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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

UFS welcomes Constitutional Court’s ruling on its Language Policy
2017-12-29



The executive management of the University of the Free State (UFS) welcomes today’s judgement by the Constitutional Court in favour of the university’s Language Policy. The judgement follows an appeal lodged by AfriForum against the judgement and order delivered by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) on the implementation of the UFS Language Policy on 28 March 2017. 
 
In a majority ruling, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng denied AfriForum’s application for leave to appeal the SCA’s ruling, and said the UFS Council’s approval of the Language Policy was lawful and constitutionally valid. The court found that the adoption of the Language Policy was neither inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution, nor did it violate the Constitutional rights of any students and/or staff members of the UFS.
 
Today’s landmark judgement is not only paving the way for the UFS to continue with the implementation plan for its Language Policy as approved by the UFS Council on 11 March 2016, but it is also an indication of the value which the university’s decision to change its Language Policy to English as primary medium of instruction has on higher education in South Africa.
 
“The judgement by the Constitutional Court is not a victory against Afrikaans as language. The UFS will continue to develop Afrikaans as an academic language. A key feature of the UFS Language Policy is flexibility and the commitment to strive for a truly multilingual environment. Today’s judgement allows the UFS to proceed with the implementation of its progressive approach to a language-rich environment that is committed to multilingualism,” says Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS.
 
According to Prof Petersen, the UFS is dedicated to the commitments in the Language Policy and, in particular, to make sure that language development is made available to students in order to ensure their success as well as greater levels of academic literacy – especially in English. This includes contributing to the development of Sesotho and isiZulu as higher-education languages within the context of the needs of the different UFS campuses.
 
“We can now continue to ensure that language is not used or perceived as a tool for the social exclusion of staff and/or students on any of the three campuses, and continue to promote a pragmatic learning and administrative environment committed to and accommodative to linguistic diversity within the regional, national, and international environments in which the UFS operates,” says Prof Petersen.
 
The UFS is the first university in South Africa appearing before the Constitutional Court regarding its Language Policy. 
 
During 2017, the Faculties of Health Sciences, the Humanities, and Law started with the implementation of the new Language Policy at first-year level. This includes the presentation of tutorials in Afrikaans. The remaining faculties will start implementing the policy as from 2018.

Released by:
Lacea Loader (Director: Communication and Brand Management)
Telephone: +27 51 401 2584 | +27 83 645 2454
Email: news@ufs.ac.za | loaderl@ufs.ac.za
Fax: +27 51 444 6393

Related articles:
UFS welcomes unanimous judgement about its Language Policy in the Supreme Court of Appeal (28 March 2017)
Judgement in the Supreme Court of Appeal about UFS Language Policy (17 November 2016)
Implications of new Language Policy for first-year students in 2017 (17 October 2016)
UFS to proceed with appealing to Supreme Court of Appeal regarding new Language Policy (29 September 2016)
UFS to lodge application to appeal judgment about new Language Policy (22 July 2016)
High Court ruling about new UFS Language Policy (21 July 2016)
UFS Council approves a new Language Policy (11 March 2016)

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