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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

Literacy Month fosters the love of reading
2017-09-19

Description: Literacy Month fosters the love of reading Tags: Literacy Month fosters the love of reading 

Vutivi Baloyi author of Keep Hoping with Neo Kgoroba
one of the co-authors of In Our Own Words.


Literacy Month is celebrated in September each year at the University of the Free State (UFS) with various activities that are academic and community related and aim to join different departments in collaborative efforts to carry forward an awareness of literacy and the joy of reading among learners. The UFS Sasol Library lined up a series of events to celebrate the month, one of them being the launch of two books on 14 September 2017.

Vutivi Baloyi is a UFS student who wrote a collection of poems at the age of 17 which were recently published in a book called Keep Hoping. The book was launched alongside In Our Own Words, a collection of narratives written by UFS students about university life and transitioning from township high schools to a different culture, society and community, and the challenges with which they are faced.

In their own words, they share incredible experiences
The launch was attended by learners from Christian Liphoko High School in Thaba Nchu as well as Moroka High School and others. The compilation of narratives by UFS students was done under the auspices of Prof Merridy Wilson-Strydom through the Enabling Success project in the Centre for Research in Higher Education. Prof Wilson-Strydom said the project, supported by the National Research Foundation, was a profound way of empowering students by bringing out the value of the stories of their life on campus as they saw them, with each student writing a chapter on a specific theme.

Students as change agents and community builders
The student authors spoke to their audience from the heart, sharing words of advice, especially to younger learners who are still in high school. This has sparked a desire for the beginning of collaborative programmes between the individual university students and high school learners who hail from Botshabelo and Thaba Nchu, highlighting the need for mentorship, life skills, academic improvement and an opportunity to give back. 

The event is also part of the ongoing Launch Your Own Book project that has grown in 2017 at the UFS Library under the leadership of Mr Marcus Maphile, Assistant Director: Library Marketing and Community Engagement. Literacy Month will be celebrated with more events in September such as a round-table discussion in collaboration with the Academic and Non-Fiction Authors Association of South Africa (ANSAFA) on 20 September 2017 at the library, to discuss developing authors and the role of ANSAFA. More activities will include outreach and community engagement, with a visit to Christian Liphoko High School in Thaba Nchu on 21 September 2017.

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