Surprise! Oklahoma’s domestic violence laws suck.

As I have written about in the past, Oklahoma doesn’t seem to be the safest place for women. And though all genders, ages, and sexual orientations can be victims of domestic violence, women in our state have higher chances of being subjected to intimate partner aggression than those in other parts of the country. In fact, Oklahoma is ranked the sixth worst state in America for male-on-female single person homicides, which are often considered to be indicators of domestic violence. So sadly, Oklahoma is no strangers to stories like the following. A warning to my dear readers: the next bit from KFOR is pretty damn graphic.

Via KFOR…

OKLAHOMA CITY – A former Oklahoma City police officer is no longer fighting crime but fighting a felony court case instead.

Kelly Yon is accused of nearly beating his wife to death…

“This isn’t politics,” said Mackenzie Masilon from the Oklahoma Coalition for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. “This is people’s lives at risk.”

Court documents detail the woman’s horrific beating allegedly at the hands of Yon.

She told officers the rampage started with him slapping her several times and “grabbing her hair and head-butting her” twice.

The woman also said Yon was “pressing down onto her throat” so hard she was unable to breathe “going in and out of consciousness, seeing spots.”

The report goes on to detail Yon allegedly dragged the woman into a bedroom where he “tried to have sex with her.”

Yon is charged with domestic assault and battery by strangulation.

What Yon is accused of doing is absolutely sickening. And as we’ve said, Oklahoma is no stranger to intimate partner violence. But for a state with at least 85 domestic violence related homicides every year since 2012, it’s a breath of fresh air to hear of a perpetrator of such crimes being brought to justice. Maybe- just maybe- Oklahoma is starting to take its domestic violence epidemic seriously…

“I mean domestic violence- like violence is in the term,” Masilon said.

A loophole in Oklahoma law is leaving activists against domestic violence disturbed.

“In Oklahoma, you only get one to three years for strangling somebody to unconsciousness,” Masilon said.

Masilon said our state’s laws tend to be lax.

“We are seeing offenders walk away with petty fines,” she said.

While over 50 crimes are considered violent by Oklahoma law, domestic assault and battery by strangulation doesn’t make the cut.

“It’s very frustrating,” Masilon said.

Or maybe not. According to Oklahoma Watch, 80% of female victims of domestic violence in Oklahoma have been strangled in their relationship at least once. For a state with about 40% of its female population being victims of domestic violence, you’d think the crime of strangulation would be taken more seriously by implementing a harsher penalty for the crime. But that’s not the Oklahoma standard. In fact like Masilon said, strangulation and many other acts associated with domestic violence in Oklahoma are not even considered to be violent acts by state law. But by-God you don’t dare steal a bus in Oklahoma. Because unlike strangulation, according to Oklahoma’s statutes stealing a bus is considered to be a violent crime. I’m sure glad we have our priorities straight in this state.

If you need help, call 1-800- 522-SAFE or contact the Palomar Family Justice Center.

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