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What is the difference between strangulation and choking, and what can I do to protect myself?

You may not be aware of this, but strangulation is considered an act of intimate partner violence (IPV). If your partner does this to you, and you are feeling uncomfortable or you do not consent to this being done to you, then you should know that this is not okay and you do not have to experience this.

It is important to note that strangulation and choking are not the same thing. The media misrepresents the act of being strangled, especially by a partner that you love and trust as “choking”, which minimizes the severity of the crime.

“Choking” is an internal obstruction of the airway, such as when food is accidentally lodged in the throat. “Strangulation”, on the other hand, is an intentional act that involves external pressure to the neck by any means, obstructing blood vessels and/or airflow resulting in asphyxiation, or low levels of oxygen to the brain.

If you have experienced or are currently experiencing this in your intimate relationship, know that you are not alone and you can seek help by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 (SAFE).

Source: Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention, Family Justice Center Alliance

This article was written and edited by the Tayo editorial desk and has been reviewed by an independent panel of subject matter experts.

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