Christine Quinn leads self-defense class against sexual assault - New York News

Christine Quinn leads self-defense class against sexual assaults

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A series of rapes and attempted rapes in city parks has women worried. Now one official says women need to take self-defense into their own hands.  

"I'm definitely cautious at night and I don't walk around alone for sure," said one resident. 

It happened again, this time in Tompkins Square Park in the East Village around 10:00 p.m. Friday night. Police say a 27-year-old man was arrested for raping a 31-year-old woman who was sleeping on a park bench on the East 7th Street side. 

Police say she woke up during the attack, fought him off and ran more than two blocks into a delicatessen where she told the store workers about the assault and they called police. 

"Usually I wouldn't go into the parks late at night. I would try to be smart and stay in well-lit areas and be with a group or more than just me," added another area resident. 

This incident comes after the rape of a 21-year-old woman in Hudson River Park in Lower Manhattan and a 73-year-old birdwatcher in Central Park.

Police have made arrests in each case, but City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said she believes more can be done. 

"I want to be clear; we're not going to yield one blade of grass, not one acre of park and not one block in our city to sexual predators .... not one," said Quinn. "And part of that effort is building a community of New Yorkers that say ‘no'," 

Speaker Quinn participated in a self-defense class at the Central Park Recreation Center. It's one of a series Quinn's organized around the city. 

The class drew a diverse group of women from several different generations. The idea is to empower women and prevent other attacks. 

Mary-Justine Todd, a self-defense class student added, "I think it's really important for women to not only know the techniques to protect themselves, but to psychologically be prepared as well and, additionally, the women maintain a sense of community and togetherness in this fight."   

Police say women should be aware of their surroundings at all times and call 911 if they see any suspicious activity.

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