Hundreds of people showed up at a rally in Brooklyn Wednesday night as a show of defense against sexual predators who have been attacking women in some neighborhoods.
The turnout of about 300 people was larger than organizers had anticipated, and police quickly had to change the planned route down a sidewalk on 17th Street to accommodate the marchers. Police shut down part of Fourth Avenue, which contains several lanes, so that the demonstrators could take back the streets.
"We can be outside at night, and that's fine and we should feel safe doing that," said Liza Trinkle, a member of Safe Slope, which organized the rally.
"It's crazy to think that some guy or guys can just get up one night and say, 'Well, I think I'm gonna take advantage of this person,'" said demonstrator Sam Sierra.
Sierra said he was concerned about the women in his life walking alone at night.
"I have five sisters, so something like this hits home," he said.
Marchers were also briefed on ways to stay safe: Don't listen to your iPod when walking alone at night, they were urged, and always stay alert. Have someone waiting for you outside the door when you get home, they were told.
"A lot of people are street smart," said demonstrator Rachel Kay, "but you still need the community to be there for you because when you get out of the subway you never know what could happen."