Undergraduate Wins Borough-Wide Contest with Essay on Sexual Violence Awareness

BROOKLYN, NY– Kiran Sury ’14, a pre-med and journalism major in the BA-MD and Macaulay Honors programs at Brooklyn College, has won the Denim Day NYC 2013 Op-Ed Writing Contest, one of five winners selected to represent each borough. Writing on this year’s theme, Telling the Truth About Sexual Violence, Sury received a $500 prize at the Denim Day NYC press conference at City Hall for his essay titled “The Impact of Sexual Violence on College Students.” All five NYC borough presidents co-sponsored the contest, their aim, to give college students a voice and encourage them to think critically about sexual violence.

“I was thrilled to have won for Brooklyn,” said Sury. “It was even more gratifying when [my essay] was published on Huffington Post. As a journalism major, it’s nice to know I can write in a manner that people find accessible and interesting. I hope to apply this to science writing in and after medical school.”

Sury entered the contest after he read about it in the Macaulay Messenger. He had been following the case of a rape that occurred near campus, and realized that, like many other sexual assaults it quickly disappeared from the local news.

“I’m trying to say that a rape isn’t just another rape,” said Sury. “While it had faded from the media, I still saw its effects around me. Rape affects communities long after the crime is committed. It wasn’t fair that there wasn’t an ongoing outcry over the Brooklyn rape.”

Denim Days are so-named because of a controversial 1998 ruling by the Italian Supreme Court, which determined that because a rape victim was wearing tight denim jeans, she must have helped her rapist remove them, therefore making the act consensual. The ruling sparked global outrage, and denim jeans became a symbol of protest against the lack of knowledge and the cultural myths surrounding sexual assault. The following year a nonprofit organization in Los Angeles called Peace Over Violence organized the first Denim Day in the United States. The event has grown since then with two million Americans participating in 2011.

The sexual assault perpetrator who Sury was concerned about was finally caught. On May 17 twenty-five-year old Eric Dancy was arrested in connection to a rape committed on a twenty-two-year old female on February 2 near the campus, on East 27th Street and Glenwood Road. In addition to the rape, Dancy has been charged with robbery, imprisonment, and committing a criminal sex act.

“I thank the hard-working men and women of the 70th Precinct for their dedication these last few months in bringing this culprit into custody and keeping me informed on the investigation throughout the process,” said Councilman Jumaane Williams (D-Brooklyn) about the assault. “As a community, we stand united in our fight to end violence and discrimination against women, be it in the home, the workplace or elsewhere.”

To be eligible for the Denim Day NYC Op-Ed Writing contest a student must be an undergraduate currently enrolled in a two-or four-year college in one of the five boroughs. For more information visit http://denimdaynyc.org/opedrules.

Contact: Ernesto Mora / 718-951-6377 / emora@brooklyn.cuny.edu