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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

Unique book on counselling for the youth
2009-03-12

 
A unique book on the counselling of youth was recently launched by Heinemann Publishers. The book entitled Handbook of Youth Counselling, has been compiled by a team of experts mostly from the UFS. “This book is extremely relevant in the current period because observers from both within South(ern) Africa and abroad have been increasingly concerned about the South(ern) African youth,” said Prof Johnnie Hay, Departmental Chairperson of Psycho-Education at the UFS and co-editor of the book. The text is aimed at professional people in the field of mental health and focuses on children, adolescents and young adults. “The handbook gives an in-depth analysis of the most recent research done in the field of counselling and theoretical perspectives that are based on intervention. The book supports the positive psychological paradigm and takes a holistic and systemic approach as its point of departure,” added Prof Eugene van Niekerk, editor. He is also a consultant psychologist.

Here are, from the left, back: Dr Richard Nichol, Department of Psychiatry at the UFS, Prof. André Venter, head of the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health at the UFS, Ms Annette Weyers, consultant social worker; front: Prof. Hay, Prof. Van Niekerk, Dr Lyzette Hoffman, Department of Psychology at the UFS, and Dr Luzelle Naudé, Department of Psychology at the UFS. Dr Annette Prins, Divisional Head of Wellness at the Centre for Higher Education Studies and Development at the UFS and Dr Henriëtte van den Berg, Department of Psychology at the UFS, were absent when the photo was taken.
Photo: Lacea Loader

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