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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

Two from the UFS selected to participate in USA transformation leadership programme
2009-11-29

Dr Choice Makhetha, Acting Dean of Student Affairs, and Prof. Aldo Stroebel, Director of International Affairs at the University of the Free State (UFS), have been selected by the US Embassy to participate in a Transformation and Diversity in Higher Education Leadership Programme in the USA during January and February 2010. Following a selection process in South Africa, Dr Makhetha and Prof. Stroebel are two of only five candidates selected, and the UFS is the only university in South Africa with two candidates.

Participants will meet with American scholars and experts on diversity in higher education, and visit various equity and diversity programmes at academic institutions. Discussions will focus on the real organisational implications of diversity, leadership, and changing the climate of an institution.

The programme will include investigations of campus diversity initiatives, public spaces and social forums where difficult dialogues about tolerance and social and cultural consciousness are facilitated in order to achieve acceptance and transform deep-rooted racial and ethnic conflicts. These dialogues will introduce future leaders to the practice of systematic dialogue as part of an effort to build constructive relationships.

Both Dr Makhetha and Prof. Stroebel have been involved in the conceptualisation and establishment of the Reitz Institute for Studies in Race, Reconciliation and Social Justice launched during November 2009, by inter alia facilitating the inclusion of four senior Fulbright specialists that will visit the UFS in 2010 to advise on transformation issues.

Photo: Supplied

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