Women in the Army are sharing their heart-rending stories of how they were sexually abused and harassed while on duty, using the hashtag #IAmVanessaGuillen. The stories are made public in support of Vanessa Guillen who vanished after she admitted that she was sexually harassed by her superior.
Vanessa Guillen, a 20-year-old, has been missing for 2 months. She was last spotted on March 22 at the Fort Hood Army Base in Killeen, Texas. She disappeared after telling her parents that she was harassed by her superior.
A group of 30 volunteers found some human belongings while searching Guillen on Monday. It’s believed that those items belong to Guillen.
After this gut-wrenching incident, women in the US Military are coming forward with their own stories of sexual harassment. They are calling out the accounts of sexual abuse in the army using the hashtag #IAmVanessaGuillen.
So many women gathered courage and shared their distressing stories.
Some of them wrote:
“My name is Tiffany & #IAmVanessaGuillen I was sexually harassed, sexually assaulted, raped, & physically threatened, while at my first base, 12 yrs ago. I didn’t report it until 2019. I am one of the many faces of military sexual trauma. #MilitarySexualTrauma #FindVanessaGuillen.”
“In 2019, I was sexually harassed by my entire deployment then sexually assaulted by the same guy. Even with multiple cases made against him, he is let go free of no charge and I’m worried for the females wherever he goes. #IAMVANESSAGUILLEN.”
“My name is Emily. I was at my first duty station 11 yrs ago. I was sleeping, Drunk Marines kicked in my barracks door and raped me. I finally locked myself in the bathroom and they yelled no one will believe you, you are a new female, we will get away with this #IAMVANESSAGUILLEN”
There are endless stories amplifying on Twitter.
A similar series of stories were posted on Facebook.
Another soldier named Jasmine Maylott who had been stationed at Fort Hood also exposed the sexual harassment she suffered at the base in June 2019 on social media.
This powerful hashtag broke a taboo of raising one’s own voice. This is similar to the #MeToo wave in 2017.
According to the fact sheet produced by Protect Our Defenders, an NPO, military sexual assaults estimated to be 20,500 in 2018, as per Task and Purpose.
Statistically, more than 75% of victims didn’t report the crime. One-third of them didn’t report fearing that their plea would be ignored. Less than half of the women said they ‘felt well supported by their chain of command’.
On Monday volunteer group Texas EquuSearch came across the remains in an undisclosed area in Coryell County.
The discovery was not too far from the site where the remains of missing soldier Gregory Wedel-Morales were found on June 19. He went missing in August 2019.