After Violent Attack, Victim Puts Donations Toward Community Self-Defense Class

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After a violent abduction and assault at a grocery store parking lot last month in Marlborough, the community came out to support the victim. On Wednesday night, that victim gave back by helping women learn how to defend themselves.

It’s a danger no one wants to face: being attacked by a stranger while alone. But it’s a situation dozens of Marlborough women now feel prepared for.

“I’ve never taken a self-defense class before, and I thought it would help in situations where I’m alone, I’m walking through parking lots, I’m getting gas,” said Marlborough resident Christine Annino.

The brutal abduction and assault of a woman at a grocery store parking lot in Marlborough last month left many feeling helpless.

“I'm 64, so I'm the same age. So it could have been any of us, so it's frightening,” said Marlborough resident Cathy Glynn.

Seventy-five women signed up for the Women Against Violence Everywhere program taking place Wednesday night. Founder Dominick Violante says he wants to give them confidence and empowerment.

“We’re trying to eliminate them panicking because panic takes the form of three things: fight, flight, or freeze. I want to eliminate that freezing,” said Violante.

“I know you don’t want to be distracted when you walk out to the car, but I want to be able to protect myself,” said Glynn, who took part in the class.

Among the skills learned during the two-hour class was how to use your cell phone as a weapon against anyone trying to cause you harm.

Violante showed how you could use the corner of your cell phone to hit someone in the sternum, the top of the head, the ribs, or the spine to make them break their hold on you. He also spoke about using your shopping cart as a barrier behind you when you’re putting groceries into your car.

The free class took place because of a community coming together. After news spread about the abduction and assault, community members donated gifts, meals, and money to the victim and her family. The victim then turned around and gave that money back to organizers of the fundraisers so that they could do some good with it for the entire community.

“After everything she’s endured, she felt like something good had to come of all of this,” said organizer Mark Merritt. “They’ve actually given all of the money back that was donated to them from the lemonade stand and couple of other sources just towards this effort.”

Allison Mahon also helped organize the event.

“The outpouring from the community when this happened for the victim was so amazing, and that she is coming forward to fund this and make this happen tonight just speaks to what Marlborough is all about,” said Mahon.

In addition to paying for the class, everyone got a bag filled with items, including an alarm that can easily alert people of danger.

While the victim of that crime last month continues to heal, she’s helping to make sure other women are protected.

“She wanted me to make sure to let everyone know she's doing much better and she appreciates all the support,” said Merritt.

“I think tonight really exemplifies what Marlborough is really all about,” said Mahon.

Another self-defense class for 75 women takes place next week, but that one is already booked. Organizers say they think they have enough money to host two more classes that would be open to anyone 14 and older.

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