ROCKFORD (WREX)- Strangulation is known as one of the most lethal forms of domestic violence.
13 News speaks with experts on strangulation who explain the dangers of this deadly act and the impact it can make on survivors.
We asked, “Does it get any worse than strangulation,?”
Rockford Police Sergeant, Mary Ogden said, “death…….. that is the only other thing”
Strangulation can happen just like that, and it’s not something that picks a race, religion, or any sort of demographic.
“How fast strangulation can kill you, or domestic violence can kill you?, minutes, how fast it can change your life drastically?….. seconds,” SwedishAmerican Nurse, Kimberly Wolgast said.
It’s only a matter of seconds between life and death decided by someone else who is in control.
“They are actually playing God and they are going to decide if that person is going to breathe or not breathe again,” Ogden said.
Strangulation is the act of killing someone by restricting vital oxygen and blood flow to their body. Causing a person to go unconscious in only 10 seconds and killing them in just four minutes. And if it doesn’t kill them the first time, chances are they will be strangled again.
“It’s not going to go backwards, its not going to go back to a slap or kick if someone strangles, they are probably going to strangle again,” Ogden said.
In fact, data shows victims of strangulation are 750 times more likely to be killed by their abuser. However, the signs of strangulation aren’t always easy to see.
“Police officers a lot of times don’t see those injuries so they have to get to the hospital, they have to be checked out and they have to have extensive tests run,” Ogden said.
Signs like bruises and swelling showing up hours, days, or even weeks later. But the damage isn’t just physical.
“Sometimes the emotional damage is even worse than the physical damage,” Wolgast said.
That’s why community leaders are educating first responders and the medical community on the signs and symptoms of strangulation, to hopefully help more victims find a way out.
“It’s a big impact on our community, its a big impact on our law enforcement. We need to make sure that we educate everyone from the boots on the street all the way to the medical staff, 911 officers,” Ogden said.
“It’s not something people are proud of and a lot of people are scared so they wont come right away, so that’s where its very important to notice the early signs and the late signs,” Wolgast said.
The goal? Is to allow someone a second chance at life before someone else decides to take it.
“I want to be able to give them a chance to stand on their own two feet and know that things will get better,” Wolgast said.
Since November of 2017 the Rockford Police Department conducted nearly 3,800 lethality assessments. Of those, over 1,500 victims said they had been strangled before.