Statement Regarding the Murder of Vanessa Guillen and Gender-Based Violence

UWM Women’s and Gender Studies Statement Regarding the Murder of Vanessa Guillen & Gender-Based Violence

The events of the last week have prompted us, faculty, staff, and students of Women’s and Gender Studies (WGS) at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM), to unequivocally and clearly state our support of our students, especially victims and survivors of gender-based violence. On our campus, the circulation of comments made by Dr. Betsy Schoeller, regardless of intent, and subsequent media coverage have had an injurious impact on our student body. The tragic murder of Specialist Vanessa Guillen compels us to recommit our support for survivors and victims of gender-based violence and ensure their access to education at UWM.

Institutional cultures and practices, including those in the military and in universities, which fail to respond swiftly and adequately to claims of harm, undermine their expressed commitments to safety and inclusivity. As we find ourselves navigating an uncontrolled pandemic and an associated increase in domestic violence, UWM and its administration need to support and validate the experiences of victims and survivors of gender-based violence in a shifting educational landscape. Our students deserve a renewed commitment to combatting gender-based violence, in all the myriad forms it takes.

The tragic murder of Vanessa Guillen is heartbreaking and reflective of broader patterns of violence against women, one iteration of gender-based violence. We stand in solidarity with those who mourn her death and call for justice. We further condemn broader misogyny and sexual violence that are pervasive in our society and institutions. We recognize that oppression is intersecting and that BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) victims and survivors too often face violence at the intersections of sexism and racism. We call for action to end institutionalized gender, racial, and sexual discrimination and violence on our campus and throughout our society.

Victims and survivors of gender-based violence deserve and need to be believed and their access to education needs to not be impeded. We support all victims and survivors of sexual harassment, abuse, and assault. We see you, we believe you, and we will keep fighting for you.

As UWM commits to values of mutual respect and safety and providing a secure and inclusive campus, we need to demonstrate how we as a campus community can effectively support victims and survivors of sexual harassment and violence.

For those affected by gender-based violence the following campus and community resources are available:

UWM Campus Based Resources

Greater Milwaukee Area Resources

  • UMOS Latina Resource Center
    • 414-389-6510 (24-hour hotline providing immediate help)
  • Milwaukee VA Medical Center, Military Sexual Trauma Coordinator
    • Military Sexual Trauma Coordinator, 414-384-2000, ext. 45840 or ext. 45760
    • Mental Health Urgent Care, 414-384-2000, ext. 45760
  • The Healing Center
    • 414-219-5555 (24 hour crisis hotline)
  • Sojourner Family Peace Center
    • 414-276-1911
    • 414-933-2722 (24 hour crisis hotline)
  • Hmong Family Strengthening Helpline
  • Milwaukee LGBT Community Center
    • 414-271-2656
  • Diverse and Resilient
  • Aurora Healing and Advocacy Services
    • 414-219-5555 (24-hour hotline)
    • 414-219-1551 (24-hour text line)
  • The Asha Service Project
    • 414-252-0075
  • Community Advocates/Milwaukee Women’s Resource Center
  • The Women’s Center (Waukesha County)
    • 262-542-3828 (24 hour crisis hotline)
  • FRIENDS, Inc. (Washington County)
    • 262-334-7298 (24 hour crisis hotline)

National Resources

  • National Veterans Crisis Line
    • 800-273-8255 (press 1; 24-hour hotline)
    • 800-799-4889 (24-hour hotline support for deaf and hard of hearing)
    • text to 838255 for 24-hour text line
    • (24-hour chat)
  • Between Friends
    • 800-603-4357 (24-hour domestic violence hotline offering immediate help, counseling, and legal services)
  • Chicago Rape Crisis Hotline
    • 888-293-2080 (24-hour hotline for rape and sexual assault survivors; offers immediate support, crisis intervention, and referrals)
  • RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network)
    • 800-656-HOPE (800-656-4673) (24-hour crisis hotline)
    • (24-hour chat line)
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline
    • 800-799-7233 (24-hour hotline providing immediate help)
    • 800-787-3224 (TTY 24-hour hotline)
    • (24 hour chat)
    • text LOVEIS to 866-331-9474 (24-hour text line)