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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

2015 Spring Graduation Ceremony rekindles spirit of Ubuntu
2015-09-22

 

Our graduates: A new generation of future leaders
to advance South Africa

 -  Video: Spring Graduation Ceremony

“Give away your love, attention, care and more.” These words of Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the University of the Free State (UFS), capture the spirit of the 2015 Spring Graduation Ceremony that took place on Thursday 17 September 2015.

On this special day, 599 diplomas and degrees were conferred from the faculties of the Humanities, Education, Law, Theology, Economic and Management -, Health -, and Natural and Agricultural Sciences. Central to both the morning and afternoon ceremonies was the message of Ubuntu.

The essence of humanity

“Here is my advice to you,” Prof Jansen said to the graduates, “whatever you have, give it away. Give away your love, attention, care and more.” Prof Jeffrey Sachs, guest speaker at both events, supported this message by saying that the essence of humanity is the cornerstone to success. Prof Sachs, a prominent American economist and humanitarian, asked graduates to use their hard-earned knowledge wisely, fairly and boldly. “You are the wealth of South Africa, for your knowledge is the key to SA’s prosperity.”

The UFS Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences honoured Prof Sachs by conferring an honorary doctorate on him. With this prestigious conferral, the faculty acknowledges Prof Sach’s extensive work in sustainable economic, social and political development across the globe. Dr Khotso Mokhele, Chancellor of the UFS, commended Prof Sachs for his compassion and passion for humanity. “I’m truly inspired that you agreed to associate yourself with this institution. We are proud to be associated with your excellence,” Dr Mokhele said.

Celebrating the extraordinary

One of many highlights of the day was when Leanne Kunz and Karabo Motlhakoana walked across the stage to respectively receive their Postgraduate Diploma in Business Administration and a BSc degree in Information Technology.

Kunz has been compiling news bulletins for The Breakfast Special show, aired on the OFM radio station, for five years. This Kovsie Alumnus graduated with a Media Studies degree a few years ago. Kunz did not allow her successful career at the popular radio station to hinder her studying further, though. Neither has Motlhakoana’s physical challenges.

While everyone else used their hands to take notes, Motlhakoana used his foot. Despite being born with no arms, he was able to beat the odds by qualifying as a computer scientist. Motlhakoana was also involved in the Leadership for Change programme in 2011 which contributed to producing the well-rounded graduate he is today. When walking across the stage, “I felt like I achieved something that gave me a challenge,” he said.

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