The Long History of Violence Against Asian Women
Original Air Date: May 5, 2022
On February 13th, Christina Yuna Lee was stabbed to death in her own apartment in the Chinatown neighborhood of New York City. A college graduate and creative, digital producer Christina was just 35-years-old when a man she did not know followed her to her home, pushed his way into her apartment, and took her life with stunning brutality.
This unthinkable violence against Christina came just weeks after the shocking killing of Michelle Go. Just 40 years old, Michelle was waiting on the platform in the Times Square subway station when a man pushed her in front of an oncoming train.
The deadly crimes against these two Asian-American women occurred in New York, but the reverberations were felt across the nation. After Michelle’s death, Russell Jeung, a co-founder of STOP AAPI HATE, spoke with FOX 2 in San Francisco and said, "I think in our community a lot of people are one degree of separation from knowing someone who has been attacked or assaulted."
From March 2020 to December 2021, the advocacy coalition Stop AAPI Hate received nearly 11,000 reports of hate incidents against Asian American and Pacific Islanders. It’s no wonder that many in Asian-American communities are feeling the grief and fear of living just “one degree of separation” from violence.
In her Nation article, "Sex, Death, and Empire: The Roots of Violence Against Asian Women," Panthea Lee, an ethnographer, activist, and writer, interrogates a long history of sexualized and gendered violence against Asian women. She finds the roots of contemporary anti-Asian hate are far deeper than Covid-era rhetoric.
And when Panthea found a 38-second video from the summer of 2020 in her own iPhone, she discovered she was less than one degree removed from Christina Yuna Lee, whose startling murder in February rocked New York’s Chinatown.