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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

Meeting between Prof. Jansen and Mr Julius Malema conducted in a positive spirit
2009-10-31

This morning, Thursday, 29 October 2009, the senior leadership of the University of the Free State (UFS) hosted a meeting with the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) as well as SASCO leadership. The delegation was led by Mr Julius Malema, President of the ANCYL.

In a spirit of mutual respect, the two parties outlined their positions on the Reitz matter and the decision of the university management to invite the students back for purposes of learning. President Malema supported the principle of opening the doors of learning but made concrete and useful proposals on how this could be done and, especially, the importance of corrective measures that ensured full integration of the students into the university.

President Malema encouraged the management’s decision to meet with the five workers to hear their representations on a way forward for the university and to address the working conditions of the members of staff.

Both parties agreed that the independent processes led by the Human Rights Commission were critical in building a sense of conciliation and integration for both the workers and the students, and that the university was and should remain a stakeholder in this process.

The delegation also recognised that the university would be continuing its own processes of further consultations, and recommended that the process be opened up to enable all constituencies to bring their own concerns about racial difficulties to an open and safe forum.

“I very much appreciate the positive spirit in which the meeting was conducted, and the clear leadership and constructive proposals offered by President Malema,” said Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS.

“It is open and frank discussions like these that will take both the campus and the country forward in addressing the twin imperatives of racial reconciliation and social justice in South Africa,” said Prof. Jansen.

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

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