I finally got around to watching South Park’s “Safe Space” and “Stunning and Brave.” I cannot say I was impressed or surprised by anything I saw. South Park has always supported the idea that men are entitled to be abusers in the name of defying “political correctness.” South Park has not discussed the other side to this issue, which would be that people have a right to not be abused. In particular, the episode “Safe Spaces” could be used as an example of men’s entitlement to violate boundaries, as it disrespects people’s right to their own space without being abused. Reality is personified as a white man who shoves his beliefs and viewpoint in everyone’s collective face without asking if they cared to hear about it in the first place. The problem is obvious: Men feel entitled to violate people’s boundaries, which results in rape, harassment, battery, theft, murder, and other criminal acts.
If institutional oppression at it’s very core is abuse, then violence at it’s core is a violation of boundaries and personal space. All violent crimes start with a man entering someone else’s personal space and it all escalates from there. There are many ways behavior can be violating absent unwanted physical or verbal contact. Aggressive behavior such as someone standing one inch from you, prolonged eye contact, or displaying themselves sexually without your consent can produce feelings of intimidation, anxiety, and fight-flight-freeze responses. People will say that aggression and violence are different, but both aggressive and violent behavior is used to force someone into a submissive or subordinate position, and compromising another person’s ability to function as a free human being. These behaviors are used to intimidate, dominate, conquer, and control.
Oppression keeps happening because less harmful abuses aren’t taken as seriously as life threatening abuses. Verbal and psychological abuse matters, because it often precludes physical and sexual abuse. Women in particular experience the “boiling frog” situation because small violations against us are not taken seriously, but eventually escalate in intensity and culminate into a deadly situation where our very lives are in danger. Abusers rarely stay mildly abusive and tend to test their victims and chip away at their boundaries to progress to more intense levels of aggression and attacks.
It doesn’t cost anyone anything to simply stop staring at other people, verbally abusing others, doxxing, threatening, hitting, raping, murdering, or manspreading (ect). These behaviors are unnecessary, unhealthy, and detrimental to our social fabric. Oddly, it doesn’t seem to cross the minds of most activists that laws against trespassing, harassment, rape, and battery are on the books for a reason. That reason being, that nobody has a right to be in contact with another person without their expressed permission. These laws encompass variable situations, however, for the most part they are meant to protect people from non-consensual contact. No, you don’t have a right to communicate with someone else without their consent. To do so is harassment. No, you don’t have a right to sexual contact with someone else without consent. To do so is sexual assault. No, you don’t have a right to touch another person without their consent. To do so is battery. No, you don’t have a right to occupy a space someone else has legally established for themselves without consent. To do so is trespassing. If someone – whoever they are – does not respect the law, or the basic personal rights of people established by the law, then they do not understand what human rights are.
Unfortunately, men would rather rally around the rights of other men than to rally around the principle of non-violation which would benefit everyone. If they cannot somehow put aside their male preference and male privilege, the least they can do is acknowledge that men are the ones who hold political power, and male violence is the cause of both violent crime and social unrest. Since most social justice movements are about saving men from other men’s violence, this shouldn’t be an issue. Right? So name the problem already.