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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 releases draft charter to accelerate transformation
2007-02-02

The University of the Free State (UFS) today released a draft Institutional Charter which is intended to enhance and accelerate the ongoing transformation of the institution towards a non-racial, non-sexist future.

Speaking at the official opening of the university today, the Rector and Vice-chancellor, Prof Frederick Fourie, said the draft Institutional Charter, was an important milestone in the transformation debate for the university and the country.

“The draft charter acknowledges that black people, women and people with disabilities have been marginalised from job and developmental opportunities, within the higher education sector and at this university,” Prof Fourie said.

The charter commits the university to meeting the challenges of a transforming higher education institution in a developing society, in particular the challenges of nation-building, reconciliation, redress, non-racialism and non-sexism – and ultimately normalisation – within a high-quality academic institution.

The principles of the draft charter firmly signal the university’s commitment to diversity – attaining and maintaining substantive and sufficient diversity (including multiculturalism and multilingualism) – in its quest for quality and excellence. 
Prof Fourie said the draft charter seeks to build consensus among staff and students at the UFS about the ultimate goals of transformation at a higher education institution.

The charter proposes several basic values and principles that should guide the transformation process and at the same time serve as a basis for a future, normalised university - a promised land to transform towards.

The discussion document says academic quality is intrinsically linked to transformation and it commits the university to strengthening the core competencies of research, teaching and learning as well as community service so as to ensure a robust university for future generations.

“Indeed the thousands of matriculants, black and white, who apply to study at the UFS want to study at a good university, and a good university wants to attract the best black and white students and the best black and white staff, male and female,“ Prof Fourie said.

He said the draft charter also seeks to safeguard academic freedom and institutional autonomy as the foundation of critical inquiry and scholarship.

Regarding the critical issue of creating a new institutional culture, the draft charter commits the UFS to creating a sense of belonging for all members of the university – black and white, male and female, of whatever language, religious, cultural or economic background, as well as people with disabilities.

Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel:  (051) 401-2584
Cell:  083 645 2454
E-mail:  loaderl@mail.uovs.ac.za
02 February 2007

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