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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

Sarah Shannon is ready to take on the world
2011-08-10

 

Sarah Shannon
Photo: Lize-Marie Smit

An intimate send-off party was recently held in Sarah Shannon’s honour by her support group. She is a student from our university and she is heading to present South Africa at the 2011 Pan Pacific Para-swimming Championships in Alberta, Canada from 10-14 August. Here she will be competing in the 50 m and 100 m free-style, and the 50 m and 100 m backstroke, respectively.

Sarah, a silver-medal winner at the Para-Olympic World Championships in Brazil 2009, has set high goals for herself. She has a Bachelors degree in Psychology, has completed her Postgraduate Certificate in Education modules, and she is a motivational speaker to boot. She is also scheduled to start her PGCE practical teaching at the Tswellang Special School in Bloemfontein at the beginning of September 2011. “I love helping people and making a difference, and I would like to work with children with special needs,” Sarah says.

Ms Arina Otto, Manager at our Sports Medicine Clinic says: “We believe in you, Sarah, but mostly we support you all the way.” Sarah is also supported by the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and is currently on their OPEX (Operation Excellence) Programme. OPEX sponsored her by ensuring she gets all the medical and scientific support as an athlete.

Sarah swims two hours a day and exercises for an hour on a daily basis.

“We are hoping she does well in Canada so she can be selected for the 2012 Para-Olympic Games,” says Ms Tanya Martin, Assistant Coach: SuperSport Seals Swimming Club. 
 

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