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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 medical students reach out to the community
2011-04-16

 

The smiles on the children at Beyang Bana Pele Creche in Mangaung were blindingly bright, after their new classrooms and playground were unveiled on Friday 15 April. The creche was renovated by a group of third-year medical students from the UFS.
Photo: Earl Coetzee

A group of third-year medical students from the University of the Free State was responsible for many smiling little faces when they unveiled a entirely renovated crèche to its little students on Friday, 15 April.

Reinhardt Erasmus, Fathima Vawda, Veneshree Govender, Antoi Roets, Riaan Calitz, Motlalepula Mabizela, Tertius Potgieter and Chanel van der Westhuizen were the students responsible for the massive renovation work that went into the Beyang Bana Pele Creché in Mangaung.

The students tackled the project as part of a community service project and ensured that the 30 children who attend the crèche can look forward to coming to a safe healthy environment every day.

According to Riaan Calitz, they started the project at the beginning of the year by doing a needs analysis and talking to the children’s parents and teachers. They also involved the aid of an architect and quantity surveyor to calculate the needs of the crèche.

Next, they had to search for sponsors for their work, and struck it lucky when the Windmill Casino agreed to donate R100 000 to their project. They also managed to raise a further R5 000 as well as approximately R50 000 in goods and services donated by various other companies.

This money was enough to improve the safety at the crèche, install safe gas equipment in the kitchen, improve the insulation to ensure a warm winter, install new playground equipment and host several health and safety workshops.

“It took a lot of late nights and early mornings,” Calitz said. “Some of us also had to return from our holiday early, but it was worth it.”

He says the gratitude from the school’s children and teachers, as well as community members, who would stop and thank them for their help while they were busy working, makes it all worthwhile.

The students plan to stay involved with the crèche and say the renovation plan was drafted in such a way that when they move along, another group can simply pick up from their work with ease.

Mrs Sarah Mothoana, the crèche matron, thanked the students as well as everyone who assisted them in “creating a wonderful, safe and healthy environment for the children.”
 

 

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