Classes will take place on Sunday, October 7th at 2:00 PM at the North Meadow Recreation Center in Central Park Mid-Park at 97th Street

New York, NY – Following the heinous sexual assault in Central Park yesterday against a 73-year-old woman, Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Council Members and advocates today announced they will host free self-defense classes in Central Park to train residents to protect themselves against attacks.

The classes will take place on Sunday, October 7th at 2:00 PM at the North Meadow Recreation Center in Central Park Mid-Park at 97th Street. Instructors from The Center for Anti-Violence Education will teach the session.

The Council will also work to arrange free trainings at Senior Centers in Manhattan

“I deplore the attack on the 73-year-old woman at Central Park and I commend the victim for standing up and speaking out against her assailant. We want her to know we support her,” said Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “We thank the NYPD for their swift action in this case. These free self-defense classes will empower New Yorkers with the information they need to stay safe.”

“When rape and assault occur in a beautiful place dedicated to peace, all New Yorkers are horrified. But let’s not lose focus by making this crime into a story about Central Park. The victim is a woman, and this is a case in which a depraved sexual predator knew who he was looking for, stalked her, and violated her in vengeance after a previous encounter. As a community, we should not rest until he is apprehended,”
said Council Member Gale A. Brewer.

“These types of heinous, despicable acts will not be tolerated in this City,” said Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito. “Our parks need to remain a safe place for all New Yorkers, especially women and seniors. Unfortunately, we as women always need to be prepared, and that is why we plan to hold additional self-defense classes for our communities. I thank the NYPD for continuing to work diligently until the suspect is apprehended.”

Council Member Jessica Lappin, Chair of the City Council’s Aging Committee said, “This horrendous act of violence against a vulnerable elderly woman demands action. I look forward to working with Speaker Quinn, the NYPD and others to find ways to make our seniors safer and to help women protect themselves against these vicious, senseless attacks.”

“This vicious noon-day attack on one of our beloved seniors is shocking and unconscionable—my thoughts and prayers are with the victim,” said Council Member Rosie Mendez. “Sadly, this alarming attack serves to reinforce the prevalent nature of sexual assaults in our country, where there are over 200,000 reported cases each year. As such, we must redouble our efforts to prevent such heinous acts, strongly punish those who would commit them and provide a spectrum of supportive services to victims. I urge anyone with information on this specific case to come forward and speak with authorities immediately.”

“Yesterday’s mugging and sexual assault in Central Park is extremely disturbing,” said Council member Julissa Ferreras. “I call on the NYPD to continue to do their best to apprehend and punish the culprit to the fullest extent of the law.” said Council member Ferreras. “My prayers are with the victim and her family as she recovers from this heinous attack. Ensuring public safety in our city’s parks and public spaces should be one of our highest priorities.”

“This senseless and violent act is appalling, and will not be tolerated in our city,” said Congressman Nadler. “I urge the NYPD to continue to act swiftly to bring the perpetrator to justice. My heart goes out to the victim, I wish her the best in her recovery, and want her to know that all of New York stands behind her.”

“Every rape, regardless of the circumstances, is outrageous, but the circumstances of this rape, the fact that it took place in broad daylight in the middle of one of the most crowded and popular parks anywhere, is particularly disturbing. I am confident that the NYPD will leave no stone unturned until the monster who committed this crime is apprehended,” said Assembly Member Linda B. Rosenthal. “While every woman is sadly accustomed to looking over her shoulder, this brutal attack underscores that even in the safest of neighborhoods, such as the Upper West Side, one can never be too careful. Women, we must not take our safety for granted, and though you should be able to walk anywhere, at any time without an escort, until this predator is in custody, please take every precaution you can to keep yourself safe.”

“My thoughts are with the victim of this horrible attack. It is truly outrageous when predators use the park we all know and love to perpetrate such violence. We must all continue to work to make our city a safer place and to put an end to this kind of sexual violence,” said State Senator Liz Krueger.

“When a 73 year old woman is sexually assaulted in the light of day, all New Yorkers go on high alert. I was shocked and saddened to learn the news of this attack, but grateful to the witnesses that did the right thing and called 911,” said Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. As an Upper West Sider, I urge all residents to take advantage of self-defense classes and arm themselves with the skills to ward off predators.”

“Rape is so often characterized as perpetrated by a stranger as an act of sexual desire–usually triggered by signals sent by the victim,” said Tracy Hobson Executive Director of The Center for Anti-Violence. “This horrific attack underscores the reality that rape is an act of aggression to exert power over another, in this case to silence someone who dared to speak out against abusive behavior. Despite the fact that this man used violence to try and silence her, this 73-year old woman spoke out. In doing so, she stood up to violence and let other survivors know that they are not alone.”

“One in five women will be raped in her lifetime. It happens every day, in any neighborhood to every type of women,” said President of NOW-NYC Sonia Ossario. “Violence is something women have to face all their lives. Hearing your grandmother could be a target is devastating. Our hearts go out to this survivor.”

“My heart goes out to this victim who is reporting such a seemingly senseless act of violence. The brazen nature of this attack on an older woman in a very public space in New York city is deeply disturbing and reminds us of how much work is still to be done to stop sexual assault,” said Mary Haviland, Exec Director New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault. “According to a recent CDC study, 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men will experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetime. The frequency of this crime is alarming. We have multidisciplinary teams of caregivers in New York City who are trained to expertly respond to this crime. I am certain that Law enforcement and Manhattan D.A.’s office will work tirelessly to apprehend and bring to justice the victim of this crime.”

According to the National Victims Center, 80 percent of rapes are from people we know and at least 75 percent of all survivors of rape and sexual assault know their assailants.
Individuals with helpful information are urged to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477).