--- - |2 Abstract We examine the role of a norm protecting women in understanding third‐party partisanship in verbal and violent disputes. Our analyses are based on reports provided by male inmates and men they know who have never been arrested. The results show that third parties are more likely to support female adversaries than male adversaries. The gender effect is stronger when we control for the relational distance between adversaries, which indicates that a privacy norm might inhibit this normative protection. The gender effect is somewhat weaker when we control for the relative physical size of the adversaries, which indicates that a general norm protecting vulnerable people partly explains the gender effect. The strong gender effect that remains, however, demonstrates the importance of the normative protection of women, regardless of relative size, during disputes. The results have implications for research on situational factors in violence and violence against women. - 'Criminology, EarlyView. '