Many people will experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime, and of those, up to 68 percent will suffer near-fatal strangulation by their abuser.

In a recent conversation with legal advocate Stephanie Love, I asked what trends she has noticed over the years in the court system. She talked about strangulation and how it has only been considered a felony since summer 2019 in Kentucky. 

The Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence (KCADV)The Mary Byron ProjectLou Anna Red Corn, and many others worked hard to advocate for Senate Bill 70 to be passed and make strangulation a felony in Kentucky. 

Up to 68 percent of intimate partner abuse victims will suffer near-fatal strangulation by their abuser. Some people mistakenly use the word ‘choking,’ but this is a crime meant to stop the victim from breathing.

Defining Strangulation and What it Means for Survivors

The Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention defines strangulation as “the obstruction of blood vessels and/or airflow in the neck resulting in asphyxia.” This type of assault can have serious, permanent, or even fatal damage to the victim’s throat or brain. Symptoms include: 

  • Loss of memory 
  • Loss of consciousness 
  • Chest pain 
  • Bruising on neck 
  • Unable to speak or swallow 

For more signs and symptoms, click here. Warning – this is a very graphic poster, although it’s not a real person depicted.

This crime is often missed by law enforcement and medical professionals because in more than half of cases, there are no visible signs.  The National Domestic Violence Hotline reports that strangulation is a significant predictor of future lethal violence.

If someone has been strangled by a partner in the past, the risk of being killed by that partner is seven times higher.

Get Help

Do you fear your partner will strangle you or worry about the long-term effects of previous strangulation abuse? We will answer your call 24 hours a day, every day of the year – 800-544-2022. 

The featured image was inspired by MobileODT.

Further Reading

Click the link above to open a brochure from Alliance for Hope International about strangulation. There is a ‘visible signs’ drawing that is graphic included on the brochure.