my parents financially, I don’t even really want to hurt my sister, but I don’t want her to have this scholarship. I have all the proof that she is not the real author of the story, but WIBTA if I actually sent it in?”
“Should I just let it go for the benefit of my family?”
This issue on the surface is complicated.
OP’s work was stolen and his sister lied to get her scholarship. But his family can’t afford her college education otherwise, and speaking up could prevent her from attending.
To determine whether OP would be TA, commenters include one of the following in their responses:
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
OP has every right to his stories.
Beyond just the fact he created and wrote them, which would be more than enough anyway, there is a personal connection to his own lived experience that was exploited by his sister.
The board voted OP was NTA.
“<< I don’t want to hurt my parents financially, I don’t even really want to hurt my sister, but I don’t want her to have this scholarship>>”
“NTA, but you can’t have all 3 of those things at the same time. Make your choice and the consequences will follow.” – RB1327
“This sucks is happened but you are going to have to make a choice.”
“I would suggest start securing your stories in some way. If they are on a PC or Flashdrive, password protect the files. If they are on paper, move them to the PC and password protect the files.” – JadedSlayer
“YWNBTA but understand this decision will likely come with consequences. It will impact your family financials, is likely to get your sister kicked out (most schools have pretty firm plagiarism policies) and it will absolutely impact your relationship with all of them.”
“Your sister has poor ethics and she should learn, but you’ll likely bear a piece of that cost. Good luck.” – thebabes2
“You’re right. Her plagiarism has stolen the scholarship from its rightful recipient. And things like that will usually come out publicly at some point.”
“You can get in front of it now, and minimize the consequences. Or your family can turn a blind eye and maybe become the next Lori Laughlin years down the road after the damage has all been done.”
“It’s messed up that your family has put you into this situation. But, here you are. Integrity versus family, your choice.” – theDagman
A lot of the comments focused on the family, and possible extreme consequences for OP’s sister. If turned in, there’s likely going to be repercussions for her beyond losing the scholarship.
That doesn’t mean the right answer is for OP to turn a blind eye, but he’ll have to be willing to suffer the consequences of whatever action he takes.
But is it just a choice between turning in his sister or letting her go?
“She should decline the scholarship. She can say that on further reflection she has realized many of her words were heavily inspired by your works and that she can not accept an award for it.”
“She should absolutely not admit it is actually your work. You should absolutely not admit it is your work unless you were planning to publish this work.”
“Doing either will mean she is thrown out of college and that no others will take her. She should take a gap year to do community college and get her prereqs out of the way while she saves money to attend next year.”
“ESH if you wreak your family to prove a point or she takes a merit award she didn’t earn and your parents allow it.” – Polyfuckery
“This is the ideal answer for OP. The consequences for your sister if the plagiarism is discovered could be much worse than declining the scholarship now.”
“The consequences for yourself if she is allowed to continue with the scholarship could potentially ruin a career as a writer.”
“Have your sister and parents read her University’s policy on plagiarism and academic theft, it is likely expulsion and marks on any transcripts provided to other schools. Hopefully that will wake them all up to the seriousness of what she has done.”
“Give the choice to decline the scholarship to your sister and parents, or you will report her to protect your own interests.” – Arynne12
OP is stuck in a horrible situation. On one hand, a very personal story and experience is being exploited by his sister to cheat her way into a scholarship. But if he says anything, there’s going to be ramifications that extend beyond just getting it revoked.
The real consequences are his sister’s fault for choosing to cheat like this, but it’s likely OP’s family will blame him if he comes forward. It’s not fair, but it’s what OP has to be willing to endure if he wants justice.
Otherwise, he’ll have to sit with it.