A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

Have you been strangled? Or smothered so you couldn’t breathe?

Trigger Warning – Some of the information in this blog post, the linked articles / information sheets / videos, or the comments might be triggering for some people.

Professionals, the public and victims are misinformed about strangulation.

  • Most victims of strangulation will not have visible external injuries.
  • Fatal strangulation can occur without any external evidence of violence on the human body.
  • The victim may die hours, days or months after the strangulation event.
  • Non-fatal strangulation can have serious immediate and long-term health consequences including brain damage.
  • A woman who survives one strangulation event is 700% more likely to be strangled again and 800% more likely to be killed later.

We recommend that all church leaders familiarize themselves with the dangers of non-fatal strangulation.

DO ask the victim if her partner has choked or strangled her. It is common for domestic violence and strangulation victims to minimize what has happened to them. She may not share information with you unless you ask.

An MRI can detect internal injuries. A CAT scan using a contrast dye (called a CT-A) is also very helpful in finding injuries to the veins and arteries of the head and neck.  Encourage the victim who has been strangled to request a MRI and CT-A if possible.

The following videos discuss non-fatal strangulation and are helpful for victims, professionals and the public.

Nurse Joanna Explains Why a Survivor of Strangulation Should Seek Help

Nurse Joanna is compassionate and easy to understand. Her tone is perfect for victims.

Strangulation:  Detection & Investigation – Brian Bennett

Brian Bennett is a domestic violence instructor with the State Criminal Justice Academy in South Carolina and an advisor in the field of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Note: New research is constantly revealing new information. The video information was valid at the time of creation but may not reflect all current research findings.

Terminology tip: Brian Bennett mentions petechial hemorrhage. A petechial hemorrhage is a tiny pinpoint red mark that is an important sign of asphyxia caused by some external means of obstructing the airways. They are sometimes also called petechiae.

A while ago, Bennett wrote this on our ACFJ Facebook page:

and Bennett also has noticed that:

Domestic violence within the church seems to be a taboo subject. Many churches are unwilling to approach the issue in spite of having numerous opportunities to do so.  I see many churches having women’s and men’s conferences or couples conferences instructing both to have a servant’s heart for another and keeping God first in all things.  Much talk on the purpose of marriage, the mirrored relationship of Jesus to God and God to the people…and more!  Not one mention though of how to deal with domestic violence.  No matter the size of one’s church, statistics tell us there is someone who is or has experienced domestic violence!

Investigating Non Fatal Strangulation Assault:  A Trauma Informed Approach – Tom Tremblay

Tom Tremblay is a retired Chief of Police from Burlington, Vermont and the former Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Public Safety. He has been an advisor and instructor in the investigation of domestic violence and sexual assault.

We are super-impressed by the way Tom Tremblay recommends how to question victims in a way that understands their distress and how the trauma might have affected them.

Also by Tom Tremblay: Sexual Assault:  A Trauma Informed Approach to Law Enforcement First Response.


We have added all these videos to our resources pages Training Materials and Video & Audio.

And we’ve added Nurse Joanna and Brian Bennett’s videos to our Safety Planning page since we think they are particularly helpful for victims.

Thank you to Brian Bennett for reviewing this post for us and for his additions!


More resources on Strangulation and Choking

Strangulation Training Institute – this site is recommended by Brian Bennett

Strangulation Assessment Card (PDF) – can be used by professionals or victims of strangulation

Strangulation Investigation Questions (PDF) – for anyone who a victim of domestic abuse might seek help from

Signs and Symptoms of Strangulation  (PDF, Version 1 in English)
Signs and Symptoms of Strangulation  (PDF, Version 2 in English)
Signs and Symptoms of Strangulation  (PDF, Version 1 in Spanish)
Signs and Symptoms of Strangulation  (PDF, Version 2 in Spanish)

Facts Victims of Strangulation (Choking) Need to Know – Brochure  (PDF in English)
Facts Victims of Strangulation (Choking) Need to Know – Brochure  (PDF in Spanish)

Intimate Partner Violence & Strangulation in the Deaf Community – a video with subtitles for the hearing impaired.

No Place for a Smile  (PDF) – an article for dentists.
Dentists routinely assess a patient’s head, neck and mouth.  They have a unique and excellent opportunity to recognize whether or not a patient is being abused. This article seeks to enlist the collaboration of the dental community in the effort to prevent domestic/intimate partner violence and provide more information about the signs and symptoms of domestic violence injuries, including strangulation, which is often overlooked by medical and dental professionals.

