Photo: David Dorantes / MundoHispánico.
Reform of the law: The bill # YoSoyVanessaGuillén will allow members of the Armed Forces to report cases of sexual harassment and abuse to civil authorities without fear of retaliation. The reform of the law is not yet official but the United States Congress will pass Today the proposal at the request of the family of the soldier killed at the base of Fort Hood, Texas. Unusually, congressmen from both parties will unite to make the historic law official.
The United States Congress will make official today the proposal for a reform of the law in honor of the soldier Vanessa Guillén assassinated in Texas.
According to Natalie Khawam, a lawyer representing the soldier’s family, the bill # IAmVanessaGuillén (# YoSoyVanessaGuillén) will allow any member of the Armed Forces to file a complaint of harassment with civil authorities.
Attorney Khawam explained that the official ceremony will be at 12:00 noon, Washington D.C. time, on the esplanade outside the United States Capitol.
Unusually at election time, the event will be attended by congressmen from both the Democratic and Republican Parties and the keynote speaker will be Congresswoman Jackie Speier from the 14th District of California.
The reform will not have immediate validity since it has to pass a round of voting by the 435 voting members of the House of Representatives and the Senators of the 50 states of the country.
When a member of the Armed Forces suffers a case of abuse, according to Khawam, the protocol in the chain of command requires the military to report it to their superior unit or regiment officer.
The bill is the initiative of Vanessa Guillén’s own family and responds to a « call for change to revolutionize the military response to missing service members and reports of sexual assault, » according to Khawam.
The lawyer explained that they want to make sexual harassment a crime within the military code and also move the decision of the accusation of sexual assault and cases of sexual harassment outside the chain of command.
According to the Guillén family, the girl repeatedly informed them that she was being harassed inside the Fort Hood, Texas base, but that she was afraid to report her to her superiors so as not to face reprisals.