By: Sherele Moody
GYMPIE, AUSTRALIA – It’s been many years since a trusted man tried to choke the life out of Jacque Lachmund, but she remembers the assault like it was yesterday.
Struggling to breathe, her windpipe crushed under his strong hands and her body frozen in fear, Ms. Lachmund said she let her body go limp as she pretended to pass out.
The “playing dead” ruse worked, with the attacker letting the successful businesswoman go when her body went limp.
Ms. Lachmund said one of the hardest parts of the assault was that there were no services specialising in recovering from this potentially killer crime for her to access.
An Australia-first initiative aims to change that.
Run by the Red Rose Foundation, the proposed strangulation centre would provide specialised support for Gympie residents who have been strangled or choked but only if the Queensland Government grants $400,000 to get it off the ground.
Queensland Police data shows there were 64 offences of strangulation in the Gympie-Sunshine Coast area since the act became a crime in May 2016.
Men are the key offenders with the Queensland Police data showing just two charges involving local female perpetrators.
The region accounts for 4.5 per cent of the 1423 strangulation offences recorded across Queensland in the two years to March 31.
“We are delighted with this legislation because it enables police and the justice system to respond much more effectively to women and children at high risk of DV,” Community Action Gympie Region Domestic and Family Violence Service’s Talia van Gils said.
“It can mean high-risk offenders are on remand while in the court system.”
Research shows people who have been strangled at least once are seven times more likely to be murdered by their assailant than those who have not been strangled.
Some victims die or have blood clots, strokes or brain damage months down the track.
Red Rose Foundation hopes to roll out a statewide service providing immediate and ongoing support for survivors of the crime.
Based on the Gold Coast and in Brisbane, it will give comprehensive online and telephone support to regional Queenslanders.
It will offer trauma counselling, intensive medical support and liaison with local health services and legal help for survivors needing to give evidence against their perpetrators in court.
“Victims need specialised support for the medical implications of strangulation because victims can die up to a year later,” Red Rose Foundation CEO Betty Taylor said.
Fundraising has started, with the foundation hoping the Queensland Government will contribute an initial $400,000 plus ongoing support.
A government spokesperson said it backed the foundation’s vision but there was no commitment to funding.
“The government is happy to work with the foundation on how to improve support for survivors and victims of domestic and family violence into the future,” the spokesperson said.
NewsRegional supports the Government’s #dosomething campaign, which urges people to phone police if they know someone is experiencing domestic violence.
This is what it’s like to be choked
Jacque Lachmund is popular, successful, outgoing and living her dream life.
On the outside, Ms Lachmund portrays a picture of success, running a major charity and relishing the time she spends with her son, daughter and her grandkids, but deep down the 50-year-old hides a terrifying secret.
Some years ago, a man she trusted deeply tried to kill her by wrapping his hands around her throat, crushing her windpipe and choking the life out of her.
“Emotionally and mentally, it’s those feelings of fear that really turn into a question of whether you are going to live or die,” the chief executive of Australia’s CEO Challenge said.
Ms Lachmund fought for her life, eventually pretending to to pass out in the hope the man would think she was dead and stop the assault.
The trick worked and the assailant let her go.
“Your survival instinct kicks in and you do whatever you need to do to make it stop,” she said.
While many years have passed since the attack, Ms Lachmund remembers it like yesterday.
She hopes her experience will inspire other strangulation survivors to come forward with their stories.
Ms. Lachmund is one of the stars of a new short domestic violence film commissioned by Red Rose Foundation. Deadly Romance can be viewed at https://youtu.be/Ek2ToCZYQPg
DV offenders use choking law sex loophole
Canny violence perpetrators are using a sex loophole in Queensland’s strangulation and choking legislation to avoid punishment.
The legislation has the phrase “without the other person’s consent”.
This was designed to ensure the laws did not impact on men and women who like being choked, sometimes used during sex to increase pleasure.
Women’s Legal Service Queensland lobbied the government to keep the wording out, knowing it would become an issue and the organisation’s worst fears have been realised.
“Perpetrators of domestic violence are arguing ‘she consented’, like they do in rape trials,” WLSQ CEO Angela Lynch said.
The State Government was asked if it would consider removing the consent phrase but it did not respond directly to the question.
“There is always room for improvement in this space, and while criminal charges are holding perpetrators to account in the short term, we must also recognise that a broader cultural shift in attitudes is needed in the long term,” a spokesperson said.
Article Source: Gympie Choking Victims Need Support as Sex Loophole Exposed
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