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You are here: Home > Forum > A Place of Safety > General Talk > "I'm gay because I was raped"
"I'm gay because I was raped"  [message #67271] Sat, 29 December 2012 11:53 Go to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
Registered: February 2003
Messages: 13518



Ok, that is a simplistic headline. It was for effect.

Even so, I've met a number of boys who are gay, have been raped, and seem, somehow, to link the two events together.

What I want to do is pose that set of thoughts to you and get your input.



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: "I'm gay because I was raped"  [message #67272 is a reply to message #67271] Sat, 29 December 2012 13:43 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Kitzyma is currently offline  Kitzyma   United Kingdom

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Registered: March 2012
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Personally, I can't think of any mechanism or logic that would support the bald 'headline' assertion. However, in order to apply any logic to this, some terms of reference need to be defined.

How exactly do these boys define themselves as 'gay'? i.e. is it attraction to males or just a desire/need for homosexual activity?

Did the rape take place before or after puberty? Were they old enough to feel or recognise sexual attraction before they were raped? If so, was that pre-rape attraction exclusively to males or were they to some extent bisexual?

Do they desire sex with females but feel that for some reason being raped has prevented them from being able to carry out that desire?

Am I correct in assuming that the use of the word 'rape' in this case implies some degree of force or coercion and is not used in the 'statutory rape' sense of the boy being below the legal age of consent when he had voluntary sex? The psychological effect of forced/coerced sex would be different from underage voluntary sex.

All the evidence I've heard about indicates that although environment and experience can affect sexual activity, it cannot affect basic sexuality. e.g. these so-called 'gay cures'  cannot affect basic sexuality but can maybe alter sexual behaviour. Thus my opinion is that the experience of being raped is highly unlikely to alter a boy's basic sexuality.

If being raped didn't alter basic sexuality, could it have altered the type of sexual activity that the boy later desired? As far as I know, our basic instincts are to avoid unpleasant or painful experiences. It is more likely that our subconscious will push us away from situations that were previously found to be unpleasant than it is to push us toward such situations. Aren't heterosexual female rape victims often put off heterosexual sex?

So, it seems unlikely for me that the unpleasant experience of being raped would turn a basically heterosexual boy into a basically gay boy. It seems just as unlikely that such an unpleasant experience would alter the sexual behaviour of a basically straight boy in such a way that he'd develop a 'taste' for gay sex.

Kit
defining terms  [message #67273 is a reply to message #67272] Sat, 29 December 2012 14:09 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
Registered: February 2003
Messages: 13518



Quote:
Kitzyma wrote on Sat, 29 December 2012 13:43
Am I correct in assuming that the use of the word 'rape' in this case implies some degree of force or coercion and is not used in the 'statutory rape' sense of the boy being below the legal age of consent when he had voluntary sex? 

100% correct. I mean force or coercion leading to a sexual act in which the victim was an unwilling participant.



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: defining terms  [message #67274 is a reply to message #67273] Sat, 29 December 2012 17:25 Go to previous messageGo to next message
NW is currently offline  NW   United Kingdom

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Location: Worcester, England
Registered: January 2005
Messages: 1531



I think it far more likely that in fact they were raped because they were gay. 

This is in NO sense to "blame the victim" - I'm not remotely suggesting that they invited rape in any way. Rape and coercion is ALWAYS wrong, and " 'NO' means 'NO!' "

However, I do think that gay (or, perhaps more accurately, proto-gay) kids do often have body language that others pick up on (ie, that it underlies what we know as "gaydar"). That, I suspect, leads potential abusers to be able to lie to themselves, rationalising their actions (perhaps subconsciously) by thinking "he'll probably enjoy it really", or "he's asking for it". Because many abusers were themselves victims of abuse in childhood, they may even have a vested interest in legitimising such conduct.

In retrospect, it's clear to me that part of my own attraction to the person who groomed me was that I was clearly gay - even if I myself was only partly and intermittently aware of it at the time. But this does NOT make me in any way complicit or responsible - and nor would it make anyone who suffered more traumatic experiences in any way to blame.



"The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. ... Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night devoid of stars." Martin Luther King
Re: defining terms  [message #67276 is a reply to message #67274] Tue, 01 January 2013 18:12 Go to previous message
saben is currently offline  saben   Japan

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Registered: May 2003
Messages: 1537



I think some potential links that people could make (but I in no way intend that these links are clear, definite or scientifically grounded) might include:
  • the victim may think that enjoying the rape means something about their sexuality, or it may have revealed something about their sexuality.
  • the victim may also feel emasculated in some way and like they aren't a "real man" on some kind of subconscious or conscious level. This could feed into ideas about what that means for themselves as a person. The emasculation could occur on numerous levels from "I was the passive recipient in sex" to "I let this happen/ couldn't stop it from happening". There is some link between gender roles and sexuality that we internalise and are bombarded with by media. I think feelings of emasculation could leave to self-questioning about sexuality.

I think that "gay" is not a sexuality, it's a label and an identity. "I'm gay because I was raped" can mean "after being raped I started associating the label gay with myself". I don't think that sexuality is like flicking a light switch so I doubt you could go from 100% desiring girls to 100% desiring guys as a result of a single traumatic experience. But I'm not in the "100% born this way" camp either. I think lots of chemicals, genes and experiences can affect sexual attitudes. There may be things through my life that cause me to have a fetish for feet, or to desire older partners, or to prefer people of a particular race. So I think a homosexual experience, even a traumatic one, could sculpt sexuality in a certain way.

For me, I feel that one of the reasons I identify as exclusively gay is because my first homosexual experience was affirming and my first heterosexual experience was disaffirming. If the reverse had been true I think I'd probably still have a high disposition towards males, but I might consider myself a 70% gay bisexual or something. I'm not sure, it's impossible to say, but I can at least imagine a set of experiences where I would be more open to the idea of heterosexual activity.

I'm fortunate enough to never have been sexually assaulted, though. So my ideas are mere conjecture and speculation.
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