Who & What: Sandra

SandraMeet Sandra, our most recent addition to the Women’s Resource Center! Sandra interned for us at the end of the Spring semester and joined our team as an Office Assistant at the beginning of this summer. We are so excited she is here!

Here is a little message about Sandra, and her role at the WRC:

Sandra felt this wonderful group of intelligent, fun, compassionate women were the right fit for her and knew she could be an asset to this team. She comes to us with a history working in mental and behavioral health capacities, with experience working in the compliance department at Value Options New Mexico and processing intake at Mats Detox Center for drug and alcohol detox.

In 2014 Sandra graduated from Central New Mexico Community College, earning three Associate Degrees in Integrated Studies, Liberal Arts, and Child, Youth, and Family Development. In Spring 2015 she enrolled at the University of New Mexico and is working on her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. Once she completes her degree, Sandra hopes to continue to be an advocate for women and children in either the U.S. or Guatemala. She recognizes the disparity in resources for women and children living in Guatemala, and would love to provide resources or counseling.

In her role at the WRC, Sandra loves being able to assist in outreach programs, events, and interacting with other students in the office. She is key to helping the WRC locate resources and gather information to provide to students and community members. On campus Sandra shows acceptance for all people and helps to raise awareness of social justice and ending violence. She advocates for women, children, men and non traditional students.

Apart from volunteering with the homeless and working with drug addictions in the community, Sandra enjoys walking to awesome tunes, the outdoors and hiking, yoga, dancing, and life with her two grown sons and two cats. Sandra’s newest love is her first grandson, born this June. She enjoys a holistic way of life and nurturing healthy attitudes and relationships with friends and coworkers.

Campaigns That Are Killing It

Sexual, domestic, emotional, or physical abuse are heavy topics. Recently, more and more conversations have surfaced about these topics. We’re living in a society that is starting to recognize that not only do these things happen, they are happening to people we love – they are happening to us. So advocates are raising awareness, making the conversation louder, and sharing stories to change our culture. They’re doing all of this through social media campaigns; by using hashtags and sharing logos or photos on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or their website to create awareness. Check out our top campaigns that are advocating for change, and how you can advocate with them.

Believeing Banner
1. Start By Believing

This campaign came from the End Violence Against Women International Program. It asks the simple question – what will your reaction be when someone comes to you as a victim of violence? Their answer is just as simple: I will start by believing. Thousands of people across the country have taken the pledge that they too will start by believing, and share their pledge on Instagram with #StartByBelieving or on Facebook. States and universities are even becoming Start by Believing institutions, and campaigns are being launched in businesses, schools, and organizations across the nation.

2. It’s On Us itsonus

It’s On Us is a campaign directly from the White House along with universities, businesses, organizations, and sports teams to raise awareness about sexual assault, specifically on college campuses. The campaign seeks to involve everyone in the fight to end sexual assault on campus, and share the responsibility of prevention on all individuals. You can take the pledge and change your Facebook or Twitter photo to reflect the It’s On Us logo!

3. NoMore

nomoreNoMore.org is a website and social media campaign with the simple message: No More domestic violence and sexual assault. Celebrities, sports figures, and advocates across the U.S. can be spotted on social media holding their pledge for No More silence, or victim blaming, or whatever it is they seek to end in regards to domestic violence and sexual assault. California is even attempting to get a No More license plate to show their support! Pledge online, snap a quick photo, and decide what you are saying No More to.

4. Put The Nail In It nail

We just found this campaign today and were excited for the simple and easy way to raise awareness about domestic violence. #PutTheNailInIt asks women and men to paint one nail purple, the color associated with domestic violence awareness. This begins the conversation, and together we can raise more awareness about domestic violence. You can also donate on their site! This campaign is from Safe Horizon, a victim’s service agency.

Who & What Series

The intent of this blog series is to reintroduce you to the people at the Women’s Resource Center and give you a little insight into the things that happen here day to day! We hope you learn a little more about who we are, what we do, and what we can offer to YOU. 

