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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

Seminar on mediation and peacemaking in Southern Africa
2011-09-21

Our university will join universities from five other African countries at a seminar in Lusaka, Zambia, from 23 - 25 September 2011, to discuss mediation and peacemaking in Southern Africa.  The Osaka University from Japan will also be present at the seminar.

The seminar follows the conceptualisation of a programme entitled the Southern Africa Oasis of Peace Project by Prof. Hussein Solomon, Senior Professor in Political Science at our university, and Prof. Virgil Hawkins from Osaka University. The project aims to build networks between academics across the world who work in the broad field of conflict resolution and to offer good practical suggestions to policy makers on how to achieve sustainable peace in the Southern African region.
 
Prof. Solomon will deliver a paper on mediation within the context of a war, presenting the case of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), at the seminar. Senior academics from the universities of Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Dar-es-Salaam, Stellenbosch and Pretoria will also deliver presentations.
 
Prof. Solomon said that amongst the envisaged outputs of the seminar are a journal and regular conferences to bring together academics and policy makers.

The Southern Africa Oasis of Peace Project is being funded by the Asia Africa Science Platform Programme and the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science.

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