Today I was reading a story about a tragic domestic homicide in Ohio. What struck me is what's all too common--this looked like the perfect family from the outside. Even the victim's sisters weren't aware of the extent of the abuse. Often we think that the telltale signs of abuse will be all too evident; black eyes, anxiety, depression. Monica Weber-Jeter's story artfully illustrates how violence rages unseen and unheard behind closed doors.
Even though police were aware of a long pattern of verbal altercations, because Ohio does not recognize strangulation as a felony level offense they missed a critical indicator of lethality risk. Abusers frequently put hands on a victim's neck. It's a terrifying feeling, but this risk is often minimized. Gael Strack, a national strangulation expert, challenges this minimization, "The minute you put pressure on someone's neck, you are announcing you are a killer."
New Your State has laws against criminal obstruction of breathing and strangulation. Since these laws were enacted, the severity... and prevalence... of this form of abuse is increasingly recognized.
If you, or someone you know, has a partner who uses breathing obstruction as a form of abuse, talk to an advocate now. This form of abuse can cause irreversible brain trauma in less than a minute. Longer can result in death.
Monica Weber-Jeter's neighbors probably never for a moment imagined that a killer lived in her home... nor did she.