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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

UFS shares expertise in Sign Language
2009-05-07

 
The University of the Free State (UFS) is continuing in its commitment to reach out to other universities on the African continent. Mr Philemon Akach (pictured), a senior lecturer in the Department of Afro-Asiatic Studies, Sign Language and Language Practice, recently visited the University of Ghana to share his expertise and assist in the introduction of the Ghanaian Sign Language (GSL) as an academic course in that institution. The course will first be piloted as an “elective course” and if successful it will be a permanent feature of the University of Ghana's calendar.

Mr Akach has been instrumental in the development of GSL since the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) sent him on a fact-finding mission regarding the education of deaf children in Ghana in 1993. Since then he has trained interpreters as well as parents and teachers of deaf children in Ghana in using the South African Sign Language multimedia grammar teaching materials. He has also guided the GSL Dictionary Project. The University of Ghana will use his books as the basis for the teaching of the GSL. This session was a follow-up to the one he had with that university in February this year.

The UFS is widely regarded as a beacon of light in the teaching of sign language on the continent and, together with the University of Witwatersrand, are the only universities in South Africa that offer sign language as an academic course.
Photo: Mangaliso Radebe

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