Update added 30 April 2018:

Domestic violence victims suffer ‘shocking’ rate of brain injury, report finds — An Australian study found that in domestic violence admissions to hospital, 40% of victims had sustained a brain injury.


  1. S.

    Trigger Warning!

    There is also smothering and suffocation which are worse in my opinion because it takes longer for the victim to lose consciousness as the neck arteries are not involved so the victim stays conscious for a great deal longer and it is way more terrorizing. There’s a reason why hanging takes place with a noose around the neck. Plus, the attacker who smothers / suffocates is aware of the ways how neck strangulation can be proven, whereas strategic smothering and suffocation cannot. Brain damage occurs because of the lack of oxygen. And with the nose and mouth completely blocked, one cannot even make a single, slightest in the bit, sound even though they are screaming (or trying to scream). Complete silence.

    Also, for strangulation, if the victim looses her bowels and / or urinates on herself, that is something that should not be hidden (yes it may be embarrassing to have to report such) because it shows how close to death the victim actually came.

    I’m really glad you posted this, Barb, as strangulation is a very crucial part of DV and lethality. Most studies that backtrack from where the woman is murdered by her abuser show that the victim was strangled at some point. It is a clear demonstration of the capacity and willingness to kill. Anyone who has strangled or suffocated or smothered their victim should be branded on their foreheads so that the rest of the world knows this is a would-be killer / murderer walking amongst them.

    Dr. Phil once did a show on this young couple in their 20s and the woman had been choked out to the point of losing consciousness countless times. She had this nervous, embarrassed laugh so she came across not as seriously as she should have but to be on national television having everyone know your partner, the father of your small children is regularly choking you out, is humiliating, embarrassing, and some people have a nervous laugh. Anyhow, the crappy Dr. Phil doesn’t speak truth and say, ‘this guy is a felonious criminal who is going to kill you and you are suffering not only cumulative brain damage and cumulative trauma that is going to mar the rest of your life….’ or something like that, but rather Dr. Phil is like, ‘hmm, there must be something wrong with your [the abuser’s] brain chemistry because you seem so nice as you sit here with me, and you must be out of control, so let’s have you thoroughly tested at such-and-such’s institute because there might be an accumulation of heavy metals in your body or …….’ (and the stupidity went on and on).

    If your abuser is strangling or suffocating or smothering you, even if he has yet to do it to the point of rendering you unconscious, your abuser is demonstrating his clear willingness and capacity to kill you.

    Strangulation, suffocation, and smothering is the ultimate measure and demonstration of complete control. It is the abuser telling his victim that she breathes because he allows her to breathe and he can and will revoke that ‘privilege / permission’ at any time he pleases, for whatever reason.

    • Yes. Brian Bennett talks about smothering in his video, as well as strangulation.

    • Thanks for you comment S. I have emended the title of this post so it includes smothering.

  2. Song of Joy

    Trigger Warning!

    This is the truth.
    My mom was once choked / strangled by my dad in the first few years marriage when I was a little girl. My heart breaks that she blamed herself to a certain extent, absorbed the horror of it and remained married for many more abusive years. But eventually she was able to divorce him.

    Long after the divorce our family suffered a tragic homicide deliberately precipitated by my father. I’m going to refrain from the details because it wasn’t a straightforward crime but rather involved long-term, calculated lies, abuse, alienation and grooming to destabilize and destroy someone else psychologically. It seems to me that when my dad was no longer getting satisfaction out of life anymore, he decided he had a death wish for all of us.

    Choking someone (i.e. cutting off their oxygen supply in a violent way, including holding someone’s head under water, etc.) is really a form of torture, which can lead to murder. This was the modus operandi of a lot of serial killers such as Ted Bundy and Gary Ridgway (the Green River killer).

    Men who choke their wives or girlfriends are basically giving themselves away…they have a murderous intent, whether they finish the job now or much, much later.

    • Still Struggling

      Song of Joy, I’m so sorry you and your mom suffered through that. Breaks my heart.

      • Song of Joy

        Thank you Still Struggling, for your kind words.

    • Thank you so much Song of Joy, for sharing this. Bless you for telling your story. Bless you for telling the truth.

      Is your mom still alive? I’m so sorry you and she suffered so much trauma.

