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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

Colloquium focuses on protection of reproductive and sexual health in Africa
2011-10-28

 
Proff. Charles Ngwena and Loot Pretorius, both from the Department of Constitutional Law and Philosophy of Law at the UFS.
Photo: Stephen Collett

Our Department of Constitutional Law and Philosophy of Law of the Faculty of Law recently convened a two-day colloquium with the theme, ‘Strengthening protection of reproductive and sexual health in Africa through human rights’.

The colloquium built upon the work of the university’s LLM Programme in Reproductive and Sexual Rights, which trains law graduates to become specialists in reproductive and sexual health as human rights. The LLM Programme was first established in 2005. The colloquium brought together delegates from different professional backgrounds, including academia, health sciences and human-rights advocates from across the African region as well as from abroad.
 
Delegates addressed the theme of the colloquium in sessions  organised around the topics: HIV/Aids and human rights; sexual health and sexual rights; reproductive health and rights; abortion-related issues; and the intersection between cultural and religious perspectives and sexual and reproductive health and rights.
 
According to Prof. Charles Ngwena, Director of the LLM Programme, and co-convener of the colloquium together with Dr Ebenezer Durojaye, Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Constitutional Law at the UFS, the discussions flowing from the papers were to:
  • identify a persistent gap or challenge in the respect, protection and realisation of reproductive and/or sexual health as a human right under African human rights systems; and
  • advance arguments and suggestions that are aimed at addressing the gap or challenge and ultimately strengthening African human rights systems.
To address the regional dimension of the colloquium, the papers  delivered ultimately addressed selected reproductive and/or sexual health or right issues from a regional rather than a mere country perspective so that the experiences and challenges of the African region are captured.

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