(Everyone's writing about it, so why not me?)
I have little doubt that this has been turned into a public matter because Assange has embarrassed powerful people--people whose own lives and affairs do not bear close scrutiny. Whatever Assange and his sexual partners did, they did. It is for them and the courts to deal with, not a planet-full of busybodies.
The published stories change day by day. I wonder if even Assange and his partners know what happened any more: memory is malleable, and never moreso when a story is told over and over, in many different versions. Another account, from Reuters
Much of the discussion I have seen says more about the participants than about Assange. To those excusing rape: "no" means "no" and "stop" means "stop." To those who want to pursue assassination: that's illegal, and for good reason.