As of Thursday, the NYPD is searching for a man believed to be assaulting Asian women around New York with a plastic bag containing a hard object. According to The New York Times, detectives are looking for Tyrelle D. Shaw, who was named as a suspect after his relatives contacted authorities upon seeing a video of the most recent attacks. Shaw still has not been found.
The incidents, which are being investigated as possible hate crimes, began June 10 and include four attacks in total on women, all Asian, in Chinatown, Murray Hill, and the Upper East Side.
In a blog post published June 17, Shaw claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying he was frustrated and driven to violence after being rejected by "nearly 1,500 Asian Women." "I never wanted to reach the conclusion that Asian Women would never take me serious, because of the color of my skin," he wrote. "In less than 350 days, I talked to nearly 1500 Asian Women and none of them took time out of their day to say hello. I became furious. I never agreed with violence, but I knew the only way I could overcome that sense of rejection — would start by assaulting the Women that carelessly rejected me.” He proceeded to call the assaults "The Nose Game" and concluded the post by writing, "Inform NYPD they could stop searching for me because I’m going to commit suicide." In a second blog entry timestamped on June 7 but posted only yesterday, Shaw explained he was "starting an independent civil war where I will hit over a million Asian Women in the face with a stick" to "change history." According to the office of the Deputy Commissioner for Public Information, the investigation is still ongoing and no arrest has been made. For women concerned about their safety, Gabrielle Rubin, founder of Female Awareness Self Defense, recommends that you stay off your phone and consolidate bags on your less dominant side — so you can use your dominant hand to ward off an attack. "Don't be on your phone, because your focus will be on that and you won't have both your hands to defend yourself," Rubin says. "And treat the sidewalk like your runway. Good posture, confidence, making eye contact; those say a lot and take away the element of surprise that bad guys like. Walk a good pace so you don't look scared or lost, and have a little bit of attitude: 'I'm an important woman, do not mess with me.'" When it comes to interactions on the street, like being catcalled or harassed, Rubin suggests a neutral acknowledgement. "Most people's inclination is to freeze people out, but use your voice, speak up and be in control," she says. "When people ignore, it just fuels the fire. So you can simply confidently say, 'I'm engaged.' Smile and walk away." And while women shouldn't have to address unwanted advances on the street or make excuses to not give out their number, "Sadly, we live in a world where I have a business, because I have to teach women to be safe against these attacks," Rubin says. "We’re not living in a world where someone is making a business teaching men not to do this to women."