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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

‘Miratho’ seeks to drive policy-changing research through international collaboration
2017-09-29

Description: ' AM Bathmaker CRHED Miratho Tags: AM Bathmaker CRHED Miratho

From the left: Phathu Mudau (Thusanani Foundation),
Prof Melanie Walker (UFS), Prof Ann-Marie Bathmaker
(University of Birmingham), Prof Monica McLean
(University of Nottingham), and Fulu Ratshisusu
(Thusanani Foundation).

Photo: Eugene Seegers

Miratho is a TshiVenda word that refers to informal, self-made bridges, which are usually built by rural community members during floods or other natural disasters. These are usually dangerous, unstable constructions, and only the brave tend to use them. When community members build miratho, though, they create opportunities for stranded students to attend school. Miratho symbolise the determination to access education even in the face of danger, and working with others to make progress.

The Miratho Research Project is led by the Centre for Research on Higher Education and Development (CRHED) at the University of the Free State (UFS), in partnership with the Universities of Birmingham and Nottingham in the UK, and the Thusanani Foundation. The project is jointly funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Department for International Development in the UK, as well as the National Research Foundation in South Africa. The project research team consists of Prof Melanie Walker, Prof Merridy Wilson-Strydom and Dr Mikateko Höppener from CRHED at the UFS, Prof Monica McLean from the University of Nottingham, and Prof Ann-Marie Bathmaker from the University of Birmingham.

Miratho is a four-year project, stretching until August 2020, which seeks to investigate multidimensional dynamics shaping or inhibiting disadvantaged students’ capabilities to access higher education, participate and succeed in it, as well as move from higher education to work. By means of a systematic, integrated and longitudinal mixed-methods investigation, Prof Walker and her team, in close collaboration with the Thusanani Foundation, aim to develop an inclusive, capabilities-based higher education Index, which in turn would serve to inform policy and practice interventions that challenge inequalities that have an impact on learning outcomes.

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