Subway slap fight: Is it ever OK to hit a woman?

Danay Howard
Danay Howard

Social media has been flooded with comments and observations regarding the YouTube video “Man smacks the soul out of girl.” The video shows a wild fight that occurred on a New York subway train. What has caused the controversy is whether Jorge Pena, 25, was justified in slapping the crap out of Danay Howard, 21, during the incident.

Pena, who stands 6-foot-6, is from the Dominican Republic and once played pro baseball until an injury forced him out of the game. Howard is a diminutive black female who verbally and physically assaulted Pena unprovoked. During the incident her three female friends, who also were physically aggressive toward another passenger on the train, are cheering Howard on. All can see that Howard is definitely the aggressor in the assault and therein lies the controversy. Comments from social media have stated that Pena acted in self-defense. In fact, the New York District Attorney’s Office agreed and all assault charges were dropped against Pena.  Surprisingly, a large number of female viewers of the video have posted comments stating that Howard deserved to be slapped.


There are so many examples today of young women, especially young black women, engaging in behavior that is overly aggressive. It seems that they are unaware of the consequences of challenging a complete stranger to a physical confrontation. However, sometimes it does not even have to be a complete stranger. This past year rapper Jay Z was involved in a physical confrontation with his sister-in-law Solange Knowles that was also captured on camera. During the confrontation, Jay Z did not strike back but allowed himself to be assaulted by Knowles. Therefore, we have the two extremes, hit back or allow yourself to be physically assaulted by a woman? Because of the portrayal of the black male in modern media, he is faced with increased stigma if he strikes a “black queen.” However, the opposite is not true. Many young black women will “get in a man’s face” and become equally aggressive as any man. It’s a taboo subject in the black community.

So the question remains “Is it ever OK to hit a woman, especially a black woman”?


The full video of the fight can be seen below:

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