Vanessa Guillen's family and supporters push for protections against sexual misconduct in military

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BySteve Campion KTRK logo
Thursday, November 18, 2021
Vanessa Guillen's supporters march in DC for law change
The murdered Houston service member's family has been fighting for over a year to reshape how sexual violence is investigated in the Army.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (KTRK) -- Vanessa Guillen's family and supporters are again taking their fight to prevent sexual misconduct in the military to the nation's capital.

The Guillen family is in Washington, D.C. for a rally and march for justice Thursday, hoping to push Congress in protecting soldiers.

Supporters have been pushing to change federal law for more than a year as Vanessa had confided in her family before she went missing and was murdered that she had been sexually harassed on two separate incidents.

Earlier this year, an Army investigation found that the Houston native was sexually harassed by a supervisor.

Every year, Congress passes the NDAA, or National Defense Authorization Act. This time, there are provisions that reshape how sexual violence is investigated in the Army. In that, advocates want Amendment 3870 passed, which would allow service members to make claims against the government if they're victims of sexual misconduct in the military.

WATCH: Mayra Guillen spoke at the march, pushing lawmakers to vote in favor of the I Am Vanessa Guillen Act.

Advocacy groups have pursued this for decades, but it was Vanessa's story that propelled the mission forward, capturing the attention of lawmakers, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Congresswoman Jackie Speier.

"In a couple of days or even hours, I will know if justice was made in your honor, sister... I promised you I'd try until the very end. I hope we get the outcome we expect, otherwise there's no telling how disappointed I will be. I miss you and love you," said one of Vanessa's sisters, Mayra, who has been at the forefront of getting Congress to act.

D.C. RALLY: Watch as lawmakers spoke in support of the I Am Vanessa Guillen Bill at the U.S. Capitol Thursday ahead of the big vote.

Celebrities have also shown their support for the Guillens since Vanessa's disappearance.

Early on, actress Salma Hayek posted about Vanessa to her millions of followers on social media. She posted again Wednesday night, sharing a graphic about Amendment 3870 and details about Thursday's march in Washington.

Hayek and Eva Longoria were among celebrities who offered their support Thursday, sending in video speeches that were played at the march.

Steve Campion has been following Vanessa Guillen's story every step of the way. Her life growing up in Houston, her time in the military, the circumstances of her disappearance and death, and her family's push for change are all documented in the ABC13 special "Vanessa Guillen: Remember Her Name," streaming now on ABC13's apps and Hulu.


For updates on Vanessa Guillen's story and the movement for justice for sexual misconduct victims in the military, follow Steve Campion on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.