In just the past week, I’ve seen many different people all describe how their spouses and partners spy on them (and by spying, I mean, doing so against their will by reading cell phones, by reading emails, by snooping through personal stuff, etc.)

In each case – every single one – the spouse violates their privacy, and then attempts to punish them for alleged transgressions.

Also in each and every case – without exception – the privacy violation is excused away with one or more variation of “Oh, well, I guess it’s okay.”

When did stalkers’ possessive horseshit like this become “okay”…?

Spyware use in domestic violence ‘escalating’

I think there are two things happening, here (though maybe more than two):

First, it’s worth noting that the best scams are scams where the mark (the victim) is manipulated into thinking that they are partially or fully culpable. Victims of scams such as these will actually work to help protect the scammer. Even when showed a rap sheet a mile long (1.6 km long, for the civilized world), they still believe that they are some kind of exception, that the emotional manipulation used against them by the scammer is real because they feel it, and therefore factual. This whole idea that if emotions are felt, then they must reflect a real thing seems tremendously problematic to me – if for no other reason than it means anyone with sufficient guile to manipulate emotions can pretty much be given a free pass to abuse anyone they can reach.

Second is the misguided notion that the means are justified by the ends, and that principles (such as a right to autonomy and a right to privacy) are only principles when they are convenient. A thing I have often heard is that the only reason people insist they have principles is so that they can get closer to your back with that knife. From a more mathy-flavored viewpoint, I think of it this way: there exists a direct correlation between the vociferousness of a person’s “principles” claim and their willingness to discard those “principles” when they can benefit from doing so. So, the notion that violating a principle of trust is some big thing that requires massive justification to achieve is just crap. It’s simply snooping and controlling and manipulating someone. The tool used to justify this violation of trust and privacy is basically “Well, if I can find something, then I can call it justified.” That’s just – as I mentioned earlier – horseshit.

I think it’s about time we stopped treating people as if they don’t always deserve privacy and respect. And by people, in this instance I’m specifically referring to women.* Marriage (and other relationships of that ilk) are not a license to control or intimidate someone. That shit is never justified. There’s a reason [good and decent and law-abiding] cops can’t do it unless they get a court order. Under no circumstances does “being married” remove rights that are already extant by Federal law.

I think it’s about time we stopped pretending that violations of trust perpetrated by an alleged “loved one” is anything less than a firing offense. The world is filled with people who have been permanently hurt who sincerely honestly truthfully believed “Oh, I’m sure it won’t happen again.”

I think it’s about time we stopped pretending that “jealousy” is somehow a free pass to be an asshole. It’s not. I can tell you with 100% veracity that I can feel jealous and not be a dick to a partner. If I can do it, anyone can do it. No excuse.

 


 

* Men already have these social protections, so don’t even bother claiming otherwise. If a man tells his buddies “She went through my phone!” he and his buddies all will agree “Jesus, what a violation of your privacy, dude!”