      • Song of Joy

        Thank you Barbara. Yes, my dear mom is still alive, by the grace of God. Someday I may talk about what happened, but it’s hard to explain the taint and shame one feels when there is an intra-family homicide, and the public humiliation resulting from it. It’s impossible to explain a life-time of gaslighting and deception to other people (except to others who have experienced it like yourself, and folks on this blog). Most people can’t comprehend the long-term abuse behind closed doors when all they’ve seen or heard about is the respectable, generous public image of the abuser, and his tales of slander and woe.

        But the Lord is with us and we are slowly healing…life is different, in that we are all much more private and withdrawn from other people and activities. We all have C-PTSD and grief. But most of us are functioning in our everyday lives. We have many normal days where we can enjoy the beauties of creation and small pleasures like sitting together in the sun, having a good cup of coffee or taking a walk in the woods. Sometimes I have feelings of bitterness and anger, and that comes out in some of my postings. However, the Lord Jesus is giving me a great deal of hope, and I know that someday He will wipe away all of our tears. I do appreciate this blog so much.

  3. Still Struggling

    Potential Trigger Warning!

    My husband once pushed me up against the door when I tried to run out of the house after chasing me. He held me by my throat and threatened to take our kids away. I was terrified. He did not really choke me because I could breathe but he held me there at least a full minute. It was the worst incident of violence I’d suffered. I wanted to call someone for help but he watched every move I made all night. I thought if the police got involved he’d be arrested and possibly lose his job and he begged me to just stay.

    Many years later I got professional help from The Family Justice Center (one of the listed resources in the links) and discovered that abuse doesn’t mean being beaten. I thought when I went in for help I may have been a victim but I wasn’t sure it was bad enough. That’s how twisted my thinking was.

    My counselor there helped me to see that I did belong there getting help because I thought someone else needed her more than me. After several sessions I discovered she was right about how severe some of the incidences of abuse had been. I minimized it because it seldom was that violent. I did not talk to her about the worst sexual assaults for 2 1/2 years!

    It has been a very long process to accept how badly I’ve been abused. Just writing that sentence seems weird to me. The fog started to lift in 2007 when I went for help and read Why Does He Do That? It’s been 11 years and I’m still sometimes doubtful it has been that bad. However, I’ve learned so much from the articles here and I have come a long way since I found this blog the summer of 2014 that I see myself healing and moving forward. The information in articles like these keeps opening my eyes wider and helps me focus on God’s provision and His love for me.

    This article was scary to deal with for me but I’m grateful for it and for all I read and learn here. I don’t know what I would do or where I’d be without A Cry For Justice.

    • Thanks Still Struggling! I’m glad — and encouraged — to hear about how the Family Justice Centre helped you.

  4. Anon

    Potential Trigger Warning!

    Does suffocation have similar effects? For example having a pillow held over your face until you can’t breathe? There are some abusers who don’t strangle but suffocate, they seem similar?

    • Potential Trigger Warning!

      I recommend watching the videos I have linked to in this post. In at least one of them the presenter explains that suffocation has some similar effects to strangulation. Both things cut off the air supply. That is how they are similar.

  5. Anonymous

    I think it’s really sad that here we have so many women who have been abused, attacked, raped, strangled, beaten-up, bruised, bloodied, or controlled by threats of such violence and abuse.

    Sure we can keep it moving and try our best to heal but all the ruined, devalued, degraded, terrorized, victimized lives…

    So many wicked people in this world. So much evil. I’m so glad you exist Barbara, and TWBTC. This ministry keeps so many of us alive. Maybe not functioning the best, struggling to just get through the day, but alive, nonetheless. At least that is true for me.

  6. Many thanks to the anonymous reader who has given me permission to post her story here:

    Potential Trigger Warning!

    Decades ago, when I was in my teens, my father tried to strangle me while he was in a drunken rage. He was an alcoholic and a domestic abuser.

    I don’t remember how I got free from his grip. My mother and sister came screaming to my rescue, and I somehow got away. I ran.

    No one ever called the police, and the next day, he apologized by saying “sorry if I got a little rough with you last night.” Several years later, when my dad stopped drinking, he genuinely apologized to me.

    My father died. I moved on with my life, got married, had children, and was born again in adulthood.

    A few years ago I was a member of a church that practices “biblical counseling” (among other methods) to fix members who struggle with anxiety, PTSD, etc. I had shared that story with only three trusted “friends” who attend the church. I had never shared it with any of the staff of the church. But the staff used the information about the strangulation episode to trigger me.

