Vanessa's Family Proposes Bill To Protect Soldiers Reporting Sexual Harassment
The legislation is called the #IAmVanessaGuillen bill, after the hashtag used by thousands of soldiers who came forward to tell their own stories.
According to a post on Vanessa's official Instagram, the bill would allow active-duty service members to file sexual abuse claims to a "third-party," an independent agency, instead of their line of command.
The post explains that in the majority of reported cases, the harassment and assault is being perpetrated by the soldier's superiors themselves. How can the people committing the crimes by tasked with resolving them and meting out justice?
View this post on Instagram
The I Am Vanessa Guillen Bill... What is it? Swipe & share to get informed ! The legislation I am Vanessa Guillen is for our service members, men and women to report the sexual harassment and assault to a third party, which means an outside agency. Why an outside investigation to take the sexual allegations on base ? Well the sexual harassment has increase over 20% monthly, when a soldier is suffering from sexual harassment or assault, 80% of the time the allegations come from superiors. Yet, 1/3 soldiers will fill out a report about the sexual harassment yet the case is closed and it is not taken seriously, the other 2/3 will not report it due to being afraid of retaliation, afraid to speak up, and be silenced! Our armed forces community need to feel safe while being on base, need protection, need to respected, and need to heard ! Our men and women should not be afraid to report or talk about with others ! Those same men and women put their life at risk for the nation and us ! We have a voice, so let’s use it for a positive cause ! Do not be silent ! Vanessa Guillen, U.S Army Soldier, suffered of sexual harassment various times, and now she was taken away from her loved one due of the sexual allegations taken as joke, a humans life is no joke ! It is a disgrace for the military tolerating sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual abuse, and even rape ! What happen to Vanessa Guillen should have never happen and should never happen again ! Please keep sharing and demanding the congressional investigation and for the bill to be passed ! We want to honor and remember Specialist Vanessa Guillen ! You will be remembered! #vanessaguillen #JusticeForVanessaGuillen #IAmVanessaGuillen #wearevanessaguillen #justiceforvanessa @realdonaldtrump @metoomvmt @attorneynataliekhawam
According to the post, two-thirds of soldiers who experience sexual abuse will never report it, discouraged from doing so by their superiors, or out of a very real fear of retaliation. "Afraid to speak up, and be silenced.
Of the 1/3 who do report, few if any will see their abuser convicted. Instead, "the case is closed and it is not taken seriously," and the soldier who reported faces harassment and punishment from fellow service members and superiors, and may even have to go back to work with their rapist.
I was very hesitant to speak on this, still don’t feel strong enough to tell my entire story publicly, but I do hope...Posted by Crystal De Los Rios on Monday, June 22, 2020
"Our armed forces community need to feel safe while being on base," reads the post.
"Our men and women should not be afraid to report or to talk about [their harassment] with others! Those same men and women put their life at risk for the nation and us!"
"It is a disgrace for the military tolerating sexual harassment, sexual assault...and even rape! What happened to Vanessa Guillen should have never happened and should never happen again!"
"Please keep sharing and demanding the congressional investigation and for the bill to be passed! We want to honor and remember Specialist Vanessa Guillen!"
To demand a congressional investigation, contact the following:
U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee
U.S. House Armed Services Committee
Contact your local representative to let them know you support the #IAmVanessaGuillen bill.