KILLEEN, TX — A new study by Rand Corp shows Texas Army posts have the highest risk of female soldiers getting sexually assaulted or harassed compared to all other bases in the military. According to that study about 1 out of 12 female soldiers at Fort Hood were sexual assaulted.
The study comes more than a year after the death of Specialist Vanessa Guillen. Her sister Mayra Guillen says it’s no surprise.
“What happen with my sister Vanessa, it’s a major example of what the severity could lead if changes and done,” said Mayra.
Guillen’s death shed a light on a number of issues at the post and sparked several investigations into sexual misconduct at Fort Hood and across the military.
“It’s unfortunate. Maybe they need to be guarding the more. Giving them more lessons, instructions on what to look for, how to spot it and how to deal with it,” said the Guillen family’s attorney Natalie Khawam.
According to the study, the risk of assault for women at Fort Hood was nearly a third higher than the average risk faced by all women in the Army.
The call for change at Fort Hood has not fallen on deaf ears. Major Gabby Thompson said switched leadership, started the people first initiative and made several changes, well before the report and investigation.
“Soldiers and sometime even some of our leaders didn’t really know how to report or understand how to report sexual assault or sexual harassment,” said III Corps Fort Hood Deputy Spokesperson Major Gabby Thompson. “That’s what people first has been getting after with our SHARP 360 program. Kind of an immersive program we’re also just go to sexual assault, sexual harassment training and it’s a very immersive process.”
The Guillen family said they seen several changes at Fort Hood and believe they made a genuine effort to change the culture, but they say more still needs to be done. That’s why they’re working to pass the Vanessa Guillen Act.
“If we had a Vanessa Guillen bill passed the areas in the country and the bases have a higher incidence rate would also be protected and the soldiers will be protected,” said Khawam
The study also says Army bases in Texas, Colorado, Kansas and Kentucky accounted for more than a third of all active-duty Army women sexually assaulted in 2018.