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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

Study on school violence shows the secondary school environment compels learners to be armed
2015-01-26

The secondary school environment apparently compels learners to come to school armed. This is according to a study done by Dr Lynette Jacobs, a lecturer at the School of Education Studies at the University of the Free State.

In her study, Dr Jacobs found that learners from more affluent schools carry noticeably more weapons than learners in less affluent schools. Learners in the lower grades of secondary schools also use and carry more weapons than learners in the higher grades.

Dr Jacobs says while many reasons for school violence can be noted, such as to forcibly take the victims money and food, racial differences, religious differences, as well as the immigrant status of one of the parties involved, these were reasons indicated by less than 10% of the participants in the study.

“There is no single explanation for the threat of violence at schools and most acts of school violence appear to happen randomly, often out of instant retaliation.”

For the study, Dr Jacobs did surveys at schools across three provinces in South Africa.

“Although it varies in levels of seriousness, incidences of physical violence and verbal cruelty consistently occur at South Africans schools. I found that learners are furthermore regularly mocked, insulted, cursed and humiliated by peers.”

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