We will start with a little background on the Women’s Resource Center…

The WRC was founded in 1972 by a group of faculty, graduate students, and community members. It’s original intent was to be an advocate for women on campus and in the community, and forty three years later the WRC maintains the same purpose. We achieve this intention by promoting the establishment and enforcement of policies and procedures which address issues of institutionalized sexism & racism, sexual harassment, and all other forms of discrimination in our society.

A full version of our mission and vision statements can be found on our website, but a more concise version is right here:

Mission – We are a center for advocacy, support, and safety. From a feminist model of empowerment, we offer programs to encourage women’s self-determination and community engagement. We promote awareness and advocate for women’s rights and equity and hope to facilitate understanding and respect in our community in order to achieve social justice. The center provides tools and resources to encourage academic, personal, and professional success.

Vision – To educate people on issues affecting women, plan special events to empower women in our community, and provide a safe space for individuals and peer education, mentoring, and scholarship opportunities.

We talk a lot about programs and education – but it is not as boring as it sounds! It’s a great way for you to get involved with the WRC. We run an Impact: Women’s Leadership and Mentorship Program for female and female identified students to develop leadership skills and build their resumes! We also have our Gendered Violence Protection Program, which educated students about sexual violence prevention through a Peer Educator Model. This summer our presentation will be presented by New Student Orientation leaders to over 4,000 incoming first year students. For breastfeeding students, faculty, or partners/spouses of students and faculty, we run a Breastfeed Support Program which facilitates 19 lactation stations on campus.

There is a lot going on here! We also offer free printing from our computer lab, and coffee, tea, and chocolate every day – come on in!


Making Statements Bigger Than Just Fashion

Today we strive to raise awareness about sexual violence and rape, and end common misconceptions. We stand in solidarity with victims and survivors who have been told their rape was their fault. We seek to educate people about the definitions of rape and sexual violence. We advocate for survivors, and gently remind the world that it is not their fault. We can do all these things every day, but especially today – and in our jeans.

Imagine you are in your home on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. You might be sitting in your backyard, with your windows open and door unlocked. While you are distracted reading or playing in the yard or cooking, someone comes into your home and robs you. They take your money, your valuables, and most importantly your sense of security. When you go to the police and eventually take this person to court, the judge rules that because you had your windows open and door unlocked, you were basically allowing someone to rob you.

Is that really your fault, for enjoying your own home?

Now imagine you are in a foreign country and you take a taxi to your hotel. The taxi driver rapes you, leaving you feeling violated, confused, and alone. You find the courage to go the authorities, and eventually take the man to court. But you were wearing jeans, and the court rules that if you sat still long enough for your rapist to take them off, then the act was consensual.

For a woman in Italy in 1992, this second scenario was her reality. 

Denim Day came as a result of this ruling. Clearly, victim blaming has a long and global history, and misconceptions about the definitions of rape are contributing to this blame. What the judge failed to recognize was the fear and anxiety that a victim might be experiencing during their assault, that has a heavy influence on their reactions. We tend to categorize our responses to threats in two categories: fight or flight. But what we sometimes fail to remember is the grey area in between fighting and fleeing. Freezing can also be a response, and that doesn’t make an assault consensual.

Consent is not the absence of no. Consent is the presence of a clear and definite yes. 

In 1992 a judge defined consent as the absence of no. Join us today in advocating for women who have been told that their lack of fight, flight, or “no” means that their assault was their fault. Join us in fighting for a better understanding of consent, of rape, and of how to respond to sexual violence.

Are you wearing denim today?

Click here to find out more information about participating in Denim Day.
Click here for more information on the story behind Denim Day.

Welcome back and happy New Year!


The beginning of a new semester, and a new year, is always an exciting time full of possibilities and new plans. We’ve been very busy expanding programs, building new programs, and creating an exciting selection of activities for you. It is also a great time to reflect on successes and lessons learned, and to say goodbye to people who continue their journeys elsewhere and welcome new people into our community.

