In Focus: 'I Thought I Was Going To Die;' Strangulation Victim Shares Survival Story; Local Law Enforcement Release PSA To Help Others

A Tulsa woman was strangled 10 years ago, and what she endured still haunts her every day. Gisela Salgado shared her story publicly for the very first time with News On 6. BAPD Chief Brandon Berryhill says domestic violence calls are the number one call they get. He says his department recently changed the way they ask victims questions because many don't realize if they woke up somewhere and didn't remember how they got there, they were probably strangled.

Thursday, May 16th 2024, 12:40 pm



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Oklahoma ranks second in the nation for women being killed by men and second for domestic violence. In fact, according to DVIS, if your partner strangles you, they are 750% more likely to kill you.

A Tulsa woman was strangled 10 years ago, and what she endured still haunts her every day. Gisela Salgado shared her story publicly for the very first time with News On 6. She said it started out as a normal night, then turned to horror when the man she was in a relationship with had her running for her life, before he strangled her inside a gas station.

"I thought I was going to die that day. That's probably why I didn't ever talk about it. I really thought I was going to die that day," Grisela said.

She has come a long way, and her life looks different now, but she says the night she was strangled by someone she loved changed her forever.

"The hate that he had on his face, it was different. Like it was not him at the moment," said Grisela.

She remembers she was at a birthday party and was supposed to be picked up by her partner but when he didn't show up she got another ride. She said the man called her, angry, and demanded to come get her.

"He locked the doors and told me that he was going to teach me how to be on the streets if I wanted to be on the streets,” Grisela said. “He started driving about 60 to 70 miles per hour through the neighborhoods."

Gisela said they eventually slowed down near a gas station, and she felt like it was her only chance to get away, so she grabbed the keys and ran inside, but he followed her.

"He put me in a chokehold and tried to take the keys away from me, Grisela said. “So, I threw the keys over the counter at the gas station. I tried to get away, but I couldn't."

Grisela says she bit him trying to get him to stop, but he only did once the cashier called the police. She said the man was never arrested and the next day acted like nothing happened.

"You are afraid of leaving. It is just the reality. You don't know how the other person is going to react at the end," said Grisela.

She said at the time she didn't know about the resources available for domestic violence victims. She remembers feeling alone and scared to tell the police. Now a decade later, she learned about the resources DVIS offers and was able to break free from the relationship.

"For people, it's easier to judge more than help, Grisela said. “Everybody judges you because you are still there, but nobody really offers you a hand, like what is it that you need to leave?"

Now, Gisela works for DVIS helping other women who are trapped by domestic violence. She said what people don't realize is it’s hard for victims to ask for help and they are often ashamed.

"Every day I talk to people, and they are like you don't understand, and I am like yes I do understand, I was on the other side at one point. You are brave. I always try to tell them they are brave, you are brave, you did the first step, you're here," said Grisela. "You deserve a better life. You deserve your children to be safe, that you deserve to be safe."

Helping other women is ALSO helping Gisela heal, day by day.

"I have grown so much as a person and learned a lot," said Grisela.

If you are experiencing domestic violence or want to help someone who is, there is help and resources available day and night. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is open 24 hours a day.

The number is 1-800-877-SAFE, or you can text "start" to 88788.

A dozen law enforcement agencies in Green Country got together to make a Public Service Announcement about the dangers of strangulation and domestic violence. The Broken Arrow Police Department came up with the idea for the PSA because officers say many domestic violence victims don't even realize their abuser has strangled them.

BAPD Chief Brandon Berryhill says domestic violence calls are the number one call they get. He says his department recently changed the way they ask victims questions because many don't realize if they woke up somewhere and didn't remember how they got there, they were probably strangled.

"Those offenders that strangle people, or strangle people, they are the most dangerous people in our society. Studies have shown those who strangle are those that commit homicides, those that assault the police," said Berryhill.

The Broken Arrow Police Chief, along with 11 other Green Country Chiefs and Sheriffs from Green Country participated in the PSA. Those agencies include Broken Arrow PD, Bixby PD, Glenpool PD, Jenks PD, Sand Springs PD, Sapulpa PD, Catoosa PD, Tulsa PD, Tulsa County Sheriff's Office, Wagoner County Sherrif's Office, Rogers County Sheriff’s Office, and Lighthorse Police. 3 victim advocates from DVIS also appeared in the PSA offering up real phrases victims have shared.

Lori Fullbright and Reagan Ledbetter were proud to represent News On 6 in the PSA.

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