It’s been one year since 20-year-old soldier Vanessa Guillen was killed at Fort Hood Army Post. Her accused killer, another enlisted soldier Spc. Aaron David Robinson, took his life while being pursued by law enforcement. On Thursday, supporters of Guillen’s family gathered to remember her and demand change within the U.S. Armed Forces.
The circumstances surrounded Guillen’s death sparked suspicion and scrutiny of the U.S. Army and how it handles grievances and misconduct. Family members said Guillen had confided in them about sexual harassment before her disappearance and murder.
In Dallas and other parts of the country, vigils were planned in solidarity. Those in attendance said they support the “I am Vanessa Guillen Act” – aimed at helping servicemembers report sexual harassment or abuse without fear of retaliation.
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“Me having two daughters, me being a young woman myself, I would like if something like that happened to my daughters that someone spoke up for them,” said Dallas resident, Victoria Barrera.
Veteran Benny Guzman said he’s concerned about the handling of reports of sexual abuse and harassment.
“It’s really tragic because she did reach out to individuals and nothing was done. This could’ve been prevented,” he said.
The U.S. Army launched an investigation into Guillen’s disappearance and death and said it found no reports that Guillen was sexually harassed.
The proposed legislation bearing Vanessa Guillen’s name failed to pass last fall. Her family was in Washington this week calling on Congress to file the act again.