About It Left No Marks

Around half of women who experience strangulation, also known as choking, will have no external signs that the event (strangulation) occurred. This can make it us miss both physical and psychological injuries from this potentially life-threatening event. A lack of marks can make women doubt the strangulation was serious enough to require medical attention. Without marks, women may fear not being believed, which, along with shame and stigma, can impact their ability to disclose strangulation to people who can assist. Without disclosure, a lack of visible marks also makes strangulation easy to miss for responders and other service providers. For those who engage in sexual choking with consent, the lack of visible marks can provide a false sense of confidence that no injury has occurred, even when there may be internal injuries. We chose the name It Left No Marks for this online learning hub to remind us of all these things.

About the Pathways Project

The It Left No Marks online learning hub was created as part of a project called “Local pathways for victim survivors of sexual assault related non-fatal strangulation and acquired brain injury” (the Pathways Project). The Pathways Project was established after Women’s Health NSW identified a need to support and strengthen professional understanding and local capacity to respond to sexual assault-related non-fatal strangulation and acquired brain injury. By building awareness of the risks of non-fatal strangulation and sexual choking, and through the development of robust, multidisciplinary referral pathways across the state, the Pathways Project supports women in seeking help and making informed choices about their health and wellbeing. The Pathways Project is one of 14 projects in the NSW Sexual Violence Project Fund, jointly funded by the NSW and Australian governments.

About Women’s Health NSW

Women’s Health NSW is the peak body for 20 non-government community-based women’s health centres and special purpose services operating in New South Wales. We are proactive on priority issues relevant to women’s health, advocating for improved health outcomes that allow women and girls to reach their full potential. Service delivery is most effective when it is culturally safe, trauma-informed, person-centred, sustainable, and tailored to the local area. Our network works in a way that prioritises safety, trustworthiness, choice, collaboration, and empowerment. We are places where women know they can get help and support and talk to someone they can trust.

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