Don’t Suffer in Silence

3By Eileen Salazar

Many college students are victims of emotional abuse but do not speak of it. Counseling and Psychological Services, located on all three College of Southern Nevada campuses, can provide students help.

“Emotional abuse includes non-physical behaviors such as threats, insults, constant monitoring or checking in, excessive texting, humiliation, intimidation, isolation or stalking,” according to Love is Respect, an organization that empowers young people to prevent and end dating abuse.

“[Emotional abuse] for one, can be harder to identify and understand,” said Dr. Marie Worsham, CSN clinical psychologist. “Unlike physical abuse, there is little visible evidence that it is occurring.”

Some warning signs of emotional abuse include the following: low self-esteem, major personality changes, depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.

Students should be aware that domestic violence includes emotional and physical abuse.

Domestic violence accounted for 21 percent of all violent crime, according to U.S. Department of Justice 2014 special report on nonfatal domestic violence statistics. Current or former boyfriends or girlfriends committed most of domestic violence cases. In the cases studied, 76 percent were committed against females and 24 percent were committed against males.

According to the organization Helpguide, focused on helping people suffering from domestic violence, “An average of 28 percent of high-school and college students experience dating violence at some point.”

“When emotional abuse occurs there are quite a few misinterpretations that can occur,” said Paul Herrle, human behavior professor at CSN. He points out that young people can find it hard to recognize or acknowledge behavior that is crossing over the line. For example, if a boyfriend or girlfriend is controlling in an unhealthy way, that is a warning sign.

“Luckily, with increased attention to this topic there has already been an increase in the amount of partners who recognize that they are victims of emotional abuse,” Herrle said.

2“CAPS offer free confidential counseling for students enrolled in six credits or more during fall and spring, or three credits in the summer,” Worsham said. “In addition to individual, group, and couples counseling, we respond to any crisis on campus and can help students connect with appropriate community resources.”

Paul Billings, human behavior professor at CSN, said people experiencing domestic violence or emotional abuse should seek help. It is the first step.

For more information contact CAPS at

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