UNM took a huge step toward helping students dealing with sexual violence this past year. We were proud to cofound, with UNMPD, the new Sexual Assault Response Team (SART). UNMPD Chief Kathy Guimond and I serve as co-chairs of the steering committee. The effort has the full support of President Frank and is off to a great start. Please keep in mind that the number of reports may go up and that is actually a good thing; it means we are doing a good job of reaching out to students who need us. After meeting for the first time last May, we have coordinated the team, services, and programs; created a website (sart.unm.edu) and distributed 5000 brochures.

Our Gendered Violence Prevention Program (GVPP) graduate assistant, Angela Catena, has also coordinated and facilitated several prevention trainings and presentations. She was also selected for the inaugural Campus Leaders Fellowship with Futures Without Violence “to spur creative, student-led action to change university policy, enhance curriculum, raise awareness and shift campus culture around dating violence, domestic violence and the connection to sexual assault, and reproductive coercion.” As one of just 12 graduate students across the country, collaborating with this exceptional team of people strengthens Angela’s work with GVPP.

Our own Sarah Crawford, mentoring and leadership program assistant, was selected as one of 10 students in the country to hold a position on the American Association of University (AAUW) Women National Student Advisory Council. This national leadership position gives Sarah the opportunity to serve as AAUW ambassador, advise AAUW staff on the needs of college students, and lead gender equality projects on campus. The UNM WRC was also selected as one of 50 schools to host Elect Her: Campus Women Win, an AAUW program that teaches women how to run successful campaigns for student leadership positions in clubs, student government, and plants the seeds for future public service. We will also host the $tart $mart Salary Negotiation Workshop, an AAUW/WAGE Project effort to help young women negotiate the best salary and benefits package they can at the start of their careers.

The Impact Project: A Women’s Mentoring Program is taking applications until February 7. Mentees should be in their first year of school and mentors need to be sophomores on up to graduate school. The Lobo Women’s Council had its inaugural meeting last October with almost 40 interested women and male allies attending. Look for more leadership development opportunities for students, staff, faculty, and the community coming up! We are going to Lean In: LOBO STYLE! and take control of our financial destiny with a series of 5 presentations on women and money.

Susan Mbatudde-Gustafson, our program assistant for social media/marketing/website, is busy getting our newsletter back in production; it will be available online and via email. She is also handling all of our social media, marketing, writing for our wordpress blog and trying to get all of us to as well. If you’d like to contribute a blog post, let us know. Be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Help us congratulate Emily Hernandez, WRC office assistant, in completing her phlebotomy certificate. She is now working with Tri-Core and loving running all over UNMH in addition to working here. Our own Nate Armstrong, WRC office assistant, won his first two matches with first-round knockouts—way to go Nate!

We would like to thank Cathy Ahiyite, our Breast-feeding Support Program (BFSP) assistant, for working so hard to expand the program. We now have a new location in UNMH and one in Carrie Tingley Hospital; that brings the total to 12 rooms around campus for lactating moms to use! Cathy is entering her last semester of student teaching before she graduates in May—we wish her all the best! Medical student, Kate Rooney, will take on the leadership role and will be working to expand the program even more. The BFSP will now be housed under our new Women’s Health Education Program and will offer a wide range of activities and presentations about all aspects of our health.

The WRC also welcomes Addie Gillespie, Devon Rosenkoetter, and LaToya Lozoya to our team as office assistants and our interns Alice, Garrett, Thomarita and Fran. We are happy to have their smiling faces and great skills in our center. We also welcome our counseling interns: Arianna, Deanna, Moriah and Sarah! Including Angela, that’s 5 counselors to offer FREE counseling at the WRC this semester! They are planning some great group experiences too, so check out the website for info.

We are taking applications for the Sabrina Single Mothers Scholarship until January 31—tell all of your single mom friends! We are also planning new programming for WOMEN in STEM and expanding our programs for men and male allies. Does it sound like we’ve been busy? Yes, we have been. Last year, we had the privilege of making more than 61,000 contacts with our community. Let’s keep it growing—come by to get involved!

