CBSN BostonWatch

Vanessa Marcotte Foundation Holds Self-Defense Workshop

BOSTON (CBS) — Standing boldly and screaming loudly, a group of more than 200 women learned how to defend themselves against an attacker. Sunday’s empowerment and self-defense workshop was put on by the Vanessa Marcotte Foundation.

“Women need to learn self-defense. They may not think it’s important but Vanessa’s story hopefully makes them realize that they should learn,” said Vanessa Marcotte‘s cousin Caroline Tocci.

Marcotte, a 27-year-old Google executive, was visiting her mother’s Princeton home from New York and went for a run the afternoon of Aug. 7, 2016. Her body was found naked and burned off Brooks Station Road, just a half mile from her mother’s home.

“Our hope is that one day, women can live in a world free from objectification and harassment,” Tocci added. She said the purpose of the foundation is to empower women to live boldly and fearlessly.

“We are trying to honor her, but most importantly trying to help other women.”

Vanessa Marcotte. (Photo credit: Massachusetts State Police)

The STRIKE for Vanessa workshop was led by celebrity trainer Avital Zeisler. Most of the participants never got the chance to meet Marcotte, but her legacy lives on through each of them who are learning to protect themselves if they ever come under attack.

“You don’t have to be bigger or stronger than your attacker to be powerful or effective,” Zeisler told the crowd.

Ashley McNiff of the Vanessa Marcotte Foundation told WBZ-TV, “I want them to walk away with safety awareness tips. I think every time you take a self-defense class, you learn something you can apply right away.”

Tocci added, “[Marcotte’s] legacy is really of kindness, compassion of helping other people.”

Angelo Colon-Ortiz, of Worcester, is charged with murder in the death of Marcotte.