NewsJustice for Vanessa Guillen


One year later: Some women in the military share same distrust of leadership Spc. Vanessa Guillen had

Posted at 8:32 PM, Apr 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-22 21:32:26-04

The death of Spc. Vanessa Guillen shook the city of Killeen to the core, and Fort Hood was no different.

From the time she disappeared to the day her remains were found, protests and debates broke out at the gates of Fort Hood surrounding sexual assault in the military and trust in leadership at The Great Place.

Today the calls for change are just as loud as they were a year ago, and her story still resonates with many, especially with female soldiers.

“It was an incident of extreme degree, but on a smaller level, people can kind of relate with that not being able to trust your leadership," said one female soldier.

The distrust Vanessa's family says she felt in her leadership is something some active-duty soldiers feel today.

This soldier didn’t want to share her name, but as a female soldier, she shares the same distrust.

“You want to do your best wherever you are planted, but that's not always the case when you don’t have the support and trust from your leadership," she said.

Spc. Guillen's story has resonated with people who have little or no military affiliation at all.

“When something like this happens so close to home, it's easy to build up a level of distrust with people," said Dr. Roslyn Schoen, professor of sociology at A&M-Central Texas.

Knowing that that distrust still exists today means the fight in Spc. Guillen's honor is far from over.

“We are working hard to correct some of the things that are happening to us. We’re working hard to correct a culture that has wronged us so many times. We’re really just working hard to make the military a place where women are welcomed," said the soldier.

As women and men in and out of uniform advocate for change, it’s important to not lose sight of the daughter, the sister, the soldier, and the woman who was Vanessa Guillen.

“Think about her as a living, powerful person. Remember her in a positive way. That’s the way to heal,” said Dr. Schoen.