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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

UFS reflects on the life of Charlotte Maxeke
2011-08-05

 

Some of the guests who attended the Charlotte Maxeke Lecture were from the left front: Carol Mokobe; Director of the Free State Provincial Government Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities; Prof.Driekie Hay, Vice-Rector: Academic; Prof. Hlengiwe Mkhize, Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training; Dr.Choice Makhetha, Vice-Rector: External Relations(actg); Prof. Nicky Morgan, Vice-Rector: Operations. Back from the left are: Dr. Derek Swemmer, Registrar and Prof. Teuns Verschoor, Vice-Rector: Institutional Affairs.
Photo: Stephen Collett

More than 200 people, amongst them the Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training, Prof.  Hlengiwe Mkhize, came together at our university to reflect on the life of ANC Women’s League stalwart Charlotte Maxeke, during the Charlotte Maxeke Memorial Lecture organised annually by the Free State Provincial Government and our university as a lead-up to National Women’s Day on Tuesday, 9 August 2011.

This year was the fourth memorial lecture and Prof. Mkhize delivered the main address under the theme “Women’s access to education, science and technology for economic growth and development in bringing about positive change, living in extraordinary times”

Prof. Mkhize told guests Charlotte Maxeke’s life was too rich and complex to capture during the night and listed many of Maxeke’s achievements during her life and times. These included Maxeke being the first woman to graduate with a science degree from the University of Wilberforce, Ohio.  Prof. Mkhize said Charlotte Maxeke’s science degree was not a personal achievement, because she went back to the people and served by opening the Wilberforce Institute in Evaton, Vereeniging, after her return from the United States.

Prof. Mkhize applauded our university for organising the lecture, saying the university’s commitment was appropriate for the contribution Charlotte Maxeke made to women’s empowerment.  She said government have a huge interest in our university and said the lecture provided an opportunity to dialogue and to use the experience to improve the country’s institutions. Delivering the last part of her address, Prof. Mkhize said she hopes the lecture will lead to great things, with the local community also becoming involved in organising the event.

Dr. Choice Makhetha, Acting Vice-Rector:  External Relations, announced at the event that the university will open a women’s memorial garden on Tuesday, 9 August 2011  to honour women who made a contribution in society.
 

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