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14 June 2018 Photo iStock
Dealing with the trauma of sexual assault

University life is supposed to be one of the most enjoyable times of a person’s life. Unfortunately, for some this is the time they may fall victims to sexual assault.
 
The term sexual assault has shockingly become normalised in society and has become a common threat to university students. The University of the Free State (UFS) through its sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, and sexual violence policy strongly condemns any form of sexual abuse. Dr Melissa Barnaschone, Director at Student Counselling and Development (UFS) says the university cares for the health and wellbeing of students and provides necessary support for victims of sexual assault and trauma.
 
It is unfortunate that sexual assault comes with many misconceptions that often shift responsibility and blame from the perpetrator to the victim. “It is important to always remember that it is not your fault; do not blame yourself,” says Dr Barnaschone. Helpguide.Org: Trusted guide to mental & emotional health says sexual assault leaves psychological wounds and sometimes long-lasting health challenges. Such trauma can severely affect a person’s ability to cope with daily academic, social, professional, and personal responsibilities.
 
Any sexual violence is a crime and as a victim, you are not to blame. Healing is achieved when you start to believe that you are not responsible for what happened to you. Visit Helpguide.Org for more information on post-traumatic stress disorder, trauma recovery tips and other related topics.

On this video clip, Dr Barnaschone shares some guidelines to deal with sexual assault and trauma: 

News Archive

#Women’sMonth: Men should help change narrative on violence against women – Prof Solomon
2017-08-23

 Description: Issues affecting women Tags: Prof Hussein Solomon, Department of Political Studies, violence against women, Gender and Sexual Equity Office, Women’s Month, Embrace a Sister, Boko Haram 

The panellists at a discussion on Issues
Affecting Women
at the UFS Sasol library were
Zane Thela, Head of the Gender and Sexual
Equity Office Programme, Pumla Mgobhozi, founding
member of Embrace a Sister, and
Prof Prof Hussein Solomon, Senior Professor in the
Department of Political Studies.
From the left, are: Thela, Mgobhozi, Prof Solomon,
and Betsy Eister, Director: Library and
Information Services.
Photo: Jóhann Thormählen

The fight to eradicate violence against women is one which men should be involved in. According to Prof Hussein Solomon, Senior Professor in the Department of Political Studies at the University of the Free State (UFS), men have to help change the narrative of physical abuse and sexual violence which they perpetrate against women and children.
“Let them (men who might be offended by the #men are trash) reject violent masculinities, and in the process let them redefine what being a man is about. Let fathers teach their sons that no means no.”

Panel discussion on Issues Affecting Women
Prof Solomon was part of a panel discussion on Issues Affecting Women, organised by the UFS library, in collaboration with the Gender and Sexual Equity Office and Embrace a Sister, as part of Women’s Month in the UFS Sasol library on 3 August 2017.
The other panellists were Zane Thela, Head of the Gender and Sexual Equity Office Programme at the UFS, and Pumla Mgobhozi, founding member of Embrace a Sister. Prof Solomon’s book Understanding Boko Haram, focusing on the kidnapping of 200 young women in Nigeria was also launched.

Don’t accept things as they are
Prof Solomon says that responses by the SA government have no credibility and a lot more could be done. “What is clear is that outrage alone will not end this violence.”
Even at SA universities there are many examples of how women are mistreated. “We need to ask: What more can we do as a university to assist these (female) students.”

According to Thela, it is sad that these issues are only talked about seasonally (like during Women’s Month).
Thela says people should raise their children differently in order to change the narrative. “Then men won’t think they have to prove themselves to women.”
And we shouldn’t accept things as they are: “The most dangerous statement in society is to say: ‘It has always been done this way."

Role of women in their fate
Mgobhozi emphasised that women have a hand in the way they are being seen and treated in society. She therefore asked: “What is the role of women in making sure that we dismantle patriarchy”.
According to her women, especially black women, should dismantle the status quo. She added that cultures and parents often influence the way women are seen.
“Women should fight these social problems together,” Mgobhozi says.

 

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