Bill named for Vanessa Guillen would reform sexual harassment reporting in military
A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced a bill named for Army Spc. Vanessa Guillen Wednesday that supporters believe could lead to reforms that will make it easier for victims to report sexual assault and sexual harassment in the military.
The bill is named after the 20-year-old whose disappearance and alleged murder by a fellow soldier at Fort Hood triggered a significant response among victims of sexual assault and harassment in the military after the family alleged that she had experienced sexual harassment at the installation but was hesitant to step forward with the allegations.
A large number of sexual assault and sexual harassment victims stepped forward using the viral hasthag, #IAMVANESSAGUILLEN, to describe similar experiences where they did not report incidents because of the concerns they had about the military's reporting system.
Army criminal investigators were unable to prove that sexual harassment played a role in Guillen's case, but the Army continues to investigate the family's allegations.
Reps. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., and Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., are the main sponsors for the bill that would reform how the military deals with sexual harassment in the ranks.
"The status quo is unacceptable. And we're not going to tolerate it anymore," Speier said at a news conference held outside the Capitol to unveil the proposed legislation.
"While we can never bring Vanessa back, we honor her memory with this bill," she added.
Mullin said it was the right time to implement the reforms called for in the bill, but "unfortunately, it took Vanessa ...
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