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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 Faculty of Law helps to establish a FS Forum on Human Trafficking
2009-10-12

The Unit for Children’s Rights in the Faculty of Law at the University of the Free State (UFS) is a member of the Trafficking Action Group that recently hosted an Indaba on Human Trafficking in Bloemfontein.

Adv. Beatri Kruger from the Department of Criminal and Medical Law and the Unit for Children’s Rights at the UFS gave a presentation at the Indaba on the South African legal response to combating human trafficking. Prof. Susan Kreston, Research Fellow at the Centre for Psychology and the Law at the UFS, was also a speaker at this event. She spoke, amongst others, about trafficking between South Africa and neighbouring countries and also gave some practical guidelines on how to prevent human trafficking.

Apart from creating awareness, various role players identified cases of human trafficking, which led the Indaba to realise that this crime is prevalent in the Free State, especially in Bloemfontein. Many problems that need to be addressed were identified at the Indaba. Consequently, a forum consisting of the most relevant role players was mobilised to proceed with the work to realise the goal of handling complicated human trafficking cases effectively.

The three-day Indaba was attended by more than 120 delegates from various key governmental departments such as the SAPS, Social Development, Health, Immigration and several civil societies, including Child Welfare Bloemfontein/Childline, Famsa, the Thuthuzela Centre, the Free State Network on Violence against Women, the Aurora Clinic, academia from the UFS, various churches and private-sector businesses.

At the event were, from the left: Ms Matshidiso Ntsiuoa from Childline Free State and Child Welfare Bloemfontein; Adv. Beatri Kruger from the Department of Criminal and Medical Law at the UFS; Ms Zine Mogorosi, Absa Regional Manager: Marketing, Communications and Corporate Affairs; Ms Motsedisi Shale from Lesotho Save the Children/Childline Lesotho; and Pastor Busi Khumalo from the Seventh Day Adventist Church.
Photo: Leonie Bolleurs

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