Women on TikTok who posted videos about being punched in New York City.

Why Are Women Getting Punched In NYC? The Troubling TikTok Videos From New York Women Explained

An alarming pattern of women getting punched in New York City is spreading on TikTok. Somehow, the attacks all sound strangely similar.

Although the stories told by these women have gone viral over the past week, the phenomenon of women getting randomly punched in New York is apparently nothing new. Women like TikTokers @halleykate, @mikaylatoninato, @olivia.brand and @jill_burke are some of many female victims who were just minding their business, looking down at their phones while walking on mostly empty sidewalks.

So, why are women getting punched in NYC? What's going on and where are these attacks happening? Let's explain.

What Are The 'Women Punched In NYC' TikTok Videos?

Last month, a TikToker named @jill_burke posted a video in which she relayed an incident when an unknown male assailant struck her in the face with a bag, which was filled with heavy objects.

A month later (as in this week), a woman named @olivia.brand posted a video describing a similar incident where a man punched her in the face.

@jill_burke be safe out there ladies #nyc #assault ♬ original sound – Jill Burke


I &lt3 nyc

♬ original sound – Olivia Brand

In recent days, two more New York women named @halleykate and @mikaylatoninato posted their own videos, describing similar attacks that they suffered from an unknown, male assailant who punched them in the head. All four videos ultimately formed a pattern, outlining an alarming phenomenon happening on the streets of Manhattan in broad daylight.


♬ original sound – halley

@mikaylatoninato @halley ♬ original sound – mikayla

Where Are Women Getting Punched In NYC?

After the stories went viral online, Twitter / X user @eiffeltyler posted a map that estimated where the women were being punched. The area ranges from Union Square in the north to the top of SoHo in the south. Roughly ten blocks wide, the area spans the campus of New York University (NYU) and Washington Square Park.

Why Are Women Getting Punched In NYC?

The main throughline of the stories is that each woman was distracted while walking in New York. Most of them were looking down at their phone, unaware of what was happening around them.

This isn't to say that they were walking recklessly, not caring about other people's paths. For instance, as stated in @halleykate's update video, she was looking at her phone on a supposedly empty sidewalk when she was attacked. This is something that almost everyone does.


♬ original sound – halley

Per this throughline, one could assume that these assailants were angry about the women being on their phones (seemingly a Boomer on Zoomer crime) and took out their anger in an irrational way.

Another possibility is that the assailants took advantage of the women being distracted, using the opportunity to attack without reason, scratching some sort of sadistic itch. Of course, there's also the possibility that it's a lone assailant who's getting his kicks from sidewalk hit-and-runs.

Women Being Punched In NYC Is Not New

Although all of these viral stories have manifested over the past month (alluding to a lone assailant or an organized group of men), women getting randomly punched while walking in New York is not new. In fact, since these TikToks have gone viral, other women have come out, relaying incidents that occurred years ago.

TikToker @paretay, for example, posted a video after the initial slew, describing an incident that happened to her over a year ago. She too was punched in NYC while looking down at her phone and walking. Other women on X have claimed that they were punched back in the 2010s, seemingly for similar reasons.

@paretay #nyc #storytime #unhinged #fyp ♬ original sound – Taylor Paré

For the full history of the women punched in NYC TikToks, be sure to check out Know Your Meme's entry for even more information.

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