Waiting For The Invitation That Never Comes
It’s taken me a long time to have the energy to write this blog post about the rising hate crimes towards Asian women in Western cities. I kept waiting for the invitation from friends or colleagues or acquaintances to check-in on how this felt for me and for others in the Asian women community. We don’t bring it up without an invitation because we are taught growing up to never inconvenience others with our burdens.
But the invitation never comes. I don’t blame anyone personally for this. The media has barely covered the news about two brutal killings that happened within less than a month from each other in New York. Elected officials aren’t really incentivized to help us because it’s not a popular enough issue to stick their name onto. And we Asians do what we do best: we swallow our grief and keep these conversations in our closed circles.
But the invitation will never come if people don’t know it’s even happening. So I’m choosing to express how I feel with the hopes that it spreads some insight into what it’s like to be in an Asian woman’s shoes these days.
68% of Asian hate crime victims reported to Stop AAPI Hate in the last year were women. Christina Yuna Lee, a Korean-American woman, was 35 years old when she was recently brutally killed. She was stabbed 40 times in her own home by a man who silently followed her up 6 flights of stairs to her apartment. My sister happened to be walking home alone the same night in New York. She just happened to not be followed that particular night. Now, she stops wearing Air Pods when she walks in the dark and is vigilant about the routes she takes. She is not alone. Many women in cities like New York are protesting, asking for more protection, and voicing their need to feel safe. We wonder when people will hear us when we say “Nowhere feels safe”.
Something I haven’t told a lot of people is that I don’t feel safe walking alone in these times. I’ve been carrying this in silence and recently started asking friends to walk me to my destination in a deserted part of Amsterdam, as I had recently had a bad experience on a train. In the midst of this, I’ve asked myself how I can invite others to help me more, realizing there are actually many people who would say yes. Because a lack of safety is too heavy for us to carry alone.
What can you do to help? It’s all about small steps and actions that demonstrate your support.
👉🏼 Check-in on your Asian female friends and colleagues with genuine compassion and curiosity. Listen to them and ask them how you can help.
Thank you for your empathy and curiosity in reading this today.