In Texas, all attention is focused on reports about the disappearance and murder of airman Vanessa Guillen (Vanessa Guillén), which again provoked a wave of outrage over sexual violence in the armed forces of the United States and the ineffectiveness of recent reforms to combat it.
20-year-old Guillen, who served at the military base of Fort hood in Killeen, disappeared on April 22. For two months hundreds of people searched for her throughout Central Texas, and then at the end of June were found the remains, which later confirmed examination belonged to Vanessa Guillen.
Since her family publicly demanded to give an immediate response, representatives of command have declared that the suspect, a military expert Aaron David Robinson (David Robinson Aaron), died the first of July as a result of suicide at the time of his detention by law enforcement officials. He was arrested a friend of Robinson Cecilia Aguilar (Aguilar Cecily), which was later accused of the crime of conspiracy to hide the evidence.
The Ministry of justice issued an indictment alleging that Robinson killed Guillen on the base, and then dismembered the body with the help of Aguilar buried the remains near the river Leon. Relatives Guillen say they and the public learned about what allegedly happened with Vanessa.
Vanessa Guillen and her family were failed.
I thank all my colleagues in Congress who have reached out about this case and who are ready to help.
Together, we must ensure the Guillen family gets #JusticeForVanessa and that this never happens again.#IAmVanessaGuillen pic.twitter.com/7tPsFCKtdR
— Rep. Sylvia Garcia (@RepSylviaGarcia) July 2, 2020
Earlier this month, Aguilar appeared before the court but not made any statements other than the recognition of the charges against her accusations. Statements about his innocence, she not filed.
Many of the issues associated with the events that led to the death of Vanessa Guillen, remain unanswered. She said family and friends that had been sexually harassed by two superiors of soldiers, one of whom was Robinson, but the official statements about the harassment she filed because she was afraid of revenge.
Family lawyer Vanessa Guillen in an interview with “Houston chronicle” (Houston Chronicle) said that the name of Robinson, the authorities informed they are. “We believe that Vanessa told him that he served a complaint against him, and that’s why he hit her with a hammer,” said the family’s lawyer Guillen Wingers Natalie (Natalie Khawam). According to her, if he thought it possible to file a complaint before today she probably would be alive.
According to the office of the Ministry of defence to prevent and combat sexual violence, which was established in 2005, complaints about sexual abuse received from about every third soldier. Last year, soldiers came 6236 reports of sexual assault. According to estimates of the management, in the period from 2016 to 2018, the number of cases of sexual assault has increased dramatically, and this growth occurred mainly due to the increase in the number of complaints from women aged 17 to 24 years, such as Vanessa Guillen.
At the weekend, which coincided with the Day of Independence, after reports of the disappearance Guillen, when there was not found her remains, the protesters marched through the streets of the major cities of Texas. Hashtag #Vanessagreen (#IAmVanessaGuillen) spread through social networks, when soldiers told their stories about their experiences of sexual violence and harassment in some sort of category #MeToo for the military. All this is happening against the background of how after the murder of George Floyd (Floyd George), the country is struggling with the problem associated with more common cases of systemic racial discrimination and injustice.
In search of Vanessa Guillen, her family tried hard to find answers to their questions. Now the family calls again to close Fort hood, and spend in Congress, the investigation into the situation at the base, and to adopt a new law that would create an independent Agency for the military, where they could report sexual harassment and sexual violence.
“They lied to us since day one,” said Mayra Guillen (Mayra Guillén), sister Vanessa, last week during a torturous press conference.
More than four million veterans and servicemen and women representatives sebenarnya gender groups — signed a petition addressed to the leadership of the Ministry of defense and the Congress in support of the requirements of the family Vanessa Guillen.
“We — Vanessa Guillen, it is our history, its place could be any of us,” says Tristeza Orders (Tristeza Ordex), a retired marine Sergeant, who along with pam Campos-Palma (Pam Campos-Palma), a former intelligence analyst and an activist-a social worker, initiated the preparation of the letter.
“Her story, what happened to her, finds a great response in my soul, because she is American of Mexican origin who lost his life. And it could be me. With everything I’ve been through — sexual harassment, attempted rape and the need to go through all of the official authorities, trying to report about all of this and make a complaint”.
The letter also contained the demand to immediately release from duty and substitute for all who obey Vanessa Guillen, until the commander of Fort Hood, and to boycott the military service as long as there is no problem of systematic rape.
