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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

SRC elections of our Bloemfontein Campus
2011-07-26

The Student Council elections of our university at the Bloemfontein Campus will take place on 29 and 30 August 2011. These official election dates were announced by Mr Rudi Buys, Dean: Student Affairs, on 25 July 2011.

Nominations open on Wednesday, 27 July 2011 and the elections, which are constituted according to the SRC Constitution, shall be handled by the Independent Electoral Agency, which shall be instituted by the SRC Constitution with this in view.
 
“The elections introduce a new era in student leadership and governance, because student representation will now constituted in such a way that affords the majority of students the opportunity to vote directly for their representatives. Senior leadership structures are extended in the new Constitution, in order to allow more students to hold senior positions,” states Mr Buys.
 
The SRC elections follow on the approval of a new Constitution that was accepted by our Council on 3 June 2011.
 
The Constitution was drafted over a period of eight months by the Broad Student Transformation Forum (BSTF), consisting of students, in order to design a new dispensation in student structures. The BSTF, which decided on new models of student representation in collaboration with independent facilitators, consists of more than 70 student organisations and residences. The changes to the Constitution were decided on and accepted by the BSTF, after recommendations from four student study groups, which investigated student leadership and governance in depth, at national as well as international level, were taken into account. The study groups visited nine (9) other SA universities, as well as investigated student representation at internationally renowned universities like Cornell, Yale and Stanford in the United States of America.
 
Ms Modieyi Motholo, Chairperson of the Interim Student Committee, says that she is very proud of what the students have achieved with the new Constitution. “I wish to accord recognition to all the students who lead the process for all their hard work. Constitutional revision is a strenuous process and it is nothing short of a miracle that the students could not only reconstruct the Constitution, but also have it accepted in less than a year.”
 
The important changes include, amongst others:

  • Candidates no longer stand on behalf of parties in the elections, but as independent candidates for 10 predetermined portfolios for which students can vote directly;
  • Students also directly vote for a President and a Vice-President;
  • Nine (9) SRC members serve ex-officio as SRC members by virtue of being chairpersons of nine additional student councils established by the Constitution. Amongst others, the councils include a postgraduate student council, an international student council, a student media council and a student academic affairs council;
  • More stringent eligibility requirements are set for candidates, namely that students who wish to run in the elections has to, amongst others, sustain an academic average of more than 60%, and hold proven student leadership experience (which could be verified by the Independent Electoral Agency).

 
“With the SRC elections, students have the opportunity to firmly entrench the changes in student governance on which they have decided on by  themselves firmly, as a sustainable model for democracy at our Bloemfontein Campus. It speaks volumes that the number of leadership positions for which candidates can make themselves available, in essence has been increased by the number of additional student sub-councils from 21 to 67, because it brings about much more direct representation for different students across the campus,” says Mr Buys.
 
“I firmly believe that the upcoming student council elections will be a success,” says Motholo. “I wish the students, who are prepared to sacrifice a year of their lives in service of the student community as a member of the SRC, all of the best.”
 
The Qwaqwa Campus’ election schedule shall be announced within the next week, as well as the date of the institution of the Central Student Council (CSC).

Media Release
26 July 2011
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Director: Strategic Communication
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: news@ufs.ac.za
 
 

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