Moms Leaders: There Must Be an Independent Investigation Into Vanessa Guillen’s Murder
“The murder of Vanessa Guillen is an unspeakable tragedy, made all the more appalling by the military’s utter failure to protect this young woman and then to effectively investigate her disappearance and murder. When your child chooses to serve her country by enlisting in the military, you hope it will brighten her future and you worry about dangers associated with combat, not dangers posed by fellow soldiers. The fact that Vanessa Guillen was sexually harassed, feared retaliation if she reported it, and then was brutally murdered is a measure of how completely the military has failed to put systems in place that will protect the women who enlist.
“It is long past time that leaders in all branches of our military take meaningful action to address gender-based violence, which seems to be getting worse. It is simply unacceptable that tens of thousands of women, many of them young like Vanessa Guillen, are subjected to harassment, assault, rape or murder as they serve our country. An anonymous survey of enlisted military service members found that reports of military sexual assaults are increasing, with young enlisted women most likely to experience sexual assault. Especially troubling is that more than one in five women who said they reported a sexual assault believed that they suffered some type of retaliation. This was the fear Vanessa Guillen shared with her mom before she disappeared
“No mother should have to fear that her child will be harassed and killed by another soldier. Vanessa’s mother and family deserve the congressional investigation they are demanding into how the U.S. Army handled her disappearance and how protections failed when she was harassed. MomsRising joins The League Of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) in demanding justice for Vanessa Guillen. We urge Congress to ensure that independent, trained investigators determine what happened to her and we urge Congress to pass the Military Justice Improvement Act (S. 1789). Vanessa Guillen’s family deserves answers and all military women deserve protection.”