Thursday 7th December, 2023
“I married John in 1997, I would have been in my forties then. The first couple of years were pretty good, but I either didn’t notice or ignored the warning signs such as wanting me to move away from my family or trying to separate me from my friends by turning up on my nights out.
As time progressed, he started losing his temper, initially, he banged about, then he started destroying my things. He once scratched a couple of my cd’s because he was fed up of hearing them.
I am fairly bolshy and so I argued back, I even struck back (I grew up with four brothers, I’m pretty tough)
Everything came to a head one night when we’d had an argument in a pub – he went home, but I stayed for a pub quiz
When I got home he accused me of being with someone else, I argued back and it culminated with me on the floor, him on top of me choking me, I literally couldn’t breathe. My daughter heard the noise downstairs and rushed down, I heard her speak and he replied “Fuck off this is none of your business”
She was seven months pregnant at the time. So she sat on the settee and kicked at him repeatedly until she managed to kick him off. She called the police (even though he had threatened to “hurt the baby”)
His response? Oh fuck, there goes my job!”
“I have a really great support network in my family, but the attack still had a profound effect on me, for a while I was scared to go out without my daughter. In fact, even now there are areas of town I avoid because he still has friends there who believe I lied.“
What Liz experienced is now a crime in and of itself. It took until 7th June 2022 for Non-Fatal Strangulation to become a specific crime under the Domestic Abuse Act 2021.
Up until then it was very difficult to prosecute under existing ABH laws because 50% of victims are not left with any physical marks.
It is estimated that more than 20,000 domestic abuse victims per year experience non-fatal strangulation, this represents around 44% of domestic abuse victims.
It is common tactic of abusers, sometimes they will place the victims into “choke holds.” It is an act of abuse carried out intimately, often eye to eye, with both the victim and perpetrator knowing that her life is quite literally in his hands: over a third of victims of non-fatal strangulation believed they were going to die. In fact many do, strangulation and asphyxiation are the second most common method of murder in female homicides, after stabbing, and it has been shown that a woman whose partner has used non-fatal strangulation in the past is seven times more likely to be murdered by him.
Often victims do not realise the seriousness of this act, nor the danger they are in from it. Long term effects can include internal bleeding, tinnitus and ear bleeding, dizziness, nausea, sore throats, changes to the voice, loss of memory and even strokes several months later as a result of blood clots, as well as PTSD and other mental health impacts