Child Abuse and Sexuality Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Childhood Sexual Abuse


Claims that homosexuality can be caused by child sexual abuse (CSA) are controversial. These claims have been made by a number of researchers, and have weak links to data that may support them (Brady, 2008). In short, it is very difficult to determine if there is actually a link between CSA and homosexuality. It is important not only to further study whether there is a true link between CSA and homosexuality that goes beyond coincidence, but to also study what can be done to prevent CSA, regardless of whether it has the potential to lead to homosexuality in later life. One of the ways to do this is through policy changes through agencies that typically work with CSA and related issues, such as the Department of Children and Family Services.


The idea that CSA causes homosexuality is not a new one. Much of the argument surrounding this issue comes about because homosexuality is still often considered to be a deviant behavior, just like many of the other behaviors that are engaged in by those who are victims of CSA (Roberts, Glymour, & Koenen, 2013). When these kinds of behaviors arise, and they are classified as something outside of the norm, researchers begin to look for reasons why the behaviors are occurring. That can lead them to finding links that are questionable, and that may not have any degree of accuracy. That begs the following question:

Is there a correlation between a homosexual orientation as an adult and having been sexually abused as a child, and what can be done to establish or discount that link?

After defining homosexuality, considering numerous theories, and deliberating the limitations and biases in the outcomes, the proposed homosexual causation theory of CSA is still quite unclear. There is no actual evidence that CSA causes homosexuality on a wide scale, as there are many people who are homosexual who have never been abused, and many who are not homosexual who have been abused (Hunter, 2011).


Until and unless a link can be proven, there can be no definitive answer as to whether CSA causes homosexuality, or leads to a greater risk of it. As such, it is proposed that Child Protective Services (CPS), as the government agency entrusted with the care of children who are being abused, be charged with the duty of investigating this issue. Since CPS already has a goal of protecting children, it is also proposed that the agency's focus be expanded to that of collecting and tabulating data on CSA and homosexuality, as well as mitigating the chances of the behavior occurring. In other words, stopping CSA before it starts should be the main focus of the agency, not clean-up efforts after something has already occurred. In order to do that, CPS will have to adjust its policies in order to focus more on reports of CSA, as many children fall through the cracks when reports are made but clear evidence is not found right away.

Being able to report to CPS should be easier and less complicated, and investigations into CSA should be carried out more thoroughly, and much more rapidly. With the backlog of cases CPS has, CSA can go on for some time before the investigation into it is really undertaken. Some argue that CPS already has too much "Big Brother" power to investigate people and take away their children, but the protection of children is vital to the continuation of society, and must be a continually considered through legislation and policies that do all they can to ensure that CSA does not happen. In the cases where it is not caught in time, more options for counseling of the victim and rehabilitation of the offender should be available and required, to help people recover from the damage caused.

While other agencies can certainly be used to help in this particular study, CPS should play a leading role in improving epidemiological information about the prevalence of child abuse and the creation of adequate data systems to track the incidence of these cases. Children who have been victims of sexual abuse often suffer from a number of mental health problems, and whether homosexuality falls under that umbrella term is also something that can be argued. In order for children to be better protected, and to have the treatment and counseling options they really need, policies that allow for CPS to have a broader reach and better funding must be offered.


The paper will be organized in the following manner: an introduction to CSA and homosexuality, along with a discussion about the weak but potential link between them, how more information should be gathered and studied, the argument, the counterargument, the rebuttal to that counterargument, and the conclusion that has been reached by the writer of the paper. This will allow for a natural flow of information and a progression through the issue to a logical conclusion.

Presentation of Writer's Position (Arguments)


It is difficult to determine the prevalence of CSA because of a lack of reporting and poor tracking methods that have not been found to be consistent (Katz-Wise & Hyde, 2012). Because of that, there is a real need for criteria to be established that deal with the reporting, collection methodology, and definition of CSA in order to better study cause and effect theories and outcomes. This can be done in a number of ways, including increasing public awareness of the scale, nature, and consequences of CSA, along with facilitating the development and implementation of a comprehensive, coordinated response to CSA, both nationally and locally, which would primarily be conducted through CPS, with expansion to other agencies at a later date. When conducted on a larger scale such as this, there is much more opportunity to show the value in addressing issues with CSA and the potential for homosexuality, along with looking for ways to reduce the number of CSA cases that occur and protect children while rehabilitating offenders.

Additionally, it is vital to keep the value of researching CSA at the forefront of any studies that are conducted, as it is important for prevention and treatment of CSA and its related consequences (Roberts, Glymour, & Koenen, 2013). Education and intervention programs through CPS must also be established to promote improved reporting and victim participation in research, and to contribute to the prevention of CSA. This can help to counteract the effects of victims' experiences, and help them lead fuller lives. Locating and cataloging CSA is not just about helping the victim after the fact, though. Doing this will also help CPS and other agencies find patterns that can allow them to find abuse before it begins and educate the public more easily, so that the number of CSA cases that occur will actually fall. While protecting and helping victims is very important, prevention of CSA in the first place should be the primary goal (Meston, Heiman, & Trapnell, 1999).

Summary of Opposing Views (Counter-Arguments)


There are many opposing views and ideas when it comes to arguing a link between homosexuality and CSA. For example, when it comes to CSA there have been an excessive number of reports made based on weak suspicions that cannot be substantiated by investigators. These reports may be valid, but if there is not enough evidence to substantiate them, the victim will go unnoticed (Hunter, 2011). It has also been argued that there is very little that can be done to protect many of the victims of CSA, prevent the incidence of CSA, or stop the offenders (Brady, 2008). Part of the reason that little can be done is due to the cost of extra funding for research and case studies when agencies like CPS are asked to help. Workers at these agencies also have very heavy caseloads, and can be unwilling to take on more work. Where the money will come from to conduct studies or determine whether CSA is occurring in a higher number of cases and investigations is another question with no fast or easy answer.

Additionally, there is a parallel between CSA and issues such as rape, pornography, and domestic abuse in general. Most of the attention is directed toward the victims of the crime after the fact, and very little attention is paid to the perpetrators, and changing them before the criminal act. Whether people who are going to commit acts of CSA can be changed before that takes place is an argument for another time and place. However, it is clear that treating the after effects of CSA on the victims is what society has focused on in recent years. That focus has not led to lower numbers of CSA cases, but there have definitely been higher numbers of homosexual people making themselves known in the population. Some believe that this is a direct result -- in some cases -- of CSA, and point to a link between it and homosexual tendencies or choices (Roberts, Glymour, & Koenen, 2013).…

Sources Used in Document:


Brady, S. "The Impact of Sexual Abuse on Sexual Identity Formation in Gay Men." Journal Of

Child Sexual Abuse 17.3-4 (2008)

Hunter, Sally V. "Disclosure of Child Sexual Abuse as a Life-Long Process: Implications For

Health Professionals." Australian & New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy 32.2 (2011)

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