Expert talks about mental abuse

When it comes to abusive relationships, the most damaging effects come from psychological abuse rather than physical abuse, said Jennifer Haplin, professor of nursing at OCCC. She gave a workshop on Healthy Relationships on campus March 27.

This workshop was a part of OCCC’s Brown Bag Series, and drew about 20 participants.

Although Haplin said that psychological abuse is the most common, physical abuse comes to mind first because it’s easier to see the damage.

Any use of physical pain or force, or even threats of these, is considered physical abuse, Haplin said.

Although physical abuse can be a one-time thing, chances are that it will happen again, she said.


Haplin provided resources like the OKDHS- Abuse Hotline (1-800-522-3511) to help victims of abuse. She said anyone who is being abused should seek help, or counseling, immediately.

Haplin used PowerPoint slides and a sense of humor to cover the hour-long presentation. It ended with a raffle.

She described the different relationships that people encounter which range from friendships to intimate relationships. She said everyone that a person knows falls into one of these categories.

Haplin described the six components of a healthy relationship: respect, honesty, trust, fairness, equality, and good communication.

All six of these must be present in any type of relationship.

To keep a relationship healthy, Haplin said, you have to be able to form thoughts into words and you have to be able to listen.

You must also know how to find a line, and make sure it is not crossed. You have to know you partner and their limits, and you must be mindful of these limits.

Although no relationship is 100 percent happy all the time, she said the major red flags are large imbalances of power, and extreme use of guilt.

Before closing the seminar, Haplin spoke about family planning and disease prevention. She explained different types of contraception and the effectiveness rates on each one.

Haplin also stressed the importance of getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases, and being completely honest with your doctor.

Alissa Dawson, a graphic communications major, said that she attended the workshop because she saw the flier, and wanted to learn more about it.

She said the most important thing that she learned was to get regular STD testing, and not be embarrassed about it.

History major Alexa Prince said that she attended for her Success in College and Life class, but would take it over even if it weren’t mandatory.

Prince said that the workshop helped teach her what’s healthy and what isn’t.

For more information on healthy relationships, contact Jennifer Haplin by email at or by phone at 405-682-1611, ext. 7193.

For more information on upcoming Brown Bag events contact Student Life at 405-682-7523, or visit the calendar on their website at

To contact Shalya Allen, email

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