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Enrollment Increases At Self Defense Classes Amid Continuing Brooklyn, Queens Sex Assaults

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Police have linked more than 20 sex assaults in Brooklyn since March, as well as six new attacks in Queens. With sexual predators still on the loose, women are increasingly turning to self defense classes.

Robin Aigner has had enough of the sex assaults that seem to be plaguing her Sunset Park neighborhood. Refusing to live scared, she and about 100 others spent Sunday learning how to fight back.

"Maybe be better prepared in a circumstance that threatens my life," said Robin Aigner of Sunset Park.

"I felt very unsafe in my neighborhood," said Joellyn Marlow of Park Slope. "I'll have a lot more self confidence after this."

Instructors taught there are ways to get away.

"Yell, not a high pitched scream but loud noise, yelling '9-1-1', yelling 'stop', yelling 'go away'," instructor Brenda Jones told CBS 2's Ann Mercogliano.

Women practiced just that. They also learned how to kick, block, and targets to strike.

"Aiming to the knees, throat, eyes, nose" Jones said. "As soon as you turn, you want to be able to do something to the attacker."

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and other elected officials on hand had a strong message to the perpetrators.

"You are going all of you, you are going to be apprehended to the fullest extent of the law and you are going to go to jail," Quinn said.

While police do their work, women are left with a plan.

"What I'm going to do is scream as loud as I can to protect myself," Marlow said.

The Center for Anti-Violence education in Brooklyn says it has increased its class load and is offering free courses in self-defense.

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