UJC receives presentation on sexual assault and structural sexism

University Judiciary Committee also discusses professionalism

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Peter Bautz, a third-year Law student and UJC chair, spoke on professionalism in the committee, quoting the bylaws to discuss how officers need to conduct themselves.

Isabelle Lotocki | Cavalier Daily

The University Judiciary Committee met Sunday night to hear a presentation about sexual assault and discuss professionalism in the committee. Rae Schelling, a fourth-year College student and a guest speaker from the Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center, gave a talk on sexual assault and structural sexism during the general body meeting. 

Schelling’s presentation focused on the definitions of structural sexism and how it affects people in the real world. 

“I don’t think [the dictionary definition of sexism] encompasses the lived experience very well,” Schelling said. “The missing piece to that is structure.”

According to Schelling, structure is the “institutionalized and cultural norms that then build to affect people’s lives.”

She said it has a part in creating phenomena such as rape culture and toxic masculinity.

“Rape culture is the idea that the blame for rape violence is the women’s fault,” Schelling said. “[Toxic masculinity] implies that guys are always ready to have sex or show sexual impulses.”

These definitions led up to the main point of the presentation — how to help people affected by sexual assault and structural sexism. 

“The most, most, most important thing we can do is believe [survivors],” Schelling said. “They just had their confidence and competence stripped from them.”

Schelling also said it is important to support survivors of sexual assault through whatever path the survivor chooses to pursue.

“There are multiple ways to go through the healing process, and through the judicial process, through the University or through the police,” Schelling said.

A Title IX officer will attend the next general body meeting on Oct 22.

Peter Bautz, a third-year Law student and UJC chair, spoke on professionalism in the committee, quoting the bylaws to discuss how officers need to conduct themselves. 

“You are all held to the highest standards of confidentiality and professionalism,” Bautz said. “Real lives are impacted by our decisions.”

Bautz stressed that scheduling and communication are paramount to the UJC’s role in the community. He mentioned, in particular, officers backing out of cases or meetings at the last minute as something that can be improved.

“We are given a lot more responsibility than other student groups,” Bautz said. “We have to hold ourselves to a higher standard.”

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