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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

Nothing beats hard work, says Kovsie
2011-10-13

 

Khethiwe Mtshali

Khethiwe Mtshali is a classic example of a go-getter. This hard-working 23-year-old student from Ladysmith, who is currently studying at our Qwaqwa Campus, strongly believes in her own abilities. She believes that hard work pays off and that a person will be richly rewarded if you give it your best. Khethiwe has recently returned from a month-long visit to China where she was stationed at the Fresh Water Fisheries Research Centre of the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences in Wuxi City.

“I was nominated to go to China to learn and conduct research, as South Africa lacks expertise in the field of food security and related fields of science,” says Khethiwe, a 2011 recipient of the Golden Key Award and an M.Sc.in Zoology student who specialises in Parasitology.
 
“The Chinese is a hard-working nation that I wish we could emulate as South Africans. Doing my research on parasitology of fish and other related agricultural diseases over there was a worthwhile experience that will not only benefit me as an individual, but the entire Parasitology Division of the Department of Zoology and Entomology at the Qwaqwa Campus. This research is surely going to put the university and the entire country in a better position to compete with the best in the field of parasitology,” Khethiwe said.
 
After completing her B.Sc. degree in 2008, Khethiwe worked as a teacher at Ezakheni High School for a year before she was summoned back to our university by her mentor and Head of the Department of Zoology and Entomology, Dr Oriel Thekisoe, where she studied towards an honours degree, which she passed with distinction last year.
 
“If it had not been for Dr Thekisoe, I think I would still be a teacher whose potential would not have been tapped to the maximum. I wish to thank him for pushing me to do my best at all times. He has taught me that where there’s a will, there’s a way,” Khethiwe said.
 
The best is yet to come for this proud Kovsie who can teach you a thing or two in Chinese!

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