The Dangers of Strangulation
At The Hotline, we know that there are different types of abuse that someone can experience. One abuse type, physical abuse, can range from throwing objects or blocking doorways to violent attacks or strangulation. Many survivors are unaware of the dangers of strangulation, which is one of the most serious and deadly forms of abuse.
The information in this article is not meant to scare you, but you deserve to know the dangers of strangulation so you can make the best plan to keep yourself safe.
If your partner has ever put their hands around your neck, put you in a “sleeper hold,” or wrapped anything like a scarf, necklace, belt, or rope around your neck, you have experienced strangulation.
Dangers of Strangulation
- Strangulation is one of the most lethal forms of domestic violence: unconsciousness may occur within seconds, and death within minutes.
- It’s possible to show no outward symptoms of strangulation but die weeks later due to lack of oxygen and other internal injuries.
- Strangulation can cause traumatic brain injuries, which can affect long-term memory.
- Strangulation is a significant predictor for future lethal violence.
- If your partner has strangled you in the past, your risk of being killed by them is 10 times higher.
Common Symptoms of Strangulation
While it is possible to die from strangulation without showing symptoms, physical symptoms can occur, and it’s important to recognize them. They can include:
- a sore throat
- difficulty swallowing
- neck pain
- bruising on the neck or behind your ears
- discoloration on your tongue
- ringing in your ears
- bloodshot eyes
- memory loss
- nausea or vomiting
- difficulty breathing
- a seizure
- a miscarriage
- changes in mood or personality, like agitation or aggression
- changes in sleep patterns
- changes in vision, such as blurriness or seeing double
- fainted or lost consciousness
Since strangulation is so dangerous, it’s important to have a safe way to document the abuse. We strongly recommend you consider seeing a doctor if your partner has strangled you. Also, know that you always have the right to file a police report, press charges for an assault, or seek a restraining order against someone who is choosing to be abusive towards you.
What Can Help
If you have been strangled in your relationship, it’s vital that you find help. If possible, you can search our local resources page to find a domestic violence agency near you. An advocate there can help you fill out a lethality assessment, which can help you learn more about your personal risk from your partner and determine the next steps for your safety. We know that gaslighting or abuse itself can cause the details to be fuzzy, so if it’s safe to do so, we recommend documenting as much of the abuse as possible. If you need to call the doctor, The Hotline, or your local domestic violence agency, but making calls is dangerous for you, here are some helpful tips that might work for you.
To find a domestic violence agency near you or for help making a plan to stay safe, please contact our advocates 24/7/365.
By Heather, a Hotline Advocate