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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

Armentum RC disbanded and expelled
2009-05-14

The Residence Committee (RC) of Armentum Residence at the University of the Free State (UFS) has been disbanded and expelled.

This decision was taken as a result of the RC’s involvement in the incident of alleged initiation that took place in the residence last week and as a result of which a first-year student, Alex Marais, was admitted to the Bloemfontein Medi-Clinic.

Due to the coming exams they are, however, allowed to stay in on the residence until the end of the first semester of 2009. If they are involved in any actions that contravene the rules of the UFS during this period, they will be expelled from the university.

“This decision was not taken lightly. An in-depth investigation was carried out and discussions were held with various parties in the residence. Because the RC was aware of the initiation practices that were taking place and even participated in it, disciplinary action was taken against them,” said Prof. Teuns Verschoor, Acting Rector of the UFS.

“The RC was aware of the fact that initiation practices are not allowed at the UFS and what the consequences can be if students do participate in such practices. It is a pity that we had to take a step like this,” he said.

The RC members are given the opportunity to retain their places in university accommodation and to be resettled in a residence that will be stipulated by the UFS. A work committee must immediately be appointed in Armentum to manage the residence until a new RC is elected in August 2009.

A remunerative fine will be imposed on the tuition fee accounts of senior students of Armentum, which will be used as a contribution to the medical costs of Alex Marais. All students currently residing in Armentum will be required to reapply for accommodation in the residence for the second semester and sign a declaration indicating that they are aware of the rules and will adhere to it.

Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl.stg@ufs.ac.za  
14 May 2009

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