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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’ position on student politics
2011-09-01

The University of the Free State (UFS) welcomes politics on its campus. It especially invites students to participate in all the political activities on campus, ranging from seminars and debates on national and provincial politics, and organization within party political structures. Earlier the year, in the run-up to the Local Government Elections, a programme was run on campus with all political parties participating in public and radio debates with students on political issues.

A university must be a place for all kinds of ideas and organizations---social, cultural, religious, academic and, yes, political. The perception that the UFS has “banned” politics is simply not true, nor is it possible within a constitutional democracy.
 
The University of the Free State once again invites SASCO and any other political groupings that have not yet registered to participate in campus life, to do so as soon as possible. It is important to the UFS that all student bodies enjoy full participation in campus life, and that there exists a vibrant and exciting political life on the campus alongside academic, social, cultural and religious life.
 
The Student Representative Council (SRC) Elections at the UFS has been constituted on independent candidacy and non-party-political basis. This is a decision crafted and recommended by the Broad Student Transformation Forum, whose members are elected by students, and approved for implementation by the highest authority of the university, the Council. The decisions of the Student Forum entails that all students can nominate individuals for a variety of student leadership positions, which includes nomination for elective portfolios in the SRC elections, but also within nine sub-councils that hold ex-officio seats on the SRC.
 
The old system which restricted student leadership to representation on a party-political basis only (DA, ANC, Freedom Front Plus etc) no longer exists.
 
This decision of the Student Forum ensures that the rights of all students to directly elect their representatives are protected, and that the SRC in fact represents the student body as a whole and not particular interest groups alone. This decision enables ALL students to stand for and participate in campus politics in the SRC elections, though not on a party political ticket. In the 2011 SRC Elections, for example, SASCO members were indeed mandated by its local branch to stand as candidates for various elected positions, as did other political parties such as the DA Student Organisation, a development which the university welcomes. 
 
Most importantly, the UFS insists that all students participate in university life with respect for the rights of all students, irrespective of their social beliefs or political commitments. The UFS insists that no student or student grouping acts to disrupt campus life or insult university staff or denigrate fellow students on grounds of race, religion, language, gender, etc. This is very important to the UFS as it works to build a non-racial culture that respects our common humanity. Our students must learn that democracy and decency go hand in hand, and that part of learning at a university, is to learn to differ without resorting to a language of derision.
 
In short, the University of the Free State warmly welcomes full participation in politics, as in other spheres of student life, on all three its campuses.
 
Statement by Prof. Jonathan Jansen, UFS Vice-Chancellor and Rector.

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