I’d like to officially welcome our Administrative Assistant III, Michele Navarrette. She started last spring and the phrase ‘hitting the ground running’ has never been so apropos. Michele has worked hard to learn a tremendous amount in a short time and is keeping our center on track and running smoothly. In addition to her work here, Michele quickly stepped into a leadership role by getting elected to Staff Council and she was accepted into the Management Academy! We are lucky to have her and can’t wait to see what’s next!

Michele’s arrival came with the retirement of our dear Carol Dolan, former Administrative Assistant III. Carol worked with the WRC for 23 years and over that time saw a lot of change on campus. We laughed, we cried, we supported a lot of students together and I’m grateful that I got to work with her! We all appreciate her dedication and service and we miss her. We wish her the happiest retirement possible!

There are so many ways to get involved with and to support the WRC. We gladly accept interns and field experience students. You can support us financially by making a donation to the WRC in general or to our Sabrina Single Mothers Scholarship—just call to find out how. 

If you haven’t stopped by yet to see the new layout, furniture, computers, lockers, etc., come by soon to get a tour. Don’t forget, we always have coffee and tea, and condoms, candy, feminine hygiene products, and…a stash of chocolate. Looking forward to seeing you soon. Have a great semester!

~Your finally permanent WRC Director, Summer Little 




WRC makes blankets to benefit Albuquerque SANE

WRC’s Sarah and Alice making blankets.

IMG_5147Angela folding and prepping the blankets.

By Susan Mbatudde-Gustafson

The Women Resource Center (WRC) is putting the comfort back in the blanket this fall semester. Women Resource Center staff, students, and other University of New Mexico (UNM) community are making blankets at the center to benefit Albuquerque Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE). SANE is local organization that collaborates to serve sexual assault and domestic violence victims by providing immediate, compassionate, culturally sensitive and comprehensive medical treatment and forensic evaluation by nurse experts.

According to Albuquerque SANE website, “one out of every five New Mexican women over 18 have been raped and one out of every 25 New Mexican men over 18 have been raped.  SANE is also part of the University of New Mexico’s Sexual Assault Response Team (SART), a victim centered, victim controlled, coordinated response team, which was launched in August of 2013.

“Since SANE offers showers for victims to clean up after their exams, we figured toiletries would be helpful. In talking with SANE’s program director, Teresa D’Anza we learned that the organization could use some blankets and we saw this as a great opportunity for the WRC community to create something useful and comforting. It is also a great way to strengthen the relationship between the WRC and SANE,” said Angela Catena, MA, LMHC, WRC’s graduate program assistant, gendered violence prevention program.

The WRC is also holding a food drive to benefit Storehouse a local pantry here in Albuquerque that provides food and clothing to people who are struggling in our community. The food drive is an effort to give back to those in need while creating awareness about the food resources in our community.

Together, We Can “Have It All” – If We Want It

By AMBAR J. CALVILLO on June 26, 2012

Appearing on at least five of my news feeds last Wednesday, Ann Marie Slaughter’s article for Atlantic magazine, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All”, caused quite the stir.  It was emailed, and recommended to me by three friends before I had the courage to finish reading it. It was the title.  I was subconsciously afraid to read a well-written, very popular article, which in my mind, would include all of the reasons why women would be doomed forever. As soon as I was finished reading it I devoured countless responses from major media outlets, most written from women who declared to be proof that Slaughter was wrong.

Most of these reactions and responses missed the point, and I continue to blame the title.  This title, along with the message that the “feminist credo has failed women”, has revived a public antagonism between women.  As my director said over email: “let the ‘mommy wars’ continue”.   The spotlight, though, has been on the voices of the few privileged women who have tons of choices afforded to them.   The media is overwhelmingly saturated with responses from the quintessential ‘super-mom’ –– educated, wealthy, successfully employed (maybe self-employed), married, and with superb time-management skills.   I can see them, shaking their fingers and nodding their heads in disapproval at the idea that someone couldn’t manage to ‘have it all’ (or their version of it all to be precise).

