FORT HOOD, Texas – Leaders on Fort Hood are honoring the life of Specialist Vanessa Guillén by building a memorial gate in her honor.
SPC. Guillén’s family met with top officials to discuss the design of Guillén’s Gate, where thousands of soldiers will pass through everyday leading to Third Cavalry Regiment, where Guillén served.
The family had a tour of where the Vanessa Guillén Gate will be built, and they say if you walk a straight line from the gate, you walk straight into Vanessa’s barracks – adding that it’s important that Fort Hood continues to “walk the straight line” and never let a murder like Vanessa’s happen again.
Guillén’s attorney tells us Fort Hood’s Command continues to show them great strides in their effort to change the climate of the post by addressing and changing policies to protect the soldiers who protect us.
Natalie Khawam, the family’s attorney says the post took “a huge first step” by taking ownership of the problem publicly all while actively working to fix it.
“They could’ve easily said we don’t want this out there. We don’t want to be known for this blood stain, but rather it’s the opposite. They didn’t try to sweep it under the rug. They put it visibly right in front of the gate of the base, so everyday they have to remember Vanessa. They have to remember what happened to her so that it never happens again,” Khawam said.
Now that the symbolic gate is going up and a bill in Vanessa’s name has been drafted, FOX44 asked the Guillén family what else justice for Vanessa will look like coming from Fort Hood.
They answered saying, “It has three parts.”
Khawam says legislation is first and foremost with the second objective is to change the culture of the post, making it safer for soldiers there while letting them know they have their own voices and their own protection.
Their final objective is to get closure by finding out what really happened to Vanessa and prosecute those who were involved with her murder.
“We plea that Speaker Pelosi puts this legislation on the floor immediately. No more waiting. No more blood. No more deaths. No sexual harassment. No more sexual assault. It’s time to stop this epidemic that exists in the military,” said Khawam.
She shared her hopes that Congress gets the #IAMVANESSAGUILLEN Bill passed – which calls for a third party organization to investigate sexual assault and harassment allegations involving soldiers.