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It was published in the 80's, maybe early 90's. It could possibly be a Heartfire book. All I can remember is its about a young woman. Seems like her and her (possibly twin) brother are on their own traveling on a ship somewhere. Her brother is possibly beaten and raped, or is submitting to someone's desires to keep them away from his sister.
Was a really good book, but I don't remember enough about it to find it. :)