Strangulation: The 4-1-1

May 13, 2022 | by: Cesar J Segura
Strangulation: The 4-1-1

Often, people who have been victimized by Domestic Violence have experienced some extent of strangulation in their relationship. It is estimated that 68% of women who experience intimate partner violence will also experience a near fatal strangulation. The Faces of Hope Victim Center defines strangulation as “a type of asphyxiation characterized by a closure of blood vessels and/or air passages of the neck as a result of external pressure”.

Strangulation (commonly called “Choking” in society), can be caused manually by kneeling, standing, or thr wrapping hands or forearms around a victim’s throat. Ligature strangulation can include using a cord like object to apply pressure to a victim’s neck. It is noted that 11 pounds of pressure to both carotid arteries for only 10 seconds can cause unconsciousness. Additionally, if pressure is increased to 33 pounds, a person’s trachea will completely close. After just 4-5 minutes of strangulation a person can become brain dead.

Strangulation can have extremely severe consequences for a victim. Listed below are a few physical signs and symptoms that strangulation can have.

Signs of Strangulation:

  • A red or flushed facial expression (Petechiae)
  • Bruising in the mouth or a swollen tongue/lips
  • Blood shot eyes
  • Facial drooping
  • Swelling in the face

Symptoms of Strangulation:

  1. Raspy/hoarse of voice
  2. Loss of voice
  3. Trouble swallowing or breathing
  4. Involuntary urination or defecation
  5. Loss of consciousness/fainting
  6. Dizziness/headaches

There are a multitude of signs and symptoms associated with strangulation, though all may not be visible. If you do believe that you have been strangled it is important to pay attention to and document any changes you see so a proper assent of your injuries can be done. Most importantly, it is important to seek advice from a medical professional as soon as possible after you have been strangled.


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This website was produced by the Cahuilla Consortium under grant award #2019-VO-GX-0010, awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed on this website are those of the contributors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.