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Violence victims often demonstrate remarkable courage, detective says

By Ariella Rams

For the seventh week of the citizen’s academy, students visited the Orange County Family Justice Center, formerly Anaheim Family Justice Center.


The OCFJC is a place where victims of domestic, elder, child or sexual abuse can come to report crimes and get help.

“No matter what they need,” says Detective Phillip Han, “They can come here and get it. Any victim who has suffered any degree of abuse can come here to get help. Whether it be financial help with groceries or rent or even counseling services- if they need it, we provide it.”

In a given year in Anaheim alone, there are more than 2,890 family related crimes. The OCFJC hopes to change and significantly decrease that.

For Det. Han, the OCFJC is not only a place for him to help create change, but it is where he has seen some of the strongest acts of courage in his years on the force.

“When I see a battered victim make that move forward,” he says. “That move when you don’t know what’s next. You don’t know if social services will take your child, or where you will get your next meal—that’s the hardest thing to do. That’s very courageous, and it’s what this place is here for – to give victims as many resources as we possibly can.”

Through the OCFJC, survivors of domestic abuse can become part of the survivor’s academy, receive public education classes, access career resources or a use myriad of other services.

image002Following Det. Han’s informational session on domestic abuse, Lt. Sharon Pietrok taught the class the importance of self-defense, as well as key defense moves.

“Anything in your purse of pocket can be a weapon,” Lt. Pietrok told the class. “Keys can not only be a weapon, but if you put your key between your fingers as you make a fist, and punch them with it, or slice them… you’re collecting valuable DNA on that key that can help solve a crime—and save you.”

The key to self-defense, she told the class, is to know the ABC’s. Awareness, balance and control.

Always be aware of your surroundings. Is someone following you? Walking towards you? Staring at you? You need to know.

Never let yourself be off balance, she told the class. If a perpetrator is coming at you, you want to take a stance and either dodge them or be ready to take them on. And the decision needs to be made in an instant.

The third thing to keep in mind is to be in control. If you’re on stairs, stay at the higher level, Lt. Pietrok says.

“And you need to know that in a type of hostage situation,” she says. “A secondary location significantly reduces your chance of survival. Do your best to keep away from going to another location, because chances are you won’t survive.”

After educating the class on the logistics and tactics of self-defense, she quickly taught everyone a few important, life-saving moves.

“Go for their eyes, make them water,” she told the class. “Then go for their nose. It will bleed, a lot.”

She continued by teaching other maneuvers.

“And if someone grabs you from behind,” Lt. Pietrok says, “Stomp on their foot, or swing your hand back as hard as you can to get their crotch. Fight as best you can to get out.”