As school begins, student orientation at campuses across the country this year involves more than directions to the library and the hours of the fitness center. A full-scale federal assault on sexual assault has begun.
The writing is on the wall: The free-sex culture is being called to task. Canon-law compliant Catholic colleges and universities (those that publicly require the mandatum) are enthusiastically participating. We have known all along what the culture is slowly remembering: Sexuality matters, and sex is not the risk-free fun-land we have been pretending it is.
Not that the federal regulators understand the matter the same way the Church does. This fall’s expansion of Title IX enforcement into sexual harassment seems to be built around the principle that everything goes, as long as there is verbal consent from two people sober enough to make the consent. The Church’s teaching allows a lot less than “everything” and the consent it requires is the “irrevocable consent” of marriage.
All the same, much of the materials promoting the new Title IX rules are messages Catholics can get behind. For instance:
Yes, campuses should encourage women to support one another and yes, a school should ensure that students are assisted in returning to classes without fear of further harassment after sexual abuse.
Many of the materials deal with the Clintonized climate in America in which powerful men can carry on unhindered with those in subordinate positions. Catholics have been cracking down on that in a major way for more than a decade.
What the materials don’t seem to address is the question: Why has the culture become so toxic for women on college campuses in the first place?
Couldn’t it be because the celebration of sexuality has gotten so out of hand it has had a chilling effect on common sense?
Ally Sheedy’s Breakfast Club character was right:
There are two ways out of that trap: Don’t call girls sluts and don’t call girls prudes.
We are finally learning not to do the first. Women are fed up with a situation where they are made responsible for the behavior of their attackers.
And they are right when they say:
It is sad that we live in a culture where this is very important advice that all young women need to hear:
But maybe since this is fact is so true …
… then maybe we should be teaching about the immorality of getting drunk? In Catholic parlance, it is grave matter and, when done deliberately and with knowledge of its gravity is a mortal sin.
And maybe since this is also true:
… then we should stop “prude-shaming” promoters of modesty and sexual restraint.
Because sexuality is not a risk-free fun-land. There once was a very clear way the world got that message out:
We decided that was too heavy handed and rejected that system. So now we have to put this system in place instead: