Tuesday, July 14, 2020

‘We are all angry:’ Female veterans take action after Spc. Vanessa Guillen’s death to stop discrimination in military

No justice, no enlistment.
That’s the call from a group of female veterans in the wake of the slaying of Fort Hood soldier Spc. Vanessa Guillen, whose remains were found mutilated and buried at the hands of another soldier miles from the central Texas base where she served.
Guillen, 20, was killed April 22 during the workday in an arms room at the base. Her body was moved in a plastic box from the base and hidden near a river more than 20 miles away, according to federal court documents. One suspect, a fellow soldier, is dead, and another is in federal custody. Her remains were found June 30 and confirmed as hers by the Army on Monday.
“We are all angry and we all want to see change,” said Stephanie Gattas, a Navy veteran in San Antonio.
Gattas joined a group of 20 female veterans to write a letter outlining demands to improve the “systemic failures” that they claim led to a military in which victims of sexual harassment are afraid to report other service members and an Army in which a soldier can be murdered on base and it takes more than two months to solve the crime.
“It is our job as women veterans to support our sister in arms at this time. Although her death was tragic, it’s leading to change,” Gattas said. “This is in the name of all those men and women who have not been able to come forward and detail their sexual assault. This is for the women of the past who have been murdered and raped who have not been able to tell their story. For all those women and men who are still not accounted for.”
The women want an enlistment boycott until their demands are met. They are calling “for young Americans to refuse to enlist or accept a commission into any branch of the armed forces until these demands are met and the systemic problems with sexual assault and sexual harassment in military culture are effectively addressed,” according to the letter.

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