NWLC Supports Senator Gillibrand’s and Representative Speier’s Call for the Department of Defense Inspector General to Investigate the Death of Army Private Vanessa Guillen

(Washington, D.C.) The Guillen family’s attorney, Natalie Khawam, confirmed that the human remains that were found on June 30, 2020 near the Fort Hood base are those of Army Private First Class Vanessa Guillen who had last been seen on April 22, 2020 in the parking lot of her barracks at Fort Hood. Shortly before her disappearance, she had told her family she was being sexually harassed by a superior, but she was afraid to make a report. 

The following is a statement from Fatima Goss Graves, President and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center:

“The news of Vanessa Guillen’s death is devastating. The National Women’s Law Center extends our heartfelt condolences to her family and friends, we are in solidarity with all of those who have said #IAmVanessaGuillen, and we are joining in the demand for answers. We support Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s and Representative Jackie Speier’s recent call for the Department of Defense Acting Inspector General to launch a thorough investigation into what happened to Vanessa, including whether her death is connected to the sexual harassment she experienced. We know all too well that sexual harassment and assault are pervasive across its armed forces and most military survivors don’t report misconduct because they fear retaliation by their commander and cohorts for speaking up, and they believe their perpetrators will be shielded from facing the consequences of their abuse. The military must confront the systemic problem of sexual harassment and violence in the ranks and create a culture of accountability that protects all of its members. One necessary step toward that accountability is providing answers about the circumstances that led to Vanessa’s death.”