Yeah, I know Asuka felt stuff. But most of that stuff still didn't actually happen to her.
If I hypnotize you into feeling like I stuck my finger up your pooper, the point is moot as to whether or not it happened to you-- while the reality may have been different from what happened inside your head, you know very well the sensations you experienced. But let's give a less mystical example (I am
a hypnotist, but...) In episode one, Shinji synched with his Evangelion and felt his arm was being torn off. Presumably, if the visual cues are to be taken seriously, he also felt Sachiel's light spear go through his head. Did it happen to him in reality? No, it didn't... but that does not in any way discount that he felt the sensation of having his bloody arm ripped off.
Let's break it down even more. When somebody slaps you across the face, you feel the slap because someone's hand came into contact with your face, which stimulates the nerves, there, which sends signals to your brain and lets you process that you were slapped in the face. When you're in an Evangelion, all you do is change the first step to what happens to your Evangelion. Eva gets punched in the face, your nerves are stimulated, and it tells your brain, "Heyo, I've been punched in the face! Feel pain!"
Your argument's dismissal of the signals Asuka's brain is sending by saying, "Yeah, Asuka felt stuff" ignores that when your nerves send a signal to your brain, it doesn't matter if that thing happened in a reality you can observe or not. It's the answer to the Matrix question-- if you think you're eating a wonderful steak but you're only hooked up to a computer, to everybody else's point of view, you're a loon; to you, however, you're eating that steak and receiving all the sensations of doing so. When Neo gets kicked, he takes damage in the real world. Voila.
Of course, what you've said also begs the question of whether or not Asuka's injuries were truly only in her mind. If you recall when Bardiel attacks Shinji while it is possessing Eva-03, there are marks around Shinji's neck and the skin is compressed. In addition to feeling what his Evangelion is feeling, very real things are happening to his body-- namely, he is actually being strangled. When the synchronization is cut, he slumps forward, and his body language implies that he is both neither feeling what the Eva is feeling, nor is it actually happening to his body. Even if obvious implications weren't enough, the show also notes that when the synchronization rate is lowered, the pilot will not feel what is happening to their Evangelion as much. By extension, enough synch and the things happen to them, eg. Shinji getting strangled inside the entry plug.
Gets annoying, seeing Asuka given all the credit time and again, when (until the very end) she only received a single highly ambiguous injury. (Where's that blood supposed to be coming from? Eva-02 didn't get stabbed in the eye...)
I think you're forgetting a lance...?
Almost nobody thinks about the poor Eva. That's Kyoko's body getting completely trashed. Asuka bleeds a bit and feels pain that isn't hers. Kyoko gets her skull pierced all the way through, her brains are falling out, her entire abdomen has been destroyed, and she's pretty roughed up everywhere else.
This is probably because we have no person to relate to, and it is also no excuse to discount what happened to Asuka. I don't see anybody discounting what happened to Eva-02. Just because we're not talking about Kyoko doesn't mean her problems don't exist, and it's a shame that your argument ignores Asuka in the same way that you claim us to be ignoring Kyoko.
Asuka got off easy there.
The pilots are not their Evas, and vice versa... It's also dumb in general to conflate a person with their bond beast.
If Evangelion didn't tell us what happens when you synch up to an Eva, I'd be inclined to take this seriously. However, the show does tell us, and so I do not.