Last week, the Secretary of the army USA Ryan McCarthy (Ryan McCarthy) has announced that it is currently in the army created civilian group of experts and consultants that will be engaged in the analysis and assessment “of the situation, conditions and culture of personnel” in Fort hood.
“The purpose of this independent review is to determine whether the environment, conditions and culture of the personnel at Fort hood and the surrounding military community army values, including respect, tolerance taking into account the individual characteristics and the lack of sexual harassment in the service, and a commitment to cultural diversity” — said in a statement. Currently also carried out several other investigations into the conduct of military personnel on the basis of Fort hood, including the investigation of allegations that Vanessa Guillen had experienced sexual harassment, and investigation to support those who report sexual harassment and sexual violence.
Fort hood, one of the largest military bases in the world, became the object of criticism for what in the past has failed to ensure the protection of personnel. In 2015, the Sergeant from acting on the basis of units to combat sexual assault, which Vanessa Guillen would have reported harassment if they filed a complaint, pleaded guilty to bringing a defenceless young soldiers into prostitution.
“Like the Fox in the hen house — Wingers said in an interview with “the guardian” (The Guardian). Is an epidemic in our military system, in our culture. In this place it is cultivated”.
During the search, Vanessa Guillen, the investigators found the remains of another soldier missing from Fort hood, member Gregory Morales (Gregory Morales), who disappeared in August last year, the victim of one of several unsolved deaths and disappearances of soldiers of the base.
Nearly 90 legislators have signed a letter, prepared at the initiative of the representative from Texas Sylvia Garcia (Sylvia Garcia), which contains an appeal to the General inspector of the Ministry of defence with the requirement to investigate the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of Vanessa Guillen from the base Fort hood.
But those who managed to survive, and lawyers already know that the possibilities of the Congress in the protection is limited. After the release in 2012 of the documentary “the Invisible war” (Invisible War) increased awareness and understanding of the problem of sexual violence in the army, and she is more than a public outcry. However, attempts to pass legislation that would reform the military justice system have stalled because of debate about the role of commanders in prosecuting sexual assault.
In 2013, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (Kirsten Gillibrand) introduced a bill to reform military justice, which would allow independent military prosecutors, not obeying anyone’s orders, to take control of the investigation of cases of sexual assault. Soldiers can’t sue the army for damages, and for this, they have little choice but to report this insubordination.
Although the bill received bipartisan support, Gillibrand faced resistance within his own party. Then-Senator Claire McCaskill (Claire McCaskill) proposed its own bill, providing for many of the same reforms, but, obeying the traditions, maintained the authority within the chain of command. Maccaskill, which previously was a Prosecutor on cases involving sexual crimes, called an “obstacle” on the way to Congress passing a very important law directed against the practice of rape in the army.
Although Congress in addition to a number of reforms introduced criminal responsibility for the use of punitive measures to the applicants, in a fraternal military world they are still a serious obstacle for those who would like to report such cases of violence. Soldiers who report sexual harassment or sexual violence, may be ostracized and run the risk of his career. The office of the Ministry of defence to prevent and combat sexual violence was able to confirm evidence of only one of the 129 cases of the application of retaliatory measures, which it investigated in 2018, and 64% of the surveyed soldiers stated that for reporting harassment or sexual assault they have been subjected to harassment and punishment. In 66% of cases, soldiers who reported to the management on the use of retaliatory punitive measures, saying that they were persecuted by people in subjection, which they were. “When proceedings are those who are themselves involved in this, it’s like a police force that controls itself,” says Orders.
“If there is no real responsibility for these actions, the fact that something has changed little debate, doesn’t change the culture, says lawyer Sarah Darehshori (Sara Darehshori), program Director Vestry Laight, who, as senior legal adviser human rights organization “human rights watch” (Human Rights Watch), wrote two reports on the persecution for reporting sexual crimes in the army. — As a symbolic gesture, it made sense. But the problem is that the prosecution could always be punished”.
Relatives of Vanessa Guillen plan July 30 to lead a peaceful protest in Washington, during which they will present to lawmakers his bill. “This family needs,” says Orders.
“She wanted to be a part of something bigger than herself. And it ended with this amazing and beautiful family gave this beautiful girl this country, and they chewed and spat out like some crap.”