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Sat, May 30

Community View | Domestic Violence: A pattern that can be broken

Regardless of our upbringing, we are free to choose who we are and who we want to become.

I was raised in Italy in a family where, unfortunately, domestic violence was a multi-generational factor. I have witnessed both my grandfathers using physical violence against my grandmothers, but the most disturbing reality I had to face as a child was my father, repeating the same pattern of violence on my mother.

I don’t want to go into the gory details of how many times my mother was sent to the hospital due to the consequences of my father’s violence, or how many times she was dragged on the floor like an animal, or hit just because she refused to cook a meal late at night. I remember when I was a child trying to defend my mother from my father’s cowardly violence and getting hit in the face by the man who was supposed to be there to protect me.

In a time and a country where divorce was still a stigma (Italy, 50 years ago), and a judicial system in the hands of corrupt male judges (one of the judges said to my mother: if your husband beats you, you must have deserved it).

When I was about 10 years old, my mother finally found the strength to divorce my father. My life changed, and I decided to leave the comfort of home and go to the boarding school to alleviate the responsibilities of a single mother, who just became also a cancer survivor.

Since early age, I grew up watching violence in my family, and I could have the excuse to repeat this pattern of perversion, but I made a choice. I chose to never hit a woman, especially the mother of my children. I chose that violence is a tool only to use for self-defense or the defense of innocents. Children should never witness such acts of violence by a father, and only cowards can beat a woman who is half his size.

I am almost 51 now, and in all my past experiences with women, I have never touched a woman with a finger violently. Do not get me wrong, I am not a saint, I have my own faults. I can be loud, I can use words, I can be silent, I am still a human being, but violence against a woman is never excusable.

This is why I believe self-defense is a human right that belongs to every human being, regardless of sex, color, or religious beliefs but especially should be learned by people like women, who can be at a disadvantage against a stronger attacker.

I want to leave you with this message: “We are the result of our past life, but we should never be enslaved by it. We are free to choose who we want to be and what path we want to choose.”

If you are a woman who has suffered the experience of domestic violence, I invite you to a free self-defense seminar that I am sponsoring at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 25 at Kingman Force on Force, 3001 Stockton Hill Road. To book a spot, email, or call 928-263-0071.

Gianluca Zanna is a “Refuse to be a Victim” NRA Certified Instructor, Krav-Maga Instructor, AZ DPS Firearms Instructor, Certified Personal Trainer, Fitness Nutrition Specialist, and Mixed Martial Arts Conditioning Specialist by National Academy Sports Medicine.

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