October 16 – 19, 2018, we hosted the 15th four-day course of our Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention with 140 attendees from more than 20 states. A courageous survivor named Michelle shared her personal story as our Institute began this morning. This is part of her story…

“The domestic violence in my life did not start as a hail storm, it started as a light sprinkle. The escalation and severity were so gradual and slow that I did not even notice the abuse or see it as violence. It was not ‘domestic violence’, it was ‘bad days’ or a ‘bad fight’. But, in the last five years of my relationship, strangulation became the norm.”

“Strangulation was the closest I have ever come to being conscious of my own death, of dying. It is horrifying. It is terrifying. You are dying at the hands of someone you love and that you have made a life with. Your life can be maddening and crazy, but it is YOUR LIFE, so you are familiar with its rhythm and you stay. In 2016, my former spouse was prosecuted, but even then, the strangulation in my case was minimized because I did not always have visible injuries; people did not realize how serious strangulation was as part of the assaults. He knew the power that strangulation gave him. He was 6’1”, I was 5’ 2”, so I was already at a height deficit with him, but adding strangulation put all of the power in HIS HANDS. When he realized that strangulation not only gave him control, but also the power of life and death, it became his superpower. We often focus on how strangulation feels for the victim, but we should also never forget how it feels for the offender. It puts the power of life and death in their hands, they can leave your life or take it.”
Michelle R.

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