FACT #5 – Sexual abuse does not determine sexual identity/orientation.
In short, sexual abuse does not determine or fix a person’s sexual orientation. As Dr. Richard Gartner writes in Beyond Betrayal:
“If a man molests a boy, does this turn the boy homosexual? If the abuse lasts for a long period of time, would it increase the likelihood that the boy will be gay? Do adult gay men prey on little boys to recruit them into their lifestyle? The answer to these questions seems to be no.
While scientists don’t agree about what causes sexual orientation, most researchers and psychologists believe it’s established in early childhood before the age when boys are likely to be sexually abused.” (Gartner, R. B. (2010). Beyond betrayal: Taking charge of your life after boyhood sexual abuse. John Wiley & Sons. p 99)
Whether perpetrated by males or females, premature sexual experiences can lead to a great deal of confusion about many aspects of identity and sexual orientation.
Many males who have been abused by males can believe that something about them sexually attracts males, and that this may mean they are homosexual. Again, not true. It is the offender’s compulsions and choices that are at the root of their actions – not the physical features, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic of a victim.