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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

‘We need a story that will excite us all’
2012-03-09

 

Attending the conversation were, from the left: Willemien Marais, Lecturer in the Department of Communication Science; Zubeida Jaffer; and Prof. Andre Keet, Director of the International Institute for Studies in Race, Reconciliation and Social Justice.
Photo: Amanda Tongha
9 March 2012


“From the stories of Afrikaner Nationalism and Black Consciousness to the stories of our Constitution and the 1995 Rugby World Cup… But now what do we have?”

This was the question posed by Zubeida Jaffer, recently appointed as the university's Writer-in-Residence. Do we need a new national narrative? was the issue addressed by Ms Jaffer in a talk presented as part of the Critical Conversations series hosted by the university’s International Institute for Studies in Race, Reconciliation and Social Justice. Ms Jaffer is an award-winning journalist and author of, amongst others, Love in a time of treason and Our Generation.

“We can’t change the past and we can’t keep on focusing on separate narratives; we need to find a story, a new national narrative with elements that could excite all of us,” she told an audience consisting of academics and students. She also referred to the changes that took place at the university. “I’m fascinated by what is happening here. It’s mind-boggling to see the changes.” Based on the UFS’ drive to find common ground, Ms Jaffer told the audience that research at universities could and should direct this search for a common South African story. 

In reference to her own experiences as a community activist and journalist during apartheid, she urged students to become active citizens. “In my time students were the leaders; they gave direction to the national debate.” 
 

Article (pdf format)

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