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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

Book Prize for Distinguished Scholarship awarded to Dr Christian Williams
2016-03-24

Description: Dr Christian Williams Tags: Dr Christian Williams

Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the University of the Free State and Dr Christian Williams, senior lecturer at the UFS Department of Anthropology.
Photo: Johan Roux

When Dr Christian Williams moved from the United States to Namibia in January 2000 as part of the WorldTeach volunteer programme for teachers, he had not anticipated an award-winning piece of scholarship in his future. It was during these visits to Namibia, though, that the seeds for his highly-acclaimed book were sewn.

While volunteering at the St. Therese Secondary School in Tses at that time, Dr Williams – now a senior lecturer at the University of the Free State (UFS) Department of Anthropology – became acquainted with some of the school’s alumni. The stories these individuals started sharing with him soon revealed personal histories of exile and violence by fellow SWAPO (South West Africa People’s Organization) members.

These experiences ultimately resulted in Dr Williams’ book, National liberation in postcolonial southern Africa: a historical ethnography of SWAPO’s exile camps, published last year. Due to the book’s literary impact, the university awarded Dr Williams the UFS Book Prize for Distinguished Scholarship on Friday 19 February 2016. Dr Williams is the second academic to be awarded this prize.

Politics of the past


In the 1960s, Namibians mobilised and retaliated against colonial rule under the liberation movement known as SWAPO. This created political tension which resulted in the flight of many SWAPO members to exile camps administered by the party.

“Over its three decades in exile, SWAPO was responsible for the welfare of roughly 60 000 Namibians. This was about 4% of the total Namibian population at independence – most of whom lived in camps,” says Dr Williams. The research originally used as a basis for his doctoral thesis was subsequently developed into this prize-winning book.

Advancing the Human Project

“It’s an honour to receive recognition from the university; it means that they value the kind of work that I am doing. I think it’s great for universities to have such prizes,” Dr Williams says.

Supporting the UFS Human Project, Dr Williams will donate a portion of the R25 000 prize money towards the UFS Student Bursary Fund Campaign, as well as the school in Namibia.The rest will subsidise the purchase of the book for distribution to libraries and as gifts.

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