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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 researcher receives prestigious science award
2009-10-12

Prof. Esta van Heerden from the University of the Free State's (UFS) Department of Microbial, Biochemical and Food Biotechnology recently received the prize for the 2009 Young Scientist of the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS), the Department of Science and Technology and the Academy of Sciences of South Africa (ASSAf) during the award ceremony held at the CSIR International Convention Centre in Pretoria last week. The evaluation committee, which includes some of South Africa's top scientists, was particularly impressed by Prof. Van Heerden’s outstanding self-initiated research, her record of training postgraduate students, the potential contribution of her research to South African society and her involvement in furthering the public awareness of science. Prof. Van Heerden’s research is currently continued in the UFS BioPAD Metagenomics Platform. Here she is with Ms Naledi Pandor, Minister of Science and Technology and Prof. Robin Crewe, President of ASSAf.
Photo: Supplied

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