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19 June 2013 @ 05:14 pm
Strangulation in Domestic Violence--Practice for Murder?  
Trigger Warning: domestic violence

Seeing those photos of Nigella Lawson being strangled (technically choking is what happens when you have an object inside blocking your windpipe) has been very triggering for me. I ran across a comment on Nigella's FB page (where fans are urging her to be safe, boosting her self esteem, and sharing information and experiences about domestic violence) about strangulation that led to some good links. One article in USA Today explores the connection between prior incidents of strangulation by a partner and eventual homicide: Choking seen as prelude to murder.

One gets the impression that strangulation that doesn't lead to death is a form of practice, a dry run. Both times I was strangled (I'm going to stop saying choked) my ex-husband was yelling that "this time I'm going to kill you." (Second time he said "this time I'm really going to kill you.") While he hasn't killed any of his later partners, the violence in our relationship was clearly escalating. Maybe my ending our marriage made him worry that hitting them would cause them to leave. He did manage to stop for a year after I left him once, but under stress (from homelessness) he resumed. I don't pretend to know what is going on with him today but I sincerely hope he did manage to stop at least the physical violence if not the verbal abuse.

Excerpt from the USA Today article from 2010:

Twenty-nine states have laws that make strangulation a crime, says the National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse, a program of the National District Attorneys Association.

New Hampshire passed its law after Melissa Cantin Charbonneau, 29, a mother and nurse, was killed by her husband two days after he tried to strangle her.

Jonathan Charbonneau, 32, shot and killed her in October. He also shot his father-in-law and then killed himself, a report by the state attorney general found. He was out on $30 bail after being charged with a misdemeanor for throwing her down a flight of stairs and trying to strangle her.

Her father, John Cantin, who survived the shooting, says his daughter would still be alive if her killer had been in jail, charged with a felony.

"I'm doing this for my daughter," he says. "I don't believe this bill will stop the person doing the choking, but at least when it does happen and they are arrested, they are put away."

Here's an excellent .pdf : Strangulation assaults in domestic violence cases that has some good statistics and information.

For medical information about strangulation: Strangulation Injuries--Medical Concerns

There can be injuries that cause swelling and could affect the airway hours later so it's a good idea to get checked out at the ER if you are ever have the misfortune to be strangled.

For women who are still in relationships and have been strangled, please take this escalation of violence very seriously and carefully being preparing your escape. http://www.mysistersplacedc.org/safety-planning.html has good advice and resources for you. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−SAFE(7233) or TTY 1−800−787−3224 http://www.thehotline.org/resources/

If your partner has access to your computer, please read this entry on computer safety and consider using a library or cafe computer for any searches relating to domestic violence.


Stay safe!