There are some significant updates in Vanessa Guillén case. Guillén is the 20 year old soldier who disappeared from Ft. Hood on April 22, 2020. There is a preliminary report on the independent review of Fort Hood’s command climate in the handling of her death. This report will be made public on Tuesday, Dec. 8. There is also progress on the #IAmVanessaGuillen bill – it is being deliberated in Congress.
First Guillén had been sexually harassed on base, her family alleges by two people, and in April, she was brutally murdered. Her disappearance and her families persistence kicked off a Military #MeToo movement as thousands of other soldiers chimed in with their own assault and harassment stories. More on her story at The Military Failed #VanessaGuillen and Others, Must Do Better.
1. The Secretary Of Army Discusses Preliminary Report
Ryan D. McCarthy, Secretary of the Army, talked about preliminary report and road ahead for Ft. Hood on video on Nov 18, 2020.
Find the interview and update on the report at “‘We must do better’: Army secretary shares Ft. Hood review after Guillén death,” 12/6/20, ABC-12. McCarthy pledges to hold leaders accountable.
The investigation was prompted by Guillén’s family and also the massive interest in her disappearance and murder, and the outpouring of soldier’s stories under hashtags including #IAmVanessaGuillen.
McCarthy shares that the preliminary report is being made public on Dec 8. Other cases of abuse were found at Ft. Hood. He made it clear the army the Army’s sexual harassment program (SHARP) is not achieving its mandate to eliminate sexual assaults on the base. The army is releasing the findings with an action plan to address recommendations.
McCarthy states, “Leaders, regardless of rank, are accountable for what happens in their units. and must have the courage to speak up, and intervene, when they recognize actions that bring harm to our soldiers and to the integrity of our institution.”
It is a big deal that the Army must formally recognize this and work to fix it. That is how much impact the Military #MeToo movement is having.
2. On December 8, the Army is releasing the findings of the report with an action plan to address the recommendations. McCarthy admits the Army has significant work to do to regain “our soldier’s trust.”
3. Meanwhile, the #IAmVanessaGuillen bill, named in honor of Guillén is being deliberated in Washington, D.C.
This bill would allow active duty members to file sexual harassment and assault claims to a third party. Now, claims go up through a soldier’s leadership, who get to decide if the claim goes ahead.
4. The former commander at Ft. Hood was moved and the new commander is trying to rebuild trust after the murders of Vanessa Guillén and others at Ft. Hood.
NC NOW captured the legislation when it was introduced on 7/30/20 and three other murders found around the time of Guillén’s in Big Developments in Vanessa Guillén Case, Including Legislation Introduced on 7/30/20.
The protests for #JusticeForVanessa reached cities around North Carolina. In fact there were at least 3 protests in one day in July! See Three Protests in Raleigh for Justice for Vanessa Guillen on 7/25/20.