    They set up a situation in an office where I was supposed to meet with a friend / staff member. She asked me a question about how to fix the neck on her sweater. She held the article up and told me it “choked her” and made a choking motion to her neck. She repeated the phrase while putting her hand up to her neck in a choking gesture several times. I felt the room swirling around me. A part of me felt they had set me up and knew what she was doing, but I felt like I couldn’t fight it. Kind of like the night my dad was choking me – his grip was so strong that I didn’t have enough strength to free myself.

    That night I went through terrible flashbacks. I thought I was going to lose my mind. On one level, I felt certain that the church leaders did this to me on purpose. There was another part of me (the part that wanted to believe the best of them) that could not believe they would do such a thing to someone they cared about without permission. I felt nauseous. My head was in a fog… It was horrible. I wondered if I should go to the hospital, but then I was afraid if I did, they might commit me, and put me on some kind of drug, and then the church would really have me where they wanted me – totally broken and under their control. All of these confusing thoughts went through my mind as I felt like I was fighting for my sanity.

    This episode of “triggering to fix “ me was not the only thing we began to notice that was wrong in this church. It was more or less a wake up call to me. It took me months to tell my husband my suspicions that it was done on purpose, because there was a part of me that continued to want to protect my church leaders.

    After several other things became obvious to us, we left the church. Leaving did not come easily either, but that’s another story.

    I’m sharing this story with you because I think what happened to me as a teen was bad enough, but for the church to take that information and use it in their own selfish twisted way to “fix” me or make me conform to their idea of what a member should look like was reckless and irresponsible.

    My father committed the act face to face. It was horribly frightening. The church leaders committed the act in a very subversive and deceptive way. Both situations caused terrible trauma and damage to me.

    When the church ministers used that information to trigger me, for whatever their purposes, their cowardly method created a situation in which I could not even confront them on their irresponsible behavior. They masked what they were doing so well that all I could do was walk away from them – knowing my suspicions, without being able to directly confront them. That is abuse by the church, and people should know that it happens.

    The church we left has recovery groups (Celebrate Recovery). I believe that is one way they obtain information on individuals in their congregation. It is very unethical to exploit the traumatic incidents from people’s past experiences in order to manipulate people who are in need of compassion and healing.

    Within the last six months or so, I read a book called The Body Keeps the Score. This book was helpful to me in understanding many of the issues I’ve had to deal with throughout my life. I found myself thinking that the church has no business trying to help people from traumatic backgrounds if they cannot help in the right way. The church would be better to leave the individual alone and just be lovingly supportive rather than using their ill-trained counselors and lay people to do more harm and damage to victims of abuse.

    • anonymous

      The devious, deceptive, ‘innocent’ inquiry as to how to knit a sweater’s neck??? To trigger you, having known about your father’s strangulation attack??? If they were doing it on purpose that is some seriously evil, evil, evil stuff right there. If they thought they were ‘healing you’ or ‘helping you’ that’s some of the most misguided stuff around.

      [There are] Women who no longer wear necklaces because they were once strangled and cannot stand the thought of a chain around their necks…..

      That church-related ‘triggering’ deception and guise of sweater knitting tips…that’s so upsetting. I have people doing all sorts of triggering things to me on purpose and then they can claim to be ‘innocent’ and just doing A, B, or C, and so on it goes….

      I’m sorry that was done to you, anonymous survivor who emailed Barb. Thanks for sharing your story as I deal with that kind of setup so often, with people making certain to trigger me to make me look ‘crazy’, to rattle me, to distress me, etc.

      • AppleofHisEye

        Thank you, Anonymous, for your validating response. This episode at the church, as well as other similar incidents, had a very traumatic effect on me.

        When it happened to me as a teen, I just had to keep on going. I knew it was wrong and a horrible thing for my dad to do, however there was a lot of abuse going on in our household; it just seemed like one more rough night. It took me years to realize the effect it had on me and my mom and siblings.

        After the episode at church, I pretty much carried on the same way. I felt like a zombie, barely in touch with the world, but I kept on going, fulfilling all my obligations, feeling like it was my fault, and there must have been something I did to deserve this “discipline”.

        The church, as well as some other counselors apparently believe that triggering methods are a way to break someone of their fear or anxiety, which they label as “sin”. They really don’t know much about the neuroscience behind trauma.

