Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Watching Top Chef, eating Top Ramen
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I think there is more than one answer. On a legal level they should be treated the same. Assault is assualt is assault. Battery is battery. It is illegal. You have to report it to the cops, make an official complaint, then it hits the whole legal system. But it should go the same way regardles of who has been hitting who.
On a societal/ moral level many people make a distinction. This is, I believe, based on a couple of factors. One is that, all other things being equal, an average man is far more dangerous that an average woman. I am talking about the potential to do damage here, not the propensity. Men are stronger. If another woman hits me three or four times as hard as she can it will hurt like hell, for sure but some ice bags and Motrin will probably resolve most or all of the actual damage. If a man hits me three or four times as hard as he can it is highly likely that I will sustain serious injuries and it is possible he could kill me. So, yeah... we tend to take that more seriously. Add to that the history of men using violence to rule the domestic scene with impunity for generations.
And of course the fact is that these societal issue do effect how the law is ultimately applied. If the police come to my house and find my sister and I fighting, knowing that it is unlikely that we will cause grave injuries should we resume thay are likely to calm us down and leave. If two of my brothers are fighting it is probably 50/50.. maybe they will book them, maybe they will cool them off and leave. If my husband and I are fighting they are going to employ their knowledge of physiology and have a greater concern for my well being than his and will be more likely to arrest him than not and far more likely to arrest him than me. They will also be very likely to fall victim to their social prejudices and assume he is the aggressor and I the victim unless there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary.