Kat Chat discusses ‘breaking the chains’ of relationship violence


Counseling Services resumed its Kat Chat series Tuesday 4 p.m. in Leasure Hall to educate about relationship violence and ways to combat it.

Cheryl Taliaferro, psychology intern, led the presentation by differentiating the terms used to describe different types of relationship violence.

“Abuse can be emotional, financial, sexual or physical and can include threats, isolation and intimidation,” Taliaferro said.

According to the Center for Relationship Abuse Awareness, the definition of relationship abuse is “a pattern of abusive and coercive behaviors used to maintain power and control over a former or current intimate partner.”

When explaining the warning signs of relationship abuse, Taliaferro said an individual must first examine their “inner self” to be able to realize if they are a victim of abuse.

“If someone experiences fear in a relationship at any point, whether it is confronting whoever you are in a relationship with about something that bothers you, or even the fear of just being around them or talking to them — which leads to avoidance of communication — that would be the first sign to oneself of relationship abuse,” Taliaferro said.

Taliaferro also said third parties may be able to realize abuse by observing signs of physical abuse such as bruises and injuries on victims.

Wendy Barnes, Counseling Services’ online programs and outreach coordinator, said Kat Chats themselves attempt to cover a wide variety of topics that are major concerns at the English and Counseling Services building.

“Students often come to us asking about topics they want to be educated about so they can understand if something is happening to themselves or how to recognize if it is happening to their peers or friends around them,” Barnes said.

Taliaferro said she believes the most valuable thing for a relationship violence victim to know is about the existence of available resources.

“On campus, there is obviously the Counseling Services, but there is also Center for Advocacy, Response and Education in Holton Hall and the K-State Family Center at the Campus Creek Complex, which are both confidential like Counseling Services,” Taliaferro said.

Taliferro said the best way to help someone you know who may be experiencing relationship abuse is to listen, validate, express concern and offer your help.

The Counseling Services Kat Chat series will resume March 13 at 4 p.m. in 13 Leasure when Peer Advocates for Mental Wellness and Success, also known as P.A.W.S., will address the topic of making safe and responsible decisions regarding alcohol use over spring break.