WASHINGTON, D.C. – Members of LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens) and Texas Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia met with high-ranking U.S. Army officials, including Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy, to discuss the mysterious death of Specialist Vanessa Guillen and potential sexual harassment on Fort Hood.
They announced Friday afternoon they had tangible results.
“The Secretary of the Army will recommend to the Department of Defense that the Inspector General do a full, independent review of the entire Vanessa Guillen case,” Garcia said. “By that, I mean both the criminal investigation and the allegations of sexual harassment.”
According to the Army, Guillen never filed a formal complaint for sexual harassment. The Guillen family says she told them and some friends.
The allegations have become a major part of Guillen’s case, and was another part of the Army’s promises.
“[The U.S. Army] will be doing this expert panel to review everything specific to Fort Hood and specific to the charges of sexual harassment,” Garcia announced.
Guillen’s claims have led to the viral hashtag #IAmVanessaGuillen, which has led to thousands of military women and veterans to admit their experiences with sexual harassment in the military and how they went unnoticed.
“The #IamVanessaGuillen hashtag, we now have thousands of women that have come forward and said, ‘I was raped.’ ‘I was abused.’ ‘I complained.’ ‘I tried bringing it up, and nothing happened.'” LULAC national president Domingo Garcia said. “That was the message we carried today to the Secretary of the Army and other officials. We believe that message has been heard.”
The expert panel will reportedly be reviewing several military bases nationwide, but they’re starting with Fort Hood.
“They’re going to look at Fort Hood and see what they can link from that about what may be happening in other bases,” Sylvia Garcia said. “This will be more Fort Hood in a big picture view – to look at the climate, the environment, the culture, the process, the procedures.”
You can find the full announcement here.