        After I got away, and did some of my own research, I learned that triggering as therapy actually does more harm to people who experienced trauma in childhood. They almost pushed me over the edge. God was good though: He did not loosen His grip on me. I know that it is because of His unfailing love for me that I made it through all of that.

        I agree with what you said about the reason they use the triggering in a deceptive way. If you confront them, they can claim innocence, try to make it all look like coincidence, or even worse, try to spiritualize it and make it seem as though it was some kind of providential act.
        This is the sad truth about people who are claiming to be shepherds to God’s children, but are really wolves in sheep’s clothing.

      • Thanks and bless you, AppleofHisEye. 🙂

  7. Steeped in Trauma

    Trigger Warning!

    More than a decade ago, when I was still married to my evil ex-husband, he strangled me one morning (after a long torturous night of rape and assault) in front of our pre-school / primary age children.

    As I lay on the floor, his knees on my chest and his hands around my neck, squeezing my throat, everything started to go black.

    In a split second I just KNEW that if I died there on the floor, our children would also die too that day. I knew that he would kill them to silence them, then make it look as though I had murdered my babies then killed myself.

    Suddenly and miraculously, I found enormous strength – the type you hear about when people lift cars up to save someone (usually their own child), trapped underneath.

    I managed to throw him off me although he was incredibly strong. I ran into the kitchen and grabbed a knife. By this time, my one older child had run to the phone to call for help and his ‘father’ had grabbed him. My younger child was screaming.

    Terrified that he would hurt our child, I told the monster that if he even harmed one hair on my child’s head, I would put the knife straight through his (the monster’s) heart.
    Later on he used that to smear my name, telling his new narcissistic supply that I was a ‘crazy knife-wielding maniac’.

    Our church leader [clergyman] came round a little while later (the call made by my child reached him before the phone was smashed to pieces). By then I was in a distressed, dishevelled state whilst the monster was cool, calm and collected.
    However, I told the pastor everything, whilst the monster shook his head sadly and rolled his eyes at the pastor.
    Neither of us went back to that church and we moved away not long afterwards.

    A couple of years later when I was divorcing the monster, I contacted that clergyman to ask him if he would make a statement for me about the marital rape issue. He denied that I had ever told him anything about it and refused to help me.

    All these years since, I thought my memory loss, brain fog, depression, anxiety, inability to focus or even function at times, etc etc, was due to C-PTSD. Perhaps some of it is due to brain damage due to lack of oxygen during that event more than a decade ago, I don’t know.

    • Thank you so much, Steeped in Trauma, for sharing your story!

      I am confident it will help other survivors.

      What a story. Praise God for giving you that immense strength at the dire moment!

      Since this appears to be your first comment on our blog, allow me to invite you to read our New Users’ Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog. (You will notice I airbrushed a few details from your comment, like the ages of your children.)

      And after reading the New Users’ Info page, I suggest you look at our FAQ page.

      Welcome to ACFJ. 🙂

    • anonymous

      Potential Trigger Warning!

      The nurse’s video said how brain cells are dying and indeed it is changing who you are. Just like stroke victims — they say that EVERY SECOND counts — and brain cells are dying — never to be again. So, just like with stroke victims, some can go through treatment, physical therapy, etc., and recover to a certain extent, but there is a ‘before’ and an ‘after’ because one’s brain tissue was dying and once a brain cell dies, there’s no coming back.

      Same with head injuries that are sustained from violent shaking, throwing wives against walls, the floor, etc. The whiplash, the acceleration and deceleration, it inflicts brain damage and that forever changes who you are.

      Men who beat and abuse their wives in very smart, calculated ways go for head injuries and strangulation or smothering. Deprivation of oxygen, violent shaking, beating one’s head against the wall or the floor, dropping someone on their head. It all forever mars the survivor’s life and it is pure evil.

  8. oryxx

    I’m quite nervous to leave a first comment here…I’m a woman in my thirties who has been in therapy for many years. I have actual memories of corporal punishment, my otherwise very mild mannered and quiet dad losing his temper and getting in my face, kind of shouting and throwing things.

    My mom once had to pull my dad off one of my siblings because he had his hand round my sibling’s throat. When I was told this by my mom, I immediately felt it deep in my body as truth and started crying; the morning after I was in such pain that I thought about swallowing a ton of paracetamol [acetaminophen].

