We are finally seeing some progress with legislation to address failures in handling sex crimes and murder in the military. In large part, the mishandling of Vanessa Guillen’s murder and social media explosion on the case exposed problems and made this possible.
The disappearance and murder of Vanessa Guillen at the Fort Hood Army base in Texas sparked a military #MeToo movement that is forcing military-wide change. The Secretary of the Army went public with the Ft. Hood report results and promised that the changes are reaching everywhere. This panel has experts and individuals talk about issues specifically at Ft. Bragg that need to be addressed. The first round of changes is due in March 2021.
There were at least three protests for Vanessa Guillen in Raleigh on Saturday, 7/25/20. Some of these protests are being organized by women moved to action, and organizers don’t seem to be aware of each other. NC NOW had learned about morning caravan (first one) and we were involved in the one at the state capitol (third one). We read of the second one in the News and Observer on 7/26/20. Here is information on all three.
The military must do better. Army Specialist Vanessa Guillén went suspiciously missing on April 22, 2020, leaving her car keys, barracks room key, Army identification card and wallet behind at her workspace. The investigation into her disappearance was dragging on slowly at best until her family pushed via social media. Before that, the family organized multiple searches and vigils and protests, hoping to find Guillén and bring her home. Eventually, investigators found she was murdered by a soldier on base. Before the murder, Guillén told her family she had been sexually harassed by her superiors, but was afraid to report it. Her case exposed a terrible outcome of the military mishandling sexual assault and sexual harassment. Anger and frustration with these failures have created a military #MeToo movement. These continuing major failures in the military must be addressed.
May 5 is National Day of Action for MMIWG (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls) and we have some big problems in Lumberton, NC. The murders of the 3 women in 2017 are still not classified as homicides in Lumberton. This was confirmed again in April 2020. All 3 women were found naked within a 4 block radius. Rhonda Price and Christina Bennett were found on the same day, Apr 18, 2017. The 3rd woman, Megan Oxendine, knew the first 2 women and had been interviewed about their murders in April 2017. Oxendine was murdered on Jun 3, 2017. In 2019, another shocking fact was revealed – the rape kits sat untested for over a year and a half!
Please join us for the online Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and People (MMIWGP) rally scheduled for 4/25/20, from 10am-1pm. Emcee Crystal Cavelier, Founder of MMIW NC Coalition and Co- Organizer of March has provided an agenda. NC NOW is one of the cosponsors, and NC NOW President Gailya Paliga is one of the speakers. Find link to event and the agenda in this post.
Indigenous women are raped, beaten and murdered at astounding rates. Proposed changes to the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) would help deter these crimes and punish perpetrators by increasing tribal jurisdiction to include sexual violence, sex trafficking, stalking, and child abuse. We need to push our US Senators to reauthorize a strong VAWA like the one that passed in the US House over a year ago (4/4/19).