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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

UFS a much safer place
2011-09-20

 

First-year students Chuma Nyiko (left) and Mabasa Teleni next to one of the red poles installed on our Bloemfontein Campus.
Photo: Amanda Tongha

Students and staff at our Bloemfontein Campus can feel even safer, with several initiatives being put in place to ensure their safety.

The stop-and-search actions of the recent past, which are being carried out at all the main gates of our Bloemfontein Campus, seem to be successful, since car theft has decreased on the campus. Mr Willie Frankim, Head of Protection Services, says the stop-and-search actions are carried out sporadically, but have a definite effect on crime at the campus. Mr Frankim says only one vehicle has been stolen in the past two months as opposed to the many more that have been stolen in the past.

The message that safety is viewed in a serious light reaches as far as our university’s parking areas and walkways, which are being patrolled by security staff. Mr Frankim says a security officer is placed in all the large parking areas, while other personnel are distributed across the entire campus, especially at key areas, such as at the library and student centre.

Our university also recently installed more than 30 red poles across the entire campus. Each of these red poles is fitted with a panic button by means of which help can be summoned. Should a student or staff member feel unsafe, all they have to do is press the button and cameras, which are installed in the vicinity, will focus on the pole and Protection Services will send assistance. Twenty five of these poles are already working and ten more still have to be activated.

Students and staff can also phone Protection Services on 051 401 2911 if they feel uncomfortable about their safety. They can use this number, for example, to ask a security officer to accompany them to their car.
 

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