A gay teen writes to the forum:
"I have friends who have confided in me and told me they were raped and that probably if it wasn't for that they wouldn't be gay...If I were raped by a guy then maybe one day I'll hate guys and only date women, completely voiding my gay feelings and not being gay anymore."
Though I can't speak for every single individual's experiences, and exploration of what made them who they are, I can say that being the victim of sexual assault will not change someone's sexual orientation.
But this is a really common myth and one that far too many people believe. A straight boy who is raped will not then grow up to be gay.
On the other hand, while gay men who were victims of sexual assault may question what lead them to their sexual orientation, and they might see their victimization as playing y a role in their sexual development, this is quite different than having the assault be the root cause of their identity.
Additionally, some males who are victims of sexual assault become deeply troubled and confused if an aspect of the sexual assault felt pleasurable. This could lead them to quesiton their sexual orientation and can increase feelings of shame and guilt. It is not a sign that they were made gay by the rape.
Additionally, a gay man who had been the victim of a sexual assault by another man might look back on his experiences and assume that it was the rape that made him gay. Very few professionals would agree with this, however.
Of course, non-professionals and bigots often still cling to this idea. In the sad cases now playing out at Syracuse University, and Penn State where young boys have been alleged to have been sexually abused by assistant basketball coach, Bernie Fine and assistant football coach, Jerry Sandusky, the hate-mongering organization, Americans for the Truth About Homosexuality, seems much more concerned that the alleged victims will now be gay, than that they were raped.
In a press release titled, "How Many Boy Victims of Penn State Homosexual Predator Jerry Sandusky Will End Up Thinking They are ‘Gay’?" the organization's president perpetuates the myth that most child molesters are gay men, and also the notion that being a male victim of an adult man can "trick" boys into thinking they are gay. He says,
"Many openly homosexual (“gay”) men, like CNN anchor Don Lemon, were molested as boys or experienced abnormally early sexualization. Yet many of these same men do NOT see their boyhood victimization at the hands of homosexual male predators as causing their homosexuality...Because the media and academia have largely become apologists for the modern homosexualist movement, they downplay or ignore obvious causative factors in the formation of “gay” identity – including pederastic molestation)."
On the flip side of this dangerous view are situations like one playing out in Ecuador where this year over 200 "clinics" were discovered to have been holding lesbians who are raped, tortured, starved and beaten in attempts to make them straight!
The idea that if a man rapes a lesbian women she will be made straight has also been seen in South Africa where the horrific practice of "corrective rape" has been used for just this purpose. Lesbians in the United States and Western Europe also report being raped by men who claim this will change their sexual orientation.
It doesn't, of course, and understanding this is crucial both in helping people heal from sex crimes and also in protecting gay men and lesbians from sexual orientation-driven assaults.
So can a rape change your sexual orientation? No, but it sure can do some serious and lasting harm.