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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

UFS awarded five South African Research Chairs
2016-09-30

Description: South African Research Chairs Tags: South African Research Chairs

From left to right, Prof Maryke Labuschagne,
Prof Corli Witthuhn (Vice-Rector: Research),
Prof Hendrik Swart and Prof Felicity Burt.

The UFS was awarded five SARChI (South African Research Chairs Initiative) research chairs, the main goal of which is to promote research excellence. In addition, there has been an increase in the rating of the University’s researchers as the result of raised academic standards over the past few years, in line with the UFS’s Academic Project. As of 2016 the UFS has 127 NRF-rated researchers.

The following research chairs have been awarded to the UFS since 2013:

Prof Hendrik Swart from the Department of Physics is the research chair of Solid State Luminescent and Advanced Materials (2013-2017). Prof Swart’s research may assist in reducing vulnerability and contributing to poverty alleviation by providing affordable lighting for people in rural areas through fabricating phosphors and the development of nanophosphors.

Prof Maryke Labuschagne from the Department of Plant Sciences is the research chair of Disease Resistance and Quality in Field Crops (2016-2020). Prof Labuschagne believes that food security is one of the key factors for stability and prosperity on the continent. Her research and that of her students focuses on the genetic improvement of food security crops in Africa, including such staples as maize and cassava.

Research Chairs have been designed, to attract
and retain excellence in research and innovation
at South African universities.

Prof Melanie Walker, from the Department of Higher Education and Human Development, was awarded the research chair from 2013 to 2017. Prof Walker’s research interrogates the role of higher education in order to advance human development and justice in education and society, especially in relation to severe inequalities and poverty. Significantly, it asks what kind of societies we want, what is important in a democratic society, and thus, what kind of higher education is valuable, relevant and desirable.

Prof Felicity Burt from the Department of Medical Microbiology was recently awarded the research chair from 2016 to 2020, to investigate medically significant vector-borne and zoonotic viruses currently; to define associations between these viruses and specific disease manifestations that have previously not been described in our region, to increase awareness of these pathogens; to further our understanding of host immune responses, which should facilitate development of novel treatments or vaccines and drug discovery.

The Humanities without Borders: Trauma, History and Memory research chair was awarded from 2016 to 2020. The Institute for Social Justice and Reconciliation will use this research chair to investigate historical trauma within two African contexts – those of South Africa and Rwanda. The research hopes to bring insight into the role that memory plays in the formation of the experience of trauma, and to bring about healing of the trauma.

Research Chairs have been designed by the Department of Science and Technology, together with the National Research Foundation, to attract and retain excellence in research and innovation at South African public universities.

 

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