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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

Measures to ensure safer campuses are investigated
2010-04-16

The safety of students, lecturers and staff of the University of the Free State (UFS) is of the utmost importance for the management of this institution and deliberations are continuously taking place on what can be done to improve the levels of safety of the respective campuses in Bloemfontein and Qwaqwa.

A set of recommendations was recently tabled by our rectorate that make provision for various measures for safer campuses. According to Prof. Niel Viljoen, Vice-Rector: Operations at the UFS, attention will urgently be paid to the following recommendations:

  • The instalment of alarm systems, linked to the central security control room, in all buildings on the respective campuses.
  • The instalment of “panic systems” in strategic places in buildings.
  • Where possible, better admission control to buildings, especially office blocks.
  • Better management en integration of contracted-in security workers.
  • Enhancement/upgrading and better monitoring of the security control room and sharpening of reaction times in cases of emergency.
  • Repair and maintenance of the current border fencing.
  • A survey was once again done of all the so-called “dark spots” on campus and the instalment more effective lighting are currently in progress.
  • Safeguarding of footways and parking areas by means of cameras and panic systems that will be monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Better and more visible patrolling of the pedestrian walkways and campuses.

Regular and structured feedback regarding the safety situation at all campuses shall also be done.

According to Prof. Viljoen the following recommendations shall also be investigated further:

- The feasibility of the “closing” of the campus, especially in terms of transport implications, costs and effectiveness.
- The possible closing of the small pedestrian gates in order to channel pedestrian traffic through the existing and manned gates.
- The feasibility of the compulsory wearing of ID cards by all personnel, students and temporary workers.
 

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