How can the obvious link between an increasingly sexualised society and the rise in sexual assaults be ignored?
On the same day as the Office of the Children’s Commissioner for England reported the “appalling reality” of sexual violence committed by young people, the Lancet published its National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles survey, or Natsal showing increasing liberal attitudes to sex in Britain.
In the forward to the former report Deputy Children’s Commissioner Sue Berelowitz wrote, “We have found shocking and profoundly distressing evidence of sexual assault, including rape, being carried out by young people against other children and young people.” It warned that the problem was prevalent in every area of England, and was not restricted just to low-income, inner-city neighbourhoods but “in every type of neighbourhood, rural, urban, deprived, not deprived”.
The Lancet surveys meanwhile found more people having more sexual partners, at a younger age, with women catching up to men in the number of partners they have during their life. There has also been an increase in societal acceptance and practice of same-sex activity, though the numbers remain small as a proportion of the population, and one in 10 women reported being coerced to into sex without consent.
While opinion columns commented on both reports few if any drew a link between the two. Indeed, the Lancet survey was reported mainly positively with one commentator in the Evening Standard considering it as a “cause for optimism”.
Muslims will find both reports shockingly worrying and will question how the obvious link between an increasingly sexualised society and the rise in sexual assaults be so easily ignored or dismissed. Is it not because at root of the issue are supposedly unquestionable liberal values of individualism, personal freedom, and freedom of expression. Year after year these unconstrained values push the boundaries of socially acceptable behaviours, creating increasingly decadent life styles on the one hand and on the other crossing the divide between right and wrong so even the limits of criminality become blurred.
The often cited causes of pornography, music and media are themselves the product of liberal values so while clearly aggravating the situation they are not the underlying causes. Meanwhile, the fact these issues cut across income and social class divides means that education alone will not fundamentally address these problems. So if Muslims are to have a purpose for living in the west than surely it must be question the unquestionable when it disagrees with Islam as a means of dawa.
And do not mix the truth with falsehood or conceal the truth while you know [it] [2:42]