Ask Amy: Woman afraid to go out after anti-Asian attacks and harassment

dear amy: My wife and I are both retired Asian American professionals. A few months ago, a homeless man came up to my wife at a famous outdoor market and spat hot coffee in her face.

The person also harassed a Korean tourist and a Lao flower seller.

My wife called the police and they identified the man. He has a history and is mentally unbalanced. He has not been arrested despite his involvement in inappropriate public activities and harassment.

My problem is that now my wife is afraid to go out in public without me. Other Asian women have been attacked at random in our city.

She’s at the point where she worries about me when I’m running errands. Given that we’re just emerging from our Covid caves I need to find a way to make her feel safe without arming her.

Also, I worry that if someone attacks us, I would actually harm that mentally ill person and I would be the one who would be put in jail.

Anonymous: The history of hate crimes against Asian Americans is long and heartbreaking.

Quote from a recent story published by PBS: “There are 22.9 million Asian Americans and 1.6 million Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders throughout US history marked by anti-Asian exclusion, discrimination and prejudice, especially during troubled economies times or during other times of great unrest.”

A recent survey found that up to 1 in 6 Asians have been the target of hate crimes or hate incidents, marking a dramatic increase in attacks as the pandemic has progressed.

I believe the answer – for your safety and well-being – lies in solidarity, activism and empowerment.

The Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act, passed last year, aims to empower communities to fight anti-Asian hate crimes.

The organization Stop AAPI Hate ( has some useful security tips on its website.

The Asian Mental Health Collective has a database of therapists who might work with your wife (

I also suggest reaching out to your local community center and seeing if there are any self-defense classes or other groups your wife could join for community and solidarity. See if a group of women could come to your house to visit to make her feel safer and encourage her to go out in a group.

I also suggest that you do your best to lobby the police and through the media to demonstrate the steps they are taking to help your community.

dear amy: I find myself in a very uncomfortable situation and I want to deal with it with grace, dignity and love. I can’t find the right words to express to people how I’m feeling right now.

Let me try to explain. i’m dying of cancer My family and closest friends know. But my birthday is coming up.

Everyone wants to celebrate this “round” birthday with a party and presents.

I am happy to spend this time with the people I love and care about and to share time with those loved ones, but I am extremely uncomfortable with the gift part of this “celebration”.

I have anywhere from four months to a year (according to my doctor) and would much rather see that money put to good use after I die.

Is there anything I can say to express my gratitude at the thought of gifts without actually receiving them? How can I make sure they know what my desires are without being or sounding ungrateful or just plain rude to these truly wonderful and thoughtful people in my life?

— Grateful, but unnecessary

Thankful: This expression of concern for the feelings of others already makes you handle your burden with ample grace. I admire that.

One way to sidestep the gift issue is to give guests a specific request and small task: “Please do not bring material gifts to this celebration, but if you can, write a paragraph or two about a reminder that we shared. ”

You can also ask people to donate to your favorite charity in your honor.

This will be a lot easier if you have a friend or family member with you.

I wish you the very best.

dear amy: I’ve been seeing the term “gaslight” everywhere lately. What is it about?

Confused: “Gaslighting” refers to a person or entity causing another person to question their own reality. In the most common context seen here, one partner convinces another that their suspicion of cheating (for example) is the result of irrational jealousy.

©2022 by Amy Dickinson, distributed by Tribune Content Agency Ask Amy: Woman afraid to go out after anti-Asian attacks and harassment

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