Part Four- Women’s History Series: History of Violence Against Asian Women in the U.S.

People in Acworth, Ga., grieve outside Young's Asian Massage March 17, 2021, following a deadly shooting. Robert Aaron Long of Woodstock, Ga., was charged that same day for killing eight people at three Atlanta-area spas March 16. Six of the eight were women of Asian descent, but Long told police his motive was not racial bias. (CNS photo/Shannon Stapleton, Reuters)

Dr. David Childs, Ph.D.
Northern Kentucky University

Lijing Zhao, owner of Jo Jos Massage, places a bouquet of flowers outside the spa where four people were shot and killed in Acworth, Georgia, on 17 March. Photograph: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

“The women in Georgia were subject to a very specific kind of racialized gender-based violence on the fact that they are not only Asian, but they’re also women. And that’s seen really clearly by the perceptions around them and the conversations that are happening around them and the way that their killer talks about it, right? If they were not Asian women, they probably wouldn’t be viewed as sexual objects of desire, and they wouldn’t be automatically assumed to be sex workers. And then on top of that, these women, if they were immigrants, this comes into play. And then the way that they’re viewed as well. There’s a hatred for both sex workers and immigrants and being Asian and being women, and they all intersect, and it would be irresponsible to not talk about all of those parts.”
-NPR Article (2021)

It is my job as a historian to bring attention to histories nationally and internationally, even if said history is unpleasant. Indeed, historians should not privilege happy, feel good stories and patriotic nostalgia, in order to make people not feel bad. It is in that spirit that we want to add some historical context to the recent killings in Atlanta, Georgia specificaly perpetrated against the Asian American community. A good place to start is the NPR article entitled The Long History Of Sexual And Physical Violence Asian Women Face In The U.S.

Please also check out Talawanda High School student author Michelle Miao’s article here on our Democracy and Me site entitled Anti-Asian Violence: Facing the Ugly History of Our Beautiful Kingdom. Her article takes an in-depth look at violence against Asians in general.

Here are some other articles, resources and lesson plans that can get us up to speed on the history of violence against Asian American Women and the recent Atlanta Shootings.   

History of Violence Against Asian Women
US has a long history of violence against Asian women
Even if the anti-Asian American violence in the US is not a hate crime, there is racism behind it
The Motives Behind Anti-Asian American Violence
There were 3,800 anti-Asian racist incidents, mostly against women, in past year

Articles on 2021 Asian Atlanta Spa Shootings
8 Dead in Atlanta Spa Shootings, With Fears of Anti-Asian Bias
Atlanta shooting: Biden condemns anti-Asian racism
A hate crime? Georgia attacks that killed mostly Asian women raise questions of bias, motive
Suspect charged with eight counts of murder in killings at Atlanta-area spas, authorities say

Lesson Plans on Anti-racism
Anti-Racism: A compilation of teacher resources for learning and teaching about racism and anti-racism
9 Resources for Teaching Anti-Racism
Anti-Racist Lesson Plan- Teaching Tolerance 
Social Justice & Anti‑Racist Educator Resources
Anti-Racism Resources
15 Classroom Resources for Discussing Racism, Policing, and Protest


  1. This is a great article to shed light on what happened in GA with the Asian women and how it became domino-effect of hate crimes. I think it is great that there are resources available and many articles to add knowledge to the situations and how they can be deescalated.

  2. It is crazy the neglect that people give to another because the color of their skin. There is a lot of hate that goes on in the world and we could find that out from the Asian problem that happened in Georgia. It sucks that people don’t see eye to eye and people can’t give another person respect.

  3. History should be taught as it occurred and not by how unpleasant it could make someone feel. The perspective of history as a harmonic pleasant event ignores the conversations that need to occur to create equality amongst different genders and culture.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.