FORT HOOD, Texas — The fight to get justice for murdered Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen has led to massive changes to how the military handles sexual assault and harassment cases with the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act.
Indeed, mountains have been moved in the fight against sexual harassment and assault in the military following the murder of Vanessa Guillen that spark a national outcry for change.
The fight led the family of Vanessa Guillen straight to the halls of Congress to fight for justice and change in 2020 with little success.
"Well, nothing actually made it in. Not the stand-alone and not the NDAA. It was very disappointing to see that and that’s when the momentum was the greatest,” said Mayra Guillen, sister of Vanessa Guillen.
This time around the NDAA came with answered prayers by including historic changes to how the military handles sexual assault and harassment.
"We tried again this year and thank god we were able to get it through and see it happen with our own eyes,” said Mayra Guillen.
Reported cases will now be taken out of the direct chain of command and given to a third party and not just for sexual assault and harassment.
"It provides trained individuals to review reports of sexual harassment and sexual assault. It also dives into domestic violence, murder, and kidnapping. In addition to sexual harassment and sexual assault,” said Natalie Khawam, Attorney for the Guillen Family.
Something the attorney for the Guillen family said is essential for more than just investigations.
"The system, the trust, the moral is gone. This provides new moral for all these victims and protections, outlets, and safeguards that they needed this whole entire time, that they now will have,” said Khawam.
The family of Vanessa Guillen has been fighting tirelessly for justice and change knowing Vanessa is somewhere seeing change she helped start.
"I hope that Vanessa is proud to see what we’ve been able to accomplish and that because of her, so many lives will be saved and so many voices have been heard,” said Mayra Guillen.
History has been made and a victory won but the Guillen family and countless others plan to continue fighting for change.