By: Billy Floyd, Army Community Service
Strangulation by an intimate partner, what is that all about? Intimate partner strangulation is a very serious form of domestic violence or abuse. Why is this form of physical abuse of grave concern? While all forms of physical abuse are of concern, this article will focus upon strangulation because with as little as 10 seconds of pressure on the carotid arteries in the neck, it is enough time to deprive the brain of oxygen and cause someone to lose consciousness. If the pressure continues, brain death can occur in as quickly as a few minutes, reported by Gael Strack, chief executive officer and co-founder for Alliance for HOPE International. Strangulation is a dangerous form of partner physical abuse.
Strack reports that strangulation may be defined as “intentionally knowing, or recklessly impeding the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of a person by applying pressure to the throat or neck, regardless of whether that conduct results in any visible injury or whether there is any intent to kill or protractedly injure the victim.” Strangulation is a form of asphyxia characterized by closure of the blood vessels and/or air passages of the neck as a result of external pressure on the neck.
Is it possible to experience strangulation during a physical altercation between intimate partners/couples and show no symptoms at first? Strack reports that many people think once the strangulation stops and they can breathe again, they are not injured. The National Domestic Violence Hotline reminds us that one can experience strangulation and show no symptoms initially. They advise that if anyone has experienced this be checked by a physician as soon as possible, and especially if one begins to experience a sore throat, difficulty swallowing, neck pain, hoarseness, bruising on the neck or behind the ears, discoloration on the tongue, ringing in the ears, bloodshot eyes, dizziness, memory loss, drooling, nausea or vomiting, difficulty breathing, incontinence, a seizure, changes in mood or personality such as agitation or aggression, changes in sleep patterns, changes in vision such as blurriness/seeing double or faintness.
A medical evaluation may be crucial in detecting internal injuries and saving the life of the victim. If there are visible signs of strangulation, seek medical support.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline also notes that these are facts that may be helpful for you to know: strangulation may be a significant predictor for future lethal violence. If your partner has strangled you in the past, your risk of being killed by them may be seven times higher and strangulation is one of the most lethal forms of partner violence as unconsciousness may occur within seconds and death within minutes. Strangulation is an ultimate form of power and control, where the abuser can demonstrate control over the victim’s next breath. This action may have devastating psychological effects or a potentially fatal outcome for the victim. In 2009, the Texas Legislature passed a law making Family violence strangulation or suffocation a felony punishable by two to 10 years for the first offense and two to 20 years for subsequent convictions.
Intimate partners, which includes spouses, may report their experience as being “choked” by the abuser or the abuser placed their hands around “my neck,” with visible marks about their neck or in some cases, there may be very little or no visible injury or evidence to corroborate their reported incident. Although strangulation and choking are different, if that is how the victim may describe the abuse, remember to just listen to their report. If you hear or see something, say something – report it. “Speak Up, Be a Part of the
Solution.” Partners experiencing this type of abuse, regardless of how you may describe these actions, reach out and report it, there is no right or wrong way to do so. Efforts initiated by the reporting partner to reach out for help may be presented or reported in varied forms, however, regardless of when, how or where the outcry is made, the Fort Hood ACS FAP stands ready to help. When someone is in an abusive relationship it may be very scary, especially if there are perceived barriers to getting help or being believed.
During the 2016 Fort Hood Domestic Violence Prevention Month Campaign and throughout the year, join the Fort Hood FAP (garrison and MEDCEN) to prevent and effectively intervene in incidents of abuse by reporting partner abuse and encouraging Soldiers, Family members and the community to report abuse by calling 287-CARE (2273). For victim services or to initiate a restricted or unrestricted report of partner abuse, please call 702-4953. The National Domestic Violence Hotline number is 800-799-7233. These hotlines are operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days per year. Your efforts will assist us to reflect the Army’s theme for this October: “Speak Up, Be a Part of the Solution.”
To learn more about scheduled 2016 DVPM activities and available assistance or resources for military Families, please call the ACS FAP office at 286-6474 or the MEDCEN FAP Clinic at 553-3627.
Article Source: Strangulation: A concerning type of domestic abuse
By: Billy Floyd, Army Community Service