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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

A journey into self-discovery
2011-08-17

Sandy Little

The launch of the film and book Africa meets Africa: Pathways through the Interior at our university was a huge success.

It forms part of the The Africa meets Africa Project that is known for making connections between knowledge systems in pursuit of learning. It integrates amongst others beadwork and weaving with mathematics.

The film takes one through the Free State and some parts of the Northern Cape. The two actors, Mr Lerato Mokhitli and Ms Sandy Little, are both art students at Kovsies. During the trip they reveal some historic events not known to all. Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector, said: “Our history is a lot more complex and interesting than current texts allow. Much of what happened laid the foundations for trauma, and triumph is poorly understood. More so, is the history of the ordinary.”

The film and book are funded by National Heritage Council and FirstRand. It was launched in other provinces, among them KwaZulu-Natal. The Africa meets Africa Project aims to use the book in the Free State and Northern Cape in the Further Education and Training (FET) phase for educators and university students.

Prof. Jansen furthermore said: “I would definitely recommend the book with some additions, such as representation of excluded cultures. This would include white ethnographic histories and cultures and the intersections across black/white, African/European histories. I would also make the subject history compulsory to ensure that children would be exposed to our complex history.”

Ms Moipone Kabaoe, a third-year B.Soc.Sc. student at UFS, said: “The film was very informative and clarified some things. I also believe the actors have actually grown from the experience and they did a great job.”

Mrs Anna Mokhitli was ecstatic at the launch, as any proud mother would be. “I knew they were working so hard, but I never thought it would be something this big,” she said. Ms Helene Smuts, Director of Africa meets Africa, said: “You cannot learn until you start with what you know. This is the journey we took; now you must take your own.”
 

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