Say So! Takes Over Union Square To Educate And Empower New York Against Sexual Assault


The New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault, in partnership with Midnight Kitchen Media, announces its 5th annual SAY SO! (“Sexual Assault Yearly Speak Out”). SAY SO! is New York’s highest profile event to raise awareness about specialized rape crisis services in New York City.

SAY SO! will take over NYC’s Union Square on May 18 from 12noon to 10pm for “A Celebration of Healing and Recovery” from sexual violence. The full day festival will feature music, performance, dancers, spoken word, inspirational speakers, DJs and more. Throughout the day the audience- survivors, friends, family and others- will hear empowering, educational and inspiring speakers and artists who promote healing, recovery and action. Union Square will be transformed into a healing space via experiential activities that will include self defense and yoga classes, reiki sessions, participatory art, and much more.

It is estimated that last year alone more than 22,000 women and 7,000 men were sexually assaulted in New York City. Unfortunately, most of these cases are never reported to the police: an average of 1,700 rapes are reported to the NYPD every year. These reported numbers do not reflect the calls received and addressed by the city’s rape crisis programs, which answered more than 5,000 calls in one year and treated more than a thousand children for sexual assault.

In addition to celebrating the right to healing and recovery, SAY SO! will provide those in attendance with crucial tools to mobilize and educate themselves and others on the free services available in New York City. Teenagers usually don’t know where to get help and are afraid to ask, which is why the NYC Alliance Against Sexual Assault has developed the NYC Teen Health Map. The maps, which will be handed out at SAY SO! are foldable pocket subway maps with a comprehensive guide to resources on the back. Each teen will receive two–one for themselves and one for a friend.

Harriet Lessel, Executive Director of the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault, declared, “The Alliance is very excited to be hosting the 5th Annual Sexual Assault Yearly Speak Out (SAY SO!) in Union Square Park. SAY SO! is meant to empower and inspire all of us–survivors, significant others and bystanders. This year we are celebrating recovery by focusing on the free, specialized services available to all survivors in New York City. I hope you will join us in the park from noon to 10 p.m. to spread the word!”

For more information on the non-profit organization NYC Alliance Against Sexual Assault and SAY SO!, visit


The mission of the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault is to develop and advance strategies, policies and responses that prevent sexual violence and limit its destabilizing effects on victims, families and communities. This is accomplished through: 1) research to document the extent of sexual violence in NYC and determine the effectiveness of current intervention and prevention efforts, 2) education about the devastating aftermath of sexual violence and opportunities for its prevention, and 3) advocacy for responsive policy development, practice and legislation with public officials and service providers.


Midnight Kitchen is a multimedia design collective specializing in total immersion event planning. Our goal is to create experiences that blur the line between audience and stage by infusing 360° of the environment with live music, performance and innovative visual media. For more information visit