By Sahar Adatia and Jimmy Singh.
A 41-year-old man from Texas has been charged after he choked and headbutted his girlfriend because she commented that his fart smelled bad.
According to accounts from The Sun, in January 2020, Christopher Ragsdale was arrested after police were forced to take action on a disturbance that was reported at a property in Wichita Falls, Texas.
When officers arrived at the scene, the victim conveyed they were sitting on a friend’s couch when Mr Ragsdale allegedly farted and she told him his fart “smelled horrible”.
It is alleged Mr Ragsdale then grabbed her by the hair and hurled her to the ground.
He then mounted the woman’s back and coiled his arm around her neck, before proceeding to choke her.
Police allege the victim then called for her friend to help her and ordered Mr Ragsdale to leave before going to get her keys.
It was at this point that Mr Ragsdale allegedly headbutted his girlfriend and yelled at her before the friend could intervene.
The victim was left with a red mark circling her neck as well as marks to her forehead.
Mr Ragsdale was arrested and charged over the incident.
He was held in lieu of a $10,000 bond.
The Severe Side Effects of Choking that Often Go Unnoticed
Choking, otherwise referred to as strangulation, is now recognised as one of the most common and fatal forms of domestic violence.
In fact, so severe is its impact given its capacity to cause unconsciousness within seconds, that it has been described as a “last warning shot” before death – with the ability for death to occur in minutes.
According to research in the United States, women who survive an incident of strangulation are up to seven times more like to go on to die at the hands of their partner.
Moreover, research also reveals strangulation and non-lethal strangulation cause various side effects that are not only unyielding, but also hard to detect.
Whether choking is carried out by bare hands squeezing or pushing on the neck, or by using a ligature, victims who have survived any such episode report all sorts of clinical symptoms, including sore throat, loss of sensation, memory loss, anxiety, loss of consciousness, blood clots, strokes, paralysis, and changes to vision, vocal chords, hearing and breathing.
For women who are pregnant and suffer an incident of strangulation, some even report miscarriage in the aftermath.
Indeed, for the many treating doctors, paramedics and even police officers who attend to victims of non-lethal strangulation, these lurking side effects often go missed.
Moreover, perhaps because these effects of choking are often not obvious or immediate injuries, this type of violence is often minimised, missed and misidentified by such health workers, other service providers and police – a worrying fact given the act of strangulation is both exceptionally dangerous and a risk factor for future serious harm and death.
In a bid to help save lives, survivors and medical professionals are now pushing for increased training and awareness around non-lethal strangulation.
Case Study: Survivor of Strangulation Reveals Side Effects Were Delayed and Severe
ABC News reports of a Queensland woman who was strangled by her partner in 2018.
Working through the incident, she realised the side effects of strangulation can be delayed and unsympathetic.
“I have PTSD. I have vocal cord dysfunction,” the woman, whose name was changed for privacy, says.
“I’ll get halfway through a sentence and have to stop because I can’t swallow properly and I can’t breathe properly because the neck just spasms because of the damage done to the vocal cords.
“I have a dent in the back of my arm, which will be there forever, from trying to protect myself.
“I have ongoing back issues. I tore my major stomach muscle, which has never repaired, so that means I have a weak leg now.”
The woman also emphasised that it’s not just about the instant that the incident happened.
“It’s all the after-effects and the aftermath that it leaves you with,” she says.
The offence is taken very seriously, and as such, carries a maximum penalty of jail time, with the years of imprisonment determined by the nature of the choking or strangulation.
A person guilty of suffocating, strangling or choking a person if done without consent will be liable to face up to 5-years jail if it was done intentionally, prescribed by section 37(1A) Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).
However, if a person intentionally chokes, suffocates or strangles another person, rendering the other person unconscious, insensible or incapable of resistance, and is reckless as to rendering the other person unconscious, insensible or incapable of resistance, then the maximum penalty rises to 10 years imprisonment.
Furthermore, if a person chokes, suffocates or strangles another person, rendering the other person unconscious, insensible or incapable of resistance, and does so with the intention of enabling themselves to commit, or assist any other person to commit, another indictable offence, then the maximum penalty rises to 25 years imprisonment.
Have questions? Contact us. Our Sydney criminal lawyers specialise in criminal law.