Sunset Park, Brooklyn – City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Council Member Sara Gonzalez, Tracy Hobson, Executive Director of The Center for Anti-Violence Education, elected officials and advocates announced details of a community-wide, free, self-defense course to be held this Sunday afternoon in Sunset Park. The course will take place at the entrance of the Sunset Park Recreation Center located at 7th Avenue and 42nd Street. This event will empower citizens to protect themselves from becoming victims of a sexual assault. This is in response to the string of incidents that have been occurring in various neighborhoods in Brooklyn since March. The classes will be held in English, Spanish and Chinese.

“We can each play a part in protecting ourselves and taking back our streets,” said Speaker Quinn. “From Park Slope, to Sunset Park and Windsor Terrace and everywhere else in Brooklyn this Sunday’s free self-defense class will send a message and help keep our streets safe.”

“These deeply troubling attacks must be met with vigilance and community unity,” said Councilwoman Sara M. González. “Leaders from throughout my District have stepped up to help spread awareness and aid our efforts to empower women who fear walking through our neighborhoods. I am grateful for their efforts and deeply appreciate the leadership of our Speaker Christine C. Quinn who kicked off our march the other day and quickly followed through with the planning for these latest self-defense classes.”

“Everyone has the right to walk the streets of their community without fear of attack, said Council Member Brad Lander. “This training will help people across the borough respond to the recent string of violent acts in our community. The Center for Anti-Violence Education has been providing smart, effective support for people who are affected by violence. Thank you to Speaker Quinn and Councilmember Gonzalez for helping bring this training to Brooklyn.”

“The Center for Anti-Violence Education has been providing self-defense and violence prevention programs for communities especially at risk of violence including women, youth and the LGBT community for 37 years,” said Tracy Hobson, Executive Director. “While we know that it is NEVER the fault of the person who is attacked, we also know that there are skills and strategies that we can use to keep ourselves and our loved ones as safe as possible. We’re happy to be partnering with the City Council to be providing classes on these skills throughout the community.”

“As recent incidents in Park Slope, Sunset Park and Bay Ridge have demonstrated, Brooklynites and New Yorkers need to be aware of their surroundings and have the ability to defend themselves when necessary,” said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. “I applaud the Center for Anti-Violence Education, Speaker Quinn, Council Member Gonzalez and everyone involved with organizing this free self-defense course, which will give residents another tool in helping to make our streets safe for everyone.”

The NYPD has released several sketches of the suspected assailants. Individuals with helpful information are urged to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477).