On the day in which U.S. Army Spc. Vanessa Guillen would have turned 22, her family continues to promote reform in the military in regards to sexual assault and harassment.
Guillen's sister, Mayra Guillen, tweeted out a birthday message for her sister, along with "#IamVanessaGuillen," a hashtag that has become the rallying cry for those who support changes to the policies about sexual assault and harassment in the military.
Happy birthday to my angel. Everything is so out of place since they took you from us. I promise not to fall or give up. I love you & miss you very much little sister. Happy birthday Vanessa ❤️ LLV 🕊 #22 #IamVanessaGuillen pic.twitter.com/c5VhT4PNXI
— Mayra Guillen (@mguilen_) September 30, 2021
Earlier this week, an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act was filed by U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. Natalie Khawam, the Guillen family attorney, said the amendment would allow military victims of sexual assault or harassment more options.
We had a great meeting with Senator Lújan today. Thank you for supporting Gillibrand’s Amendment 3829 to the Senate NDAA, which allows our soldiers, like Vanessa, to have recourse if they are victims of sexual misconduct. @SenatorLujan @mguilen_ pic.twitter.com/J0LondYin1
— Attorney Natalie Khawam (@WhistleblowerLF) September 29, 2021
Gillibrand, chair of the Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee, expressed gratitude when her provisions were added to the amendment in July.
“Congress has a responsibility to make sure we provide our service members with greater flexibility, stability, and support - and today, we delivered,” Gillibrand said. “After nearly a decade of advocacy, I am grateful that this year’s National Defense Authorization Act contains the Military Justice Improvement and Increasing Prevention Act, which I introduced earlier this year, and which will move the prosecution of sexual assault and serious crimes from the chain of command to independent, trained, professional military prosecutors.
Guillen, an Army specialist, went missing from Fort Hood in Texas in April 2020. About two months later her remains were found along the Leon River.