DEAR ABBY: I'm a 53-year-old man who, thanks to child abuse from his stepfather, is very confused and hurt today because of what he did. I don't know whether I am gay or straight. (I have several children.)
I never said anything about the sexual abuse he put me through because my mother was a violent person, and she needed him so much I knew she'd never believe me. The abuse didn't stop with just him. My three stepbrothers abused me as well.
My real brother shot and killed himself at age 35 because of my abusive mother and stepfather. I have two sisters who have nothing to do with me because of "rumors" about my past and present. I now have a great doctor, and hope to soon find a good therapist.
My question to you is, am I gay because I didn't fight back and tell my stepfather no? -- SCARRED IN NEW YORK
DEAR SCARRED: When an adult, particularly a parent, abuses a child, it is NEVER the child's fault. An adult is an authority figure and physically more powerful. Not fighting back was your way of surviving the sexual assaults; it does not mean that you are homosexual. A therapist will help you to understand this, and I hope you find one soon.