Parents, Your Daughters Are Being Choked

Parents, Your Daughters Are Being Choked April 14, 2024

When was the last time you tried screaming while being choked by someone bigger and stronger than you? Women can’t fix this; men must step up to the plate.

Our teen daughters are being choked by teen and older boys in sexual encounters
Photo credit: 9877400 | Hand Throat © Pzromashka |

I was eating breakfast and causally glancing at the Sunday New York Times when I came across this piece. It speaks graphically of the latest trend of teenage sex: the male partner “choking” the female.

Here’s a snippet (bold/italics mine):

For the past four years, Dr. Herbenick has been tracking the rapid rise of “rough sex” among college students, particularly sexual strangulation, or what is colloquially referred to as choking. Nearly two-thirds of women in her most recent campus-representative survey of 5,000 students at an anonymized “major Midwestern university” said a partner had choked them during sex (one-third in their most recent encounter). The rate of those women who said they were between the ages 12 and 17 the first time that happened had shot up to 40 percent from one in four.

Horrified and nearly sick, I read more and learned that these girls, unwillingly choked, are suffering not only sexual trauma but also brain damage.

Keisuke Kawata, a neuroscientist at Indiana University’s School of Public Health, was one of the first researchers to sound the alarm on how the cumulative, seemingly inconsequential, sub-concussive hits football players sustain (as opposed to the occasional hard blow) were key to triggering C.T.E., the degenerative brain disease. He’s a good judge of serious threats to the brain. In response to Dr. Herbenick’s work, he’s turning his attention to sexual strangulation. “I see a similarity” to C.T.E., he told me, “though the mechanism of injury is very different.” In this case, it is oxygen-blocking pressure to the throat, frequently in light, repeated bursts of a few seconds each.

Strangulation — sexual or otherwise — often leaves few visible marks and can be easily overlooked as a cause of death. Those whose experiences are nonlethal rarely seek medical attention, because any injuries seem minor: Young women Dr. Herbenick studied mostly reported lightheadedness, headaches, neck pain, temporary loss of coordination and ear ringing. The symptoms resolve, and all seems well. But, as with those N.F.L. players, the true effects are silent, potentially not showing up for days, weeks, even years.

According to the American Academy of Neurology, restricting blood flow to the brain, even briefly, can cause permanent injury, including stroke and cognitive impairment.

A conversation about teenage porn and girls getting choked

Shaken by my reading, I popped the article in my handbag. We were heading over to visit my son and his wife–who are, among other things, the parents of two teenage daughters.

After arriving, I pulled my daughter-in-law aside and showed her the piece, promising to send her an electronic copy later. While still horrified, her surprise was less than mine. She, also the mother of a teenage boy, is well aware of the fact that most of these kids are awash in online, freely available porn.

What do those vulnerable, immature brains see? A portrayal of these destructive actions as normal and expected.

And what is the Christian community doing to stop this destruction of their daughters? Banning books on sex education from school libraries and preparing to elect an unrepentant and convicted sex abuser to the highest office in the land where his lack of any moral base will continue to cheapen anything and everything he touches.

And so they fiddle while their daughters suffer and generally suffer in silence because if they report it, they will be told they in some way invited it and will find themselves torn apart on a witness stand.

And then there is the inevitable question, “Why didn’t you scream?” Why don’t you try it with someone much bigger and stronger than you holding your neck in a chokehold? Oh, and try to fight back while you are passing out.

Men, you have to step up here. Women can’t fight this battle. Sadly, the Christian movement has a dismal reputation where sexual abuse of women/girls is concerned.

What must happen now?

Step One: STOP protecting sexual abusers within the church and stop electing sexual abusers to any leadership positions.

Step Two: Teach your sons that they MAY NOT treat girls/women this way.

Step Three: Remember that the oft-excused “locker room talk” is rehearsal and preparation for the rape and abuse of women and other vulnerable people.

Don’t want to take these steps? Then accept the alternative: Tell your daughters that you don’t actually care about their physical, mental, spiritual or emotional welfare and then be “innocently” shocked at the damage to them later.

Men, you who proclaim yourselves the God-appointed leaders of the church, this is in your hands. Either address it and deal with it, or admit you don’t care about girls. There is no middle ground here.


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