    Another time, when I had merely made a joke at his expense, he shouted at me and grabbed at my face, I could see the uncontrollable rage contorting his face. When I revealed this to my church, my pastor said that he was going to do nothing about it and another pastor said something like “I can’t hold my dad for a sin (to my sibling) when I wasn’t there.”

    I started to get, well, dreams and visions of violence in the home and sexual abuse outside of it. A woman whilst praying over me said that God told her to say that I was believing lies from the enemy and that “what I remembered that happened isn’t the same as what actually happened” (though the two incidents above are obviously not included in that) “he didn’t know what he was doing”. Since that point I have stopped doing my inner child work.

    I am so very confused and lost and hurt. I have never had a real relationship with men. I fear very much being in a marriage like mum and being in such a household made me very depressed.

    My parents are still together. I am estranged from them and am very confused about the principle of reconciliation, and what God would require of me or expect me to tolerate in a relationship.

    It’s good to talk.

    • Dear Oryxx, thank you so much for sharing your story, and welcome to the blog. 🙂

      I hope you ticked the box when you submitted the comments form and are now reading my reply. If you didn’t tick the box, you can always submit another comment just to tick the box. All this is explained in detail at our New Users’ Info page, which I encourage you to read.

      I also think you will find it helpful to read our FAQ page.

      It’s clear from what you said that your father is a domestic abuser and he did and still does abuse his wife and children. I encourage you to mentally cast off all that terrible ‘counsel’ you have received from those pastors and that woman who prayed over you (I think she was deceived). There is a way out of your confusion. You have been taught a lot of legalistic hogwash in the church you have been in, and the so-called Christians who have taught you sound like they have no idea about the effects of trauma and how to recover from trauma.

      You are not alone! Many of our readers have grown up with one or more abusive parents, and many of us have suffered sexual abuse as well as other kinds of abuse.

      I think you will find this page very helpful: What if the abusers were one’s parents?

      • oryxx

        Thank you for your reply, I’m in a turmoil. I wanted to ask, do you or are there Christians out there who still accept me, even if I can’t accept or hear what you are saying about my dad?

        This may sound a strange comment…but did I at all re-edit or send a slightly different version of this to this website?

      • Hi Oryxx,
        I slightly edited your comment, to help protect you from being identified by people you know who might happen to find this site and read your comment.
        I should have said I edited your comment a bit before publishing it; please forgive me.

        You asked:

        do you or are there Christians out there who still accept me, even if I can’t accept or hear what you are saying about my dad?

        I want to honor you for asking those questions. It shows how brave you are.

        Yes! I accept you — and I am sure the regular readers of this blog also accept you.
        And it’s okay for you to not accept what I said about your dad. It’s okay with me if you disagree with what I said. And it’s okay with me if you are not able to accept what I said.

        I accept you no matter where you are at. And yes, I think there are Christians — true Christians — who will accept and support you, just as Jesus accepts and supports you in all your confusion and uncertainty.

        There are many people in the visible church who I believe are not Christians. That includes many pastors.

        But there are real Christians in this world, and we see and know each other by our love for the Lord Jesus Christ, our love for His truth and grace, and our love for each other.

  9. anonymous

    I think it was one of the above linked videos — a prosecutor and some other people explaining trauma and victim responses and there was an example given of taking notes on Post-Its and then randomly putting those Post-Its all over a really messy office, some in drawers or inside files, etc. And then trying to relay what happened.

    That’s such a great example why things can be remembered at some points and why things cannot be recalled at other times and the inconsistencies bother others but they don’t have a traumatized brain, they haven’t gone through it.

    Also, there was information about how different levels of chemicals are released during trauma and if a certain level is too high, in order to handle the pain, the victim can laugh. And if you are someone who has a nervous laugh, and add to it, trauma, and suddenly a person is laughing and appearing inappropriately ‘happier’ than one would expect. But that’s one’s internal pain control, much like those who have sustained serious head injuries don’t know that they are injured. They just wander about, thinking they are fine and others are all, ‘hey you need to go to the ER’ and they say ‘I’m okay, I feel fine’.

    Also, just as a knowledge sharing thing, I read somewhere that with sexual assaults, molestation, sexual abuse, etc., sometimes victims feel great shame that their bodies were responsive. And the perps will also use this in saying to their victims that the victim liked it, wanted it, etc. But when a person is cutting onions, their eyes water. Now is the person crying and sad? (Possibly, we’ll assume a happy chef enjoying her job cutting onions.) No. Merely the eyes are watering because that’s what happens when cutting onions.

