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Nearly two-thirds of anti-Asian hate incidents reported by women, new data shows

Anti-Asian incidents top 6,000 since start of pandemic
Anti-Asian incidents top 6,000 since start of pandemic 01:52

Women reported nearly 65% of anti-Asian hate incidents nationally between March 2020 and March 2021, according to data released Thursday by a national advocacy coalition. Stop AAPI Hate reported a total of 6, 603 hate incidents, a broad term that can include hate crimes such as physical assaults but also incorporates verbal and online harassment, shunning, and civil rights violations.

The data relies on incidents self-reported by victims and bystanders via the group's online web portal. Official hate crime, data which is collected by the FBI based on voluntary reporting from law enforcement agencies, has not yet been released for 2020. 

But data collected by Stop AAPI Hate and others, including the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino,  has shown that incidents targeting the Asian-American community are continuing to spike in 2021 after racist stereotypes linked to the COVID-19 pandemic first fueled an uptick in 2020. The national news media has highlighted a recent spate of violent attacks on Asian-Americans, and investigators in Georgia have said they are taking a "hard look" at the motivations of a White shooter who killed six Asian-American women and two other people at three Atlanta-area spas in March. 

Prosecutors have not said whether they intend to seek enhanced penalties under the state's new hate crime statute, but many in the Asian-American community believe the victims were targeted because of their race and gender. Advocates say Asian-American women struggle with both racism and sexism in a culture that often hypersexualizes and objectifies them. Women reported 64.8% of the incidents reported to Stop AAPI Hate, while men reported 29.8%. The remainder of the respondents identified as gender non-binary or did not specify their gender.

Sociologist on America's history of hypersexualizing Asian women 11:20

"It is impossible to ignore the history of misogyny and sexualized violence that has long been part of the experience of Asian American women. A disproportionate number (64.8%) of incidents reported to Stop AAPI Hate were reported by women," said Cynthia Choi, co-founder of Stop AAPI Hate and co-executive director of Chinese for Affirmative Action, in a statement to CBS News. "In many of the incidents, women described being sexually harassed and facing racism simultaneously — showcasing how COVID-19 is being weaponized as part of sexual harassment." 

Choi said the connections between racism and misogyny, and the recent attacks including the fatal shootings at the Georgia spas, are "resonating with AAPI women across the country right now and bringing up painful experiences."

The coalition says a recent increase in reporting coincides with national media attention and increased awareness of the online reporting tool. In March 2021, Stop AAPI Hate saw a steep uptick in online reports of hate incidents that took place in 2021 and 2020, with total incidents rising from 3,795 to 6,603.

"Racism against Asian Americans is systemic and longstanding," said Russell Jeung, Stop AAPI Hate co-founder and professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University. "The more we draw attention to anti-Asian hate, the more Asian Americans know they have a place to report what they're experiencing, and the more we can demonstrate the extent of the problem and advocate for meaningful solutions." 

Of the total incidents from March 2020 to March 2021, 65.2% were reports of verbal harassment, 18.1% were reports of shunning or deliberate avoidance, 12.6% were reports of physical assaults, 8.5% were reports of being coughed at or spat on and 7.3% were reports of online harassment.

5.5% involved of the reported incidents workplace discrimination, 3.5% involved being barred from an establishment, 3.4% involved vandalism or graffiti and 1.3 % involved bring barred from transportation. 

Physical assaults increased from 10.2% of the total hate incidents in 2020 to 16.7% in 2021. Online hate incidents also increased from 5.6% of total incidents in 2020 to 10.2% in 2021. 

Most of the incidents took place at a business — 32.2% — or on a public street or sidewalk, 29.4%.

Choi said she wants to see more investment in community-based groups who respond to discrimination and a public safety system that focuses on supporting survivors of violence and preventing further violence. The impacts of hate on Asian-American women must be considered as a part of any response, she said.

"Any proposed solutions to combat the rise in hate that our community is facing must address the intersectional hate Asian American women are experiencing," Choi said.

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