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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

UFS receives multimillion rand international funding for Advancement
2013-01-21

21 January 2013

We are one of four South African universities that have been selected to take part in a multimillion-rand programme to bolster private fund-raising and Advancement efforts.

The UFS will receive US$640 000 (R5 612 800) over a period of five years to use in advancement efforts.

In total, the US-based Kresge Foundation will make US$2.5 million available to the four universities, which includes the UFS, Durban University of Technology (DUT), Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) and the University of Johannesburg (UJ), over the next five years as part of a joint initiative with Inyathelo: The South African Institute for Advancement, to support the long-term financial sustainability of higher education institutions in South Africa.

Kresge will also provide programmes and support aimed at enhancing student access to universities and improving graduation rates.

Bill Moses, who directs Kresge’s education programme, says declining government support means that South African university officials need to tap into diversified philanthropic and private funding if they want to enhance their institutions’ ability to serve students better. “Stronger Advancement skills are critical to their success and ultimately to getting more South African students into universities and completing degrees. Advancement is not just about raising funds. It is the practice of building, maintaining and improving support, skills and other resources to ensure the sustainability of an institution,” explains Moses.

 This latest Kresge initiative follows the success of a five-year partnership with Inyathelo that helped five high-profile South African institutions - the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits); the University of Pretoria (UP); the University of the Western Cape (UWC); the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and the Children’s Hospital Trust - increase their private fund-raising revenue threefold. The four universities will receive additional funding over the next five years and will serve as mentors to the new group of institutions.

In April last year, Kresge announced a new commitment to South African higher education that builds on its efforts in the United States to improve university access and help students succeed academically. Their ‘Promoting access and success at South African universities’ programme will seek to strengthen pathways to and through universities, especially for students who are often unprepared for university study. Moses says enhancing the ability of universities in South Africa to graduate the next generation of knowledge workers, will make it possible for the country to compete more effectively in the global economy. “Access to higher education in South Africa has improved dramatically since the end of Apartheid. A doubling of enrolment since 1994 has, however, contributed to serious challenges, including under-prepared students and disappointing graduation rates. We are confident that our programme will help address some of these obstacles to success,” says Moses.

Kresge has already funded several efforts that support its interest in strengthening pathways to and through universities this year, including a grant to the University of the Free State to expand the South African Survey of Student Engagement, as well as funding to the University of Pretoria to support a conference in January, which will highlight opportunities to promote access and success at South African universities.

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