The word intimacy is a loaded term in our society. It is used as a good word and a bad word. For example, persons who condemn sex before marriage condemn the premature intimacy of young couples. Yet the hippy liberal types loudly proclaim that intimacy sets us free and allows individuals to understand themselves and others in a deeper way. Regardless of your own views on intimacy, one aspect of it is often neglected, which is the fact that intimacy implies far more than sex. Intimacy is the making vulnerable of one person to another in a setting of trust and care. Intimacy is the moment when we are weakest, and we ask an individual if they will accept us regardless of our faults. Intimacy is the moment of truth. It is the moment when our flawed and broken humanity is displayed with the possibility of rejection. Intimacy is brave.
I often make claims about moral rightness and wrongness of actions without thoroughly considering what I am saying. I have a moral code that dictates my actions, and yet I cannot actually make a reasonable case for moral rules. Intellectually, I am a moral relativist. Intuitively, I am an absolutist in my moral maxims.
The reason I bring up my own moral maxims in accordance with this discussion on intimacy is that I have discovered a moral maxim with which my reason agrees. The violation of an individual’s trust in regards to their intimacy is a heinous moral crime. I do not use the word crime lightly. It is a crime, because it attacks humans at their weakest. It is a betrayal, and I would even use the word treason. I see these violations everyday. Husbands beating wives, breaking chairs over their backs, stabbing their arms. And the wife still refuses to violate the intimacy of her husband. People lie to law enforcement to protect the very criminal who rejected their humanity as revealed through sessions of intimacy. A man or woman bears his or her humanity, and the domestic violence which follows is an absolute disregard for the dignity of that human.
Receiving the intimacy of another person is a precious and life-giving gift. It is are absolute moral duty to humanity and to that person to engage and protect their humanity. Violence is wrong, not simply for the pain it causes, but because it violates the moral maxim to value intimacy with others as sacred. This is nothing to be morally relative about.