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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

Ecofeminism a possibe solution to impending famine
2016-05-12

Description: Ecofeminism Tags: Ecofeminism

Dr Inge Konik (right) is pictured with her postdoctoral supervisor, Prof Bert Olivier, Senior Research Professor at the Department of Philosophy.
Photo: Valentino Ndaba

In view of the environmental and social problems faced in South Africa today, researchers such as Dr Inge Konik are hard at work mapping these issues and seeking long-term solutions. Dr Konik,  a lecturer in the Department of Journalism, Media and Philosophy at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) shared her views in a presentation on 6 May 2016. She spoke about revaluing indigenous ways of life and subsistence-focused lifeways, linking this to materialist ecological feminism, or ecofeminism for short.

Dr. Konik’s presentation, hosted by the Department of Philosophy at the Bloemfontein Campus of the University of the Free State (UFS), was entitled: “Transversal reflections on ecological feminism and ubuntu.” The research underpinning the presentation derived from Dr Konik’s doctoral thesis which was supervised by Ariel Salleh (University of Sydney) and Andrea Hurst (NMMU).

Dr Konik’s research suggests that ecofeminism - which is a convergence between environmentalism and feminism - may hold the answers to the question of how we may work against environmental and social injustices. She also proposed that society look back toward subsistence communities of the past, and those currently being marginalized in our industrial societies, and linked the values evidenced in the practices of these communities to the African philosophty of ubuntu. In order to solve  complex contemporary challenges Dr Konik suggests that we combine these seemingly disparate theoretical frames - ubuntu and ecofeminism - by applying a transversal approach, which involves openness to dialogue  between traditions.

“My focus was on ecological feminism and critical theory and very specifically on South Africa, given the challeges South Africa faces - the environmental and social challenges and what kind of frameworks would be helpful,” said Dr Konik, who will officially become a postdoctoral research fellow at the department as of July 2016.

Prof Pieter Duvenage, Head of the Departement, stated that compelling research outputs are anticipated from Dr Konik as a fellow.

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