  10. Confused

    Potential Trigger Warning!

    My first husband, from early on in our 10 year marriage used to grab me by the throat as a ‘joke’. He wouldn’t squeeze. He’d just suddenly, when I’d least expect it and unprovoked – grab my throat. It was like he was practicing to see how swiftly he could do it, or something. I would tell him to stop and he would laugh. It was never when he was angry…but sort of like a game or an annoying thing he would do. Weirdly I got [so] used to him doing it, that it became a kind of ‘normal’ irritating behaviour. It wasn’t until I left, after escalating abuse and threats of violence – that I looked back on this behaviour and realized how sinister it actually was. Like a veiled threat, that at any given time he could grab me by the throat and decide to squeeze.

  11. Trigger Warning!

    Domestic violence victims suffer ‘shocking’ rate of brain injury, report finds [Internet Archive link]

    —An Australian study found that in domestic violence admissions to hospital, 40% of victims had sustained a brain injury

    • Another Abused Woman

      Trigger Warning!

      From the linked article:

      It escalates and escalates until you end up disabled.

      And it’s really cunning of abusers to inflict brain injuries because if they do it privately, in a very calculated, long-term, precise manner, then there’s basically a walking dead woman that is produced. And the brain injuries’ impacts on her life keep compounding, and worsening when combined with increasing age-related health declines.

      Violent shaking is a favored technique by abusers because it basically shears the brain tissue, like taking Jell-O and shaking a sheet of Jell-O really violently and you see how the Jell-O tears, add to that the fact that neck injuries are occurring, and your brain tissue is slamming up against the front and back of your skull and the bruising, the swelling, the bleeding, and the tearing that takes place isn’t visible to law enforcement because it’s internal. And the abused woman has just had her brain scrambled all over again and is just trying to not fall over, perhaps is unconscious, can’t do much of anything but breathe and hope she dies soon and if this is repeated over and over and over again, then pretty soon the abused woman has significantly lowered functioning and cognitive abilities and after brain injuries it is likely the victim cannot even remember what happened. ….

      And when the victim cannot remember with ease everything that happened, then the abuser triumphs much like with rape victims who are rendered unconscious or incapacitated and then the rapist says at trial how she wanted it, she consented, and the rape victim cannot remember everything so the rapist and his rape-apologist attorneys shred the victim on the stand because she cannot remember or her memory is less than perfect because she was just traumatized, brutalized, and raped. ….

      The deceleration involved in violent shaking is super damaging. In car accidents, the injured person who has smacked into something and sustains whiplash, that is one time. And look how carefully they are treated, neck braces comes out, strapped to back boards, driven by ambulance to the hospital, MRIs and CT scans, all sorts of stuff. But the battered woman is being violently shaken at home, in privacy, where her head is being made into a bobble-head by her abuser, and she is shaken and her head is beaten until she is unconscious.

      And then it starts all over again, in time.

      And nobody sees it because the abuser isn’t about to let her be seen by any ER docs. And he just endlessly tells her how its all her fault, how she is making a big deal out of nothing, how she is a big baby who chooses to cry, how much of a waste and expense she already is, how she is a freak and nobody would ever care about what the abuser is doing to her because she is worth less than a dog and a loser and should just hurry up and kill herself already because the world doesn’t need her continued burdensome, leech existence.

      And with all the brain injuries, all the brainwashing, all the sensory deprivation, the extreme isolation, etc. the abuser is in complete and utter control.

      Some abusers deserve prison time but they are the least likely to be put behind bars because they are so very good at predation and abuse.

      • Yesterday I went to an event run by Brain Injury Australia [Internet Archive link].

        They launched a report into Australia’s first attempt at estimating the prevalence of acquired brain injury among family violence victims and perpetrators. I will be writing a post about this. But I want to say, Anonymous, that everything you say above was confirmed by the experts I heard from yesterday. Medical experts in brain injury in both children and adults, women who have survived family violence (including some who have brain injuries as a result of family violence), experts from DV Victoria and NTV (No To Violence).

        Trigger Warning!

        The shaking of the victim’s head back and forth breaks the veins on the outside of the brain. Those veins are attached to the skull and they carry blood from the brain back to the lungs. When those veins are broken there is bleeding. This can cause brain damage. And the brain can also become swollen… which may cause brain damage if it is not treated quickly.

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