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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

Science and goodwill meet drought-stricken communities
2016-03-02

Description: Disinfecting tankered water  Tags: Disinfecting water

“Everyone should contribute to the delivery of clean water to every individual,” says UFS researcher.

The drought in South Africa has impacted the country in many ways. Apart from its economic and environmental implications, the drought also has social implications, leaving some communities without water.

Since 21 January 2016, the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) is working together with the Department of Microbial, Biochemical, and Food Biotechnology at the University of the Free State. Dr Mariana Erasmus, post-doctoral fellow in the department, was appointed to lead a project for disinfecting tankered water supplied by the DWS to communities without water in the Qwaqwa area - which falls under the Maluti-a-Phufung Local Municipality.

She is working on the project with Robbie Erasmus from BioSense Solutions and Martin Bambo from DWS. A total of 53 trucks, 91 tanks, and 420 500 litres of water was disinfected so far, using sodium hypochlorite. “This is standard practice around the world,” Dr Erasmus said.

The work done by the UFS and DWS, who is monitoring the water quality as well as the process of water delivery, is very important. Disinfecting the trucks used to deliver water to drought-stricken communities decreases the formation of biofilm inside the tanks. “The biofilm could contain harmful bacteria such as E-coli. It is important to note that this is mostly the result of secondary pollution, since the water quality from the source where it was taken from, proved to be good. Drinking water with this harmful bacteria that has not been properly managed, can lead to health issues in humans when consumed,” Dr Erasmus said.

The Department of Microbial, Biochemical, and Food Biotechnology, interacting with the DWS on several water-related issues, volunteered to get involved in the project. They strongly believe that everyone should contribute to the delivery of clean water to every individual.

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