When I wrote this story about sexual assault, I also talked to Mary Thysell a little bit about domestic violence, an even more common problem, and strangulation came up.
I said I was fairly certain that in Minnesota, choking someone meant additional penalties under the law, and Thysell corrected me, pointing out that “choking” and “strangulation” are not the same thing.
She gave me a brochure: Strangulation in North Dakota.
I wish this brochure didn’t have to exist.
In it, described in accurate, dispassionate and clinical language, it states that strangulation counts as “serious bodily injury” in North Dakota’s Century Code, and therefore constitutes an aggravated assault.
It also states there are four types of strangulation: Hanging, manual (bare hands), chokehold (elbow bend compression) and ligature (using a cord-like object).
All very matter-of-fact. Other than a list of “common trauma victim thoughts and stages,” there’s very little indication of the shock, terror and desperate attempts to survive these people must undergo.
Are there any other reasons to strangle someone than attempting to kill her, or him? At best, the strangler can’t possibly care if he kills or permanently damages the victim, can he?
What does it feel like to know that a loved one is trying to kill you, or maybe just doesn’t care whether he or she does?
Here are some facts from the brochure.
- 10 percent of all violent deaths are from strangulation.
- It only takes 11 pounds of pressure placed on both carotid arteries for 10 seconds to result in a loss of consciousness.
- Brain death occurs in 4 to 5 minutes.
- Death can occur in 11.5 seconds if both arteries are cut off or blocked.
- Underlying brain damage can mean that death occurs several weeks later, too.
I still wish the brochure didn’t have to exist.