In the wake of another mass murder that has shocked and rocked our nation, we find ourselves once again engaged in a debate we never should have to have: Was the killing of 8 people at three different massage parlors in the Atlanta area a hate crime?
We’ve learned that seven of the victims were women and six of those women were Asian. We know that six of the women worked at the spas and one woman was a first time customer. And these facts are considered to be crucial in determining if a hate crime was committed.
Georgia, where the murders occurred, only recently passed the state’s first hate crime bill and some are eager to make this mass murder their first test case. What constitutes a hate crime for the state of Georgia? Many consider the definition to be broadly based as it includes race, gender, religion and national origin.
In this instance, both race and gender would apply. According to the statute, and many others like it, if someone is killed because of their race, or killed because of their gender, that constitutes a hate crime.
But in all the discussion and debates as to whether or not what happened in Georgia is a hate crime, there is something you will never hear from any journalist, member of law enforcement or legislator — and that is that murdering sex workers for being sex workers is also a hate crime.
Why? Because to this day there are NO laws defining the murder of sex workers, because they are sex workers, as a hate crime.
In this moment we all know a hate crime was committed. We can feel it in our churning guts and in our breaking hearts.
It is possible that race and gender were motivating factors in the mind of the murderer. And this senseless slaughter of Asian women has brought to the surface, the crucial issue of Asian hate crimes that are on the rise in the US. As a nation, we MUST address Asian hate crimes now.
And, for me at least, it is incredibly painful to witness a narrative that ignores the fact that this particular mass shooting, while possibly motivated by race, was absolutely a hate crime against women and women who, if not actual sex workers, were perceived to be sex workers by the murderer.