One can scarcely open the newspapers in this enlightened age without reading about some celebrity being charged with sexual misconduct of one form or another. Kobe Bryant, Mike McGreevy, William Kennedy Smith, Charles Barkley, Mike Tyson, Bill Clinton and perhaps tens of thousands of lesser known figures all share in common that they have been charged with sexual crimes. Perhaps things were always thus, but I doubt it.
Until relatively recently there was a wall, porous perhaps, but a wall nonetheless between men and women. The wall consisted of a complex of psychological, social, and moral inhibitions that served to protect young women from being treated by young men as though they were little more than receptacles for male passion. Today the wall is scarcely more than a speed bump.
Our highly sexualized culture has persuaded many young men that women are just as lascivious and willing as they are. Women have been complicit in this by not insisting that men refrain from sexual expression in their presence, by behaving and dressing provocatively, and by eagerly participating in the sexually relaxed atmosphere of the last three decades and the consequent general coarsening of the culture. Whereas women in previous generations strove to give the impression that they were sexually inaccessible absent an enduring matrimonial commitment, whereas they strove to give the impression, however misleading, that sex was not even something they thought about, today's woman tacitly sends the message in dozens of ways that she is indeed sexually available to the any man who knows how to go about claiming the prize. Celebrities young and old, brimming with the swagger of self-confidence, have no doubt in their minds that such women really want to be won by them, and there's no reason they can think of why they shouldn't possess that which one is convinced wants to be possessed.
Modern society has taken the cookie jar down from an inaccessible shelf, placed it directly under the child's nose, and admonished him with a wink not to take any cookies. If the child finds the temptation irresistible the fault is not entirely his.
In a culture saturated with messages about how eager women are to jump into the sack on the first date, a young man who encounters a woman who is not sufficiently compliant draws the reasonable conclusion that his only problem is that he must be insufficiently forceful. She wants to be taken, he assumes, she wants to be given no choice, it's part of the game.
After all, he knows, if only subliminally, that there are few young men who would not succumb to the seductions of a woman who was insistent, persistent, and forceful. This is especially true of young single men, most of whom would fall like ripe fruit into the hands of any reasonably attractive woman intent on bedding him, so why shouldn't he draw the conclusion that women share the same human vulnerability and yearning? He's heard from feminists and social commentators ever since he was young that in terms of their sexual needs men and women are pretty much the same. Isn't that the message of Sex in the City and countless movies, novels, music videos, and songs?
He's genuinely surprised when the charges are filed to realize that she didn't welcome his advances after all. He'd been totally unprepared by the environment in which he grew up for the possibility that one or two of the cookies in the jar might really be forbidden.
Sexual assault will not soon abate in a culture which treats sex as little more than a form of recreation or as just another appetite to be satisfied no matter how draconian the laws against it might become. Nor will it abate in a relativistic culture which can offer no moral sanction against it. Nor will it subside in a politically correct culture which insists upon throwing young men and women in the midst of hormonal frenzy into close contact with each other in school, in the military, or on the job as if sex were the furthest thing from their minds when in fact it's almost all they're thinking about. Sexual offenses will only diminish when sex is returned to the status of a sacred prerogative of the marriage union and when society rebuilds the wall by teaching young men from childhood on that sex has a moral dimension no matter what confusing and contradictory messages our culture might convey.
Sex needs to be seen as an enjoyment reserved for the culmination of a long period of courtship and commitment. Apart from that commitment it is a distortion and violation of the will of God. Apart from that commitment women will be increasingly victimized by young men who have never been given any serious reason to restrain and discipline their libido.