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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

Sarah, our own champion
2008-11-05

 
Sarah Shannon at the Paralympic Games in Beijing

 

Sarah Shannon, a second-year student in the Postgraduate Certificate in Education, has been involved in disability sport on national level for the past 12 years. Sarah has cerebral palsy.

In 1996 she participated at the South African National Championships for the physically disabled for the first time, entering for several sporting codes and winning five gold medals. In swimming she participates in the S3 class together with other swimmers that have comparable abilities to hers.

In 1997 she decided to focus on swimming competitively. She participated in her first national championships for swimming that year. After that (1998) she represented South Africa on international level at the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) Swimming World Championships in New Zealand where she ended 4th in the 50m backstroke and 7th in both the 50m and 100m freestyle in her class.

In 1999 she represented South Africa in Johannesburg at the 7th All Africa Games and won a silver medal for the 50m freestyle and a bronze medal for the 100m freestyle.

In 2000 she was part of the South African team at the Sydney Paralympic Games where she reached the finals and finished 7th in the 50m backstroke and 8th in the 50m freestyle. Northern-KwaZulu-Natal also awarded her the Junior Sportswoman of the Year award in 2001. In 2002 she participated at the South African Senior National swimming championships for KwaZulu-Natal in the multi-disability category.

In 2005 she completed the Midmar Mile. She also represented South Africa at the world championships for athletes with cerebral palsy in Boston in the United States of America. She won two gold medals for respectively the 50m freestyle and the 50m backstroke and two silver medals in the 100m and 200m freestyle. She was also nominated to represent South Africa as athlete’s representative on the world committee of CPISRA (Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association). In this year Sarah also received the KwaZulu-Natal Premier’s Sportswoman with a disability award of the year.

In 2006 she qualified for the IPC world championships but could not attend.

In 2007 she represented South Africa once more at the Visa Paralympic World Cup in Manchester in the United Kingdom where she broke the South African record in the 50m backstroke, finishing 7th in the 50m freestyle and 6th in the 50m backstroke.

She was also part of the very successful Team South Africa to the Paralympic Games in Beijing. She reached the finals in both the 50m backstroke and 50m freestyle. She finished 7th in the 50m freestyle and 6th in the 50m backstroke in personal best times for both events. She has been participating in the able bodied South African National Swimming Championships since 2002. She is currently ranked 2nd in the world for short course items and 11th for the long course items. She is truly our best swimmer in the S3 class.
 

 

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