There is a tendency to judge the actions of those with the least amount of power the same as those with more power and then ask, “Isn’t that what equality means?” It’s a clever rhetorical evasion of the issue. Equality is the goal, but to pretend that we actually exist as equals right now is to ignore reality. Like it or not, we all carry history with us in our personal interactions. The history of violence against women is one where women’s bodies are a battleground in a struggle for power. Punches, kicks, weapons, and the threat of death have been used to assert dominance and deny women autonomy, at home and out in the rest of the world.
That’s why it’s not a matter of it being wrong for a man to hit a woman because he may be physically stronger than her. It’s not about women being delicate. That line of thinking is standing on the right side of the issue for the wrong reasons. It reinforces patriarchal thinking about a man’s duty being protection.
No, violence against women is a scourge because it establishes a hierarchy of power. It is a means of ensuring submission. It assures the persistence of inequality through terror.