Specialist Vanessa Guillen was a young, 20-year-old Mexican-American U.S Army Soldier who was murdered inside her Fort Hood Army post. She was reported missing on April 22nd, 2020; and was found brutally murdered after just a little over two months of no updates from her home base.
Following her disappearance, her family started a GoFundMe page to raise money for private investigators and attorneys, as the army base was not doing anything to find Guillen.* Soon after, multiple hashtags began trending throughout social media platforms and celebrities began raising awareness for her.
Ever since she was a little girl, Guillen aspired to join the army; and upon graduating from high school, she enlisted. Soon thereafter, she began reporting to her family members that she was being sexually harassed by a superior in the base. Guillen was hesitant to report these encounters as she feared that there would be retaliation against her, especially since other women had come forward and nothing was done for them. After her disappearance, Fort Hood arranged a team to investigate the accusations after Guillen’s family members spoke of the issue.*
The day Guillen was reported missing, she had received a text message from Specialist Aaron David Robinson to deliver paperwork. Her belongings were found in the workshop where she was working; however, there were no signs of her. Robinson committed suicide before federal marshals were able to approach him. Robinson’s girlfriend, Cecily Aguilar, told officials that she and Robinson had dismembered Guillen’s body and buried her remains. On June 30th, 2020; a few days before Robinson’s suicide, human remains were found 20 miles from Fort Hood near Leon River, Texas. These remains were later identified to be of Vanessa Guillen, who had been beaten to death with a hammer and was then dismembered, leaving her body unrecognizable.***
PC: Google Images, 2020.
Fort Hood has been involved in numerous sexual harassment, murder, and missing persons cases yet there have not been any serious consequences to this Army post.** Guillen’s family demands a Congressional investigation be done, as well as the closing of Fort Hood. With more awareness of Vanessa Guillen’s case, there is hope that justice will be served and those involved will be reprimanded. Guillen’s family will not stop until they receive justice and they have continued to organize multiple marches and peaceful protests across the country.** They are calling for a new bill known as the I Am Vanessa Guillen Bill which would allow “service members to file sexual harassment and assault claims to a third part agency instead of their line of command”.****
As her sister, Lupe Guillen, cried out during a news conference: Vanessa Guillen did not deserve to be brutally murdered and sexually harassed.** There needs to be justice for her, as well as for all individuals who fall victim to any sort of sexual assault or abuse, especially from a superior. No one should have to have any fear of retaliation for reporting sexual assaults and/or abuse of power. When people report that they are being sexually harassed, actions need to be taken to ensure that justice is being served and that perpetrators suffer the consequences of their wrongful doings.
PC: @findvanessaguillen. 2020.
*Carrega, Christina, and Luis Martinez. “Timeline: What to know about missing Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen.” ABC News, 5 Jul. 2020, https://abcnews.go.com/US/timeline-missing-fort-hood-soldier-vanessa-guillen/story?id=71597714.
**Jones, Kay, and Ray Sanchez. “Pfc. Vanessa Guillen bludgeoned to death on Army base, family attorney says.” CNN, 3 Jul. 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/02/us/vanessa-guillen-fort-hood-disappearance/index.html.
***Vera, Amir, and Lori Daniel. “Human remains identified as missing Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen, family attorney says.” CNN, 5 Jul. 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/05/us/vanessa-guillen-remains-identified/index.htmla.
****@findvanessaguillen. Instagram, 19 Jul. 2020, https://www.instagram.com/p/CC2V6bbgBbM/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link.