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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

CDS receives another international grant from the NIH
2015-12-11

 

Dr Carla Sharp

The Centre for Development Support (CDS) is partner to another international research grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States. The new project follows an earlier project funded by the NIH, which focused on the mental health of orphans and vulnerable children.

The new project is to focus on investigating possible improvements in the mental health and cognitive development of orphaned and vulnerable children aged between seven and eleven years, by means of improved community-based care in the Mangaung Township area in Bloemfontein.  The project will stretch over three years and has a budget of approximately R10 million.

“We shall use the Mediational Intervention of Sensitizing Caregivers (MISC) approach and it will be applied by community-based organisations,” says Dr Deidre van Rooyen, Acting Director of the CDS. 

MISC applied by caregivers has produced good results elsewhere in the world. “This is the first time MISC will be tested by community-based organisations,” says Prof Lochner Marais of the CDS, who is also the principal investigator in South Africa.

“In addition to working with four community-based organisations in Mangaung, Childline Free State will also be actively involved in the project,” Marais added.

The project is being conducted in collaboration with Dr Carla Sharp as principal investigator at the University of Houston, and Prof Michael Boivin (an international expert on MISC) at the Michigan State University. Dr Sharp was recently appointed visiting professor at the CDS. 

“It is indeed a great privilege to be working with the CDS on yet another project,” Dr Sharp remarked, also noting that “the project is preliminary in nature and could evolve into a much bigger research project in future”.

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