Such as Kamenetz’s piece, “Yes, We Can Have It All – Here’s What It Takes” where she not only confesses to be part of the “oh-so small sector of the population; upper class educated women” who work, not because they have to, but because they want to. She then continues to include her nanny and husband as part of the equation to “having it all”.  Well…good for her.  Now, where is the representation of the million other single mothers, working two to three jobs, trying to afford childcare?  What happens when a nanny, husband, flexible or dependable work schedule are not a variable? What kind of standard are we setting for women? These responses are individual approaches to ways in which some women can make it work and “have it all”. We should be looking at the challenges that affect everyone (regardless of class, education, or type of family) and collectively look at ways in which all women and caregivers can decide what “having it all” means to them, and then having the opportunity to have it.

The major media outlets should take responsibility for setting up an “us vs. them” effect: those who think they have the magic equation to really “have it all”, and shaming those that are falling through the cracks.  Most of the cracks are set by employers and work environments that don’t value family.  It is not the “feminist credo” that has failed women, it is the policies and systems in place that have failed women.

Feminism, never promised things would be perfect.  As two friends discussed with me over lunch, feminism began so that women could have the choice to have a career, a family, and a chance to change what wasn’t working for them.  Feminism allows us to identify what it means for us to (ideally) “have it all” and then have an equal opportunity (and support systems) to chase it.  Like our sisters, leading the first wave feminist movement, we should stand together, not alone.

The issues, such as the underrepresentation of women as corporate executives and judicial leaders, which Slaughter discuses, are often framed as individual problems, but they are not.  The challenges keeping the leadership gap this way should be analyzed and discussed as a much-needed systemic overhaul.  We should work together to ensure our country provides the very basic policies that value working caregivers and their families.  If these policies were in place, women (and men) wouldn’t have to become a juggling act or superhuman mythical creature in order to have a career and care for a family.  Women and men should not have to worry about being punished at work, taking a demotion, or passing up great career opportunities because they are also working to succeed as family members.  The standard should be better, and they should work for the millions of people working everyday to survive and to “have something”.

Bravo describes the following policies we need NOW (not when a woman is elected president) in a Women’s Media Center post:

  • Paid sick days that protect jobs or paychecks for being a good mother and staying home with a sick child. Right now two in five workers lack even a single paid sick day, and nearly half of those who earn sick time can’t use it to care for a sick child.
  • Family leave for all workers to protect jobs for those with a new baby. Half the workforce is this country isn’t eligible for the Family and Medical Leave Act, which provides that job protection.
  • Family leave insurance that would keep new mothers from being forced to rely on welfare and other public programs after giving birth. Today nearly half of women in the U.S. workforce do not receive a penny of pay during maternity leave—too often forcing their families into poverty. 
  • Equity for part-timers and predictable schedules so women don’t have to decide which bill will go unpaid because the work schedule changes from week to week, with very short notice and usually too few hours—or just enough shy of 40 to deny eligibility for benefits.

So what can we do?  Enter Andrea Paluso, Executive director of Family Forward Oregon, one of the organizations working to change the systems that are failing caregivers and families.  Family Forward’s vision is to have statewide policies that value the work of caring for loved ones, which every state could/should model.  It views this process as “critical to [the] social and economic health” and one that should not “jeopardize anyone’s job or long-term security”.  Family Forward Oregon (FFO) is an advocate to develop an “equal playing field” for everyone when it comes to universal policies that include “paid family leave, paid sick days, and affordable child care”.

“Whether it’s 16-month long maternity leave in Sweden or paid sick days in Japan, family-forward policies make economies more competitive — not less. The result is a more resilient, stable, and healthy workforce. The United States needs to catch up with the rest of the industrialized world.  As a grassroots organization, we mobilize parents to advocate for bold, universal policies that benefit ALL families. No matter how your family is configured, what type of work you do, or how much money you make, we know that we are all in this together”

Working to educate employers, parents, and policy makers is an important process everyone can be a part of to change systems, attitudes, and policies to support the success of all families and caregivers – so we can ensure everyone has the opportunity to define their own success and ‘have it all’.