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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

Academics receive award from SA Academy for Science and Art
2009-07-02

 
The South African Academy for Science and Art recently celebrated its centenary year on the Main Campus of the University of the Free State (UFS) in Bloemfontein. Academics involved with the UFS received awards during the academy’s recent awards ceremony. A Centenary Medal was awarded to Prof. François Retief, former Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, for his achievement in the medical sciences over an extended period. The NT Steyn Medal was awarded to Prof. Andries Stulting from the Department of Ophthalmology at the UFS for achievements in the Technical and Natural Sciences and Prof. Albie van Schalkwyk, formerly from the UFS’s Department of Music, received the Huberte Rupert Prize for Classical Music.

According to Prof. Hennie van Coller, Head of the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, German and French at the UFS and also Chairperson of the Academy, the centenary celebrations were a highlight in the existence of the academy. “For the first time in years there was a mood of optimism that could not be restrained by any differences between the attendees. Political hatchets were buried and members from different racial groups took hands for the road ahead. The continuous themes were that of excellence, which may not be sacrificed,” he said.

In his address as Chairman, Prof. van Coller emphasised that the specific niche of the Academy (the development of the higher function of Afrikaans) should not limit the organisation to also be involved in Afrikaans at grassroots level (especially rural brown people and suburban white people) who often had to deal with poverty and illiteracy and who battled for survival. The Academy had to act as facilitator and offer its expertise to people like those.

At the awards ceremony of the South African Academy for Science and Art were, from the left: Mr Jaco Jacobs, who received the Elsabe Steenberg Prize for translated Children’s and Youth Literature in Afrikaans, Prof. Hennie van Coller and Prof. François Retief.
Photo: Stephen Collett

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