Is a Man Ever Justified in Hitting a Woman?


Stephen A. Smith, co-host of ESPN First Take, has been suspended for making, what has been deemed as, impervious comments about the role women take in domestic violence.

During Friday’s airing of First Take, the Baltimore Raven’s running back, Ray Rice’s domestic violence case was being discussed amongst Smith and First Take regulars, when Smith commented that, women often times “provoke” men to act in a violent matter towards them.

Smith’s remarks landed him a one week suspension from First Take and ESPN radio. ESPN posted a statement regarding Smith’s suspension on their website.

“Stephen A. Smith will not appear on the First Take or ESPN radio for the next week.”

Smith has received much criticism for his remarks and has been apologetic for failing to articulate his thoughts effectually. Smith says that he, in no way, meant to imply that women hold any fault to domestic violence.

Meanwhile, on the set of The View, co-host Whoopi Goldberg defends Stephen Smith’s contentious remarks. Goldberg suggests that, “If you hit somebody, you cannot be sure you are not going to get hit back…You have to teach women; do not live with the idea that men have this chivalry thing still with them…so don’t be surprised if you hit a man and he hits you back.”

Critics have been ranting about both Smith and Goldberg’s comments regarding domestic violence, which has resulted in a universal inquiry on whether or not there is ever any justification for a man to hit a woman? If Rihanna initiated physical harm to Chris Brown during the couple’s explosive altercation in 2009, would Brown’s role in the fight then be validated? Or, had Jay-Z hauled off and violently kicked Solange back after her vicious attack against him, would that be admissible?

In my humble opinion, I would concur with Ms. Goldberg. I have had several friends of mine in volatile, physically abusive relationships, who have admitted proudly that they have initiated physical assault towards their significant other, or have provoked a physical altercation. I have always encouraged my female friends to refrain from physically assaulting their mates for several reasons. As a man, when physically threatened, it is a common and natural reaction to fight as opposed to flight.

Natural instincts would cause anyone, male or female, to physically react when being threatened in the same manner. It also takes more discipline to process the notion that a woman is assaulting you and to then desist from reacting physically, as a man. And, no matter how big, bad and bold we may think we are as women, it still stands that in most cases, men have a physical advantage. It is also a concern to me that men, as victims of domestic violence aren’t taken as seriously as women are.

I do not condone domestic violence whether initiated by a male or female however, I do agree with Goldberg that if a woman makes up in her mind to hit a man, she in return, has to be prepared for whatever reaction follows. Now, of course there are matters where men are, by nature physically abusive in which I would encourage ANY woman to leave that type of relationship. I do, however, see Stephen Smith’s point in women sometimes provoking men whether it is by repetitiously questioning his manhood, calling him out of his name, or physically assaulting him. Do I condone hitting a woman? NO! Do I see how a woman can be provocative? Yes!

Stephen Smith has apologized for his seemingly insensitive comments regarding domestic violence, which he considers to be “the most egregious error of his career.” Goldberg on the other hand has held her ground, and has made it very clear that she does not condone domestic violence from the hands of neither male nor female.

What are your views on this topic? Is a man ever justified in hitting a woman?


Kara Warner is an upcoming author, blogger, and educator from Omaha, NE, by way of Hammond, IN. She has placed much emphasis on supporting, and becoming an advocate for women and youth who struggle with self- esteem, image, and perception issues.

In 2009, Kara founded a program entitled, ‘Beauty Is Skin Deep Movement, Inc.” in order to reconstruct the perception and image of women of color in American society. She has conducted classes for the YMCA, Urban League of Nebraska, Middle School Learning Center, and Girls Incorporated of Omaha.

Kara is currently working on a book titled, ” False Feelings Appearing Real”, a compilation of experiences and stories by women who have, throughout their life, struggled with understanding their feelings and are now learning how to cope with them.

Follow Kara @Conquistanoir (IG) Livelifwpurpose (Twitter)


  1. I totally agree… If woman puts her hand on a man or another woman you should be prepared for what happens next. I dont agree with domestic violence.. Yet Im a firm believer. You dont start nothin it wont be nothin. Point blank and that period.

  2. Umm, yeah a man should never hit a woman. And my family won’t care what I did, you are a dead man.

  3. Also, I think there is some racial connotations to this conversation. Trust and believe these men won’t be knocking white women or their non black women upside the head no matter what they have done to them. I think many black folks believe black women are so rough and tough we should be treated like men, anyway.

  4. Tani, I agree with your second post. However, I also believe women should keep their hands to themselves. If you hit ppl they are prone to hitting you back; its human nature. Don’t hit someone if you don’t want to be hit.

  5. As a man I was raised to never hit a woman. I believe now that I am grown and on my own that violence should not happen with either party in a relationship. It’s a double standard for a woman to hit a man and get away with it but a man can’t hit a woman period. So, I believe that as adults whatever we are going through that we should sit down and talk it over. Because if I were to hit a woman I would be thrown in jail, but if a woman were to hit me for no reason they would ask what did I do to deserve it. Therefore a man shouldn’t hit woman and a woman shouldn’t hit a man because you don’t not know what the outcome is going to be if you push the wrong button……bottom line end the violence altogether.

  6. If she has a weapon, he has every right to defend himself with necessary force. Don’t just stand there and get stabbed and killed.

  7. There are so many reality shows of particularly black women disrespecting and humiliating other black women its no wonder guys think it’s okay black or white.

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