Vanessa Guillen’s Family To Meet With Trump And Introduce Bill To Protect Military Personnel Reporting Sexual Harassment
Vanessa Guillen’s family participated in a live video with mitú. You can check it out below.
Update July 14, 2020: Pfc Vanessa Guillen’s disappearance and death have shocked the American people. The young woman was a soldier at Fort Hood when she tried to report sexual harassment attacks against her. The Guillen family attorney Natalie Khawam is now pushing for a new bill to be passed to help other women in the military.
Vanessa Guillen’s family are preparing to meet with President Donald Trump, file the #IAMVANESSAGUILLEN bill, and protest at the same time.
After Guillen’s remains were found following a search for the missing woman, the family got to work fighting to protect her legacy. Part of that is with the #IAMVANESSAGUILLEN bill.
The bill, which the Guillen family attorney is hopeful about, will empower people in the military to seek justice for sexual harassment and assault. As it stands now, the way people report sexual harassment and assault starts with reporting it to the command chain. Advocates against sexual assault criticize this policy because it allows for the military to hide the allegations.
The #IAMVANESSAGUILLEN bill would allow military personnel to report these attacks to third parties. People, like Guillen, would no longer need to fear speaking up and facing retaliation. Instead, they would be free to contact law enforcement and have an investigation led by non-military personnel.
The family will be meeting President Trump, introducing the bill, and protesting in honor of Guillen from July 29-30.
Update: Human remains were found near Fort Hood Tuesday, according to several reports. The remains were found near Leon River in Bell County, Texas, and are likely Vanessa Guillen, according to family. Guillen was last seen on April 22 on the base and people have been searching for the missing soldier since.
Human remains have been found near Leon River during the search for Vanessa Guillen.
Human remains have been discovered in a shallow grave near Fort Hood, where Guillen was last seen. In response, Tim Miller, the founder and director of Texas EquuSearch, called off the search. The remains haven’t been positively identified as Vaness Guillen.
“If this can happen to my sister, it can happen to anyone else,” Vanessa’s sister Lupe said at a press conference. “My sister’s no joke. My sister’s a human being. I want justice and I want answers because my sister did not do this to herself.”
The remains were found 26 miles away from the location where the body of Gregory Wedel-Morales’s body was found. Morales went missing in August 2019 and the Army deemed him a deserter. However, the family is fighting for Morales to have a full military burial because he was not a deserter.
Update: Vanessa Guillen’s disappeared in April and there are still no answers. Investigations into her disappearance have not turned up anything but foul-play is suspected. Here is what we know so far about the case.
Vanessa Guillen has been missing since April 22.
The soldier was last seen on April 22 in a parking lot of her Regimental Engineer Squadron Headquarters, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, at the Fort Hood military base. Guillen was wearing a black shirt, light purple leggings, and black Nike shoes. The personnel of Fort Hood have conducted several detailed searches on the base but have not found Guillen. It has been two months and there is still no answer.
Before going missing, Guillen did confide in her family about the sexual harassment she was experiencing.
Natalie Khawam, the Guillen family’s attorney, said that Guillen was afraid to report the sexual harassment she was dealing with on the base. According to Khawam, Guillen experienced two moments of sexual harassment from a superior. Once when she was showering and he walked in and the other time was a verbal attack with inappropriate language. These allegations are being investigated now.
Guillen’s case is gaining more publicity and the public demands justice for the young woman.
CBS News has reported that Guillen’s mother has demanded an investigation from the beginning but nothing happened. According to the mother, she asked Fort Hood officials to begin an intense search for her daughter when she went missing.
“They took too long to look for my daughter because I begged from the start for them to close the base and put their over 30,000 soldiers to look for my daughter and they didn’t do it,” she said in Spanish, according to CBS News. “Why put on a show now to say you’ve looked for a my daughter? Why now? I demand justice and I demand their respect and for my daughter as a a soldier.”
Public pressure keeps growing with calls for justice for Vanessa Guillen.
The allegations of sexual harassment in the military are bringing up a past sentiment. The military first faced scrutiny for rampant sexual assault and harassment that came to light in the early 2010s. Women came forward sharing their stories and the nation paid attention.
Guillen’s case is putting the spotlight back on the military and sexual misconduct on bases. The lack of information after two months of pleas from the family to investigate hasn’t turned up any leads. People are demanding answers and justice.
Fort Hood officials are asking for anyone with information about Guillen to call (254) 495-7767. A $50,000 reward is being offered for information as well.
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