It was the tragic story of Specialist Vanessa Gillen that inspired Staff Sgt. To Casey Sochanek Go public Along with allegations of sexual assault by another member of the Air National Guard.
“When it happened to me, that was the first thing that popped into my head,” Suchanek told CBS News. “I understand his pain on a deep level.”
Started a movement in which thousands of service members who experienced sexual trauma in the military shared their experiences on social media the hashtag.
This is also the title of a new one. Netflix Documentary That goes deeper into the Gallen family’s quest for justice and an effort to improve the way the military handles sexual assault cases. As of Friday morning, “I Am Vanessa Guillén” was among the top titles in the US.
Galen’s family learned something was wrong on April 22, 2020, when they were unable to contact Vanessa, who was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas. Finally, two months later, his. Authorities said he was killed by fellow specialist Aaron Robinson, who fled the base and later died by suicide. A second suspect, the estranged wife of a Fort Hood veteran, was also arrested.
In the documentary, Guilléns and some close friends talk about how Vanessa told them she was sexually harassed by her superior at Fort Hood.
Vanessa’s oldest sister, Myra Gillen, told CBS News that before her sister joined the military, she had no idea the military hadWith sexual abuse and harassment. But after her sister’s disappearance and murder, she began reading stories of women using the hashtag #IAmVanessaGuillen and realized the gravity of the problem.
“Once we found out what was going on with Vanessa, it all started to slowly unravel. We read more and more, some of the stories were already sad, the way the victims were treated. Done, he’s right, you’re supposed to be in the military, they’re supposed to be decent, honorable people, let alone in the ranks, there are monsters out there,” Myra Gillen told CBS News. Myra Galen told CBS News.
In April 2021, the US ArmyStating that officers at Fort Hood in Texas ignored complaints of sexual harassment by Galen. Twenty-one soldiers were relieved of duty or reprimanded as a result of the investigation.
The Galen familyIn August, the US government sought $35 million in damages based on sexual harassment, abuse, assault, rape, sexual assault and wrongful death.
The Netflix documentary was released on Thursday and is being broadcast in more than 100 countries. Natalie Khawam, An attorney representing the family pro bono said filming took place over two years and included the family’s daily life after Vanessa’s death and their frequent Capitol Hill appearances to push the I’m Vanessa Gillan Act into law. The visits were documented.
“In the last three years, three immigrant women have really done this in their own way in their own lives. Without the resources that people usually have, without their experiences. We have such There were no organizations to fund us,” Khawam said. CBS News. “We weren’t just a team; we were a family trying to make it happen.”
Mayra Guillén serves as president and founder. I am the Vanessa Galen Foundation.. Throughout the documentary, she is seen meeting various political leaders as she grapples with the grief of losing her sister.
“That will be the hard part when your emotions come into play,” he told CBS News. “Grief has strange ways of working but knowing that you still have to accomplish, I knew in my heart that I had to accomplish what we came for and I couldn’t let my emotions take over. “
With the support ofAnd with other lawmakers, parts of the IM Vanessa Gillan Act became law in December 2021 with the signing of the National Defense Authorization Act.
“There were a lot of ups and downs, a lot of adversity that we faced… just looking back and I’m so glad we didn’t give up, I’m so glad we stuck to our guns and focused. mission,” Khawam said.
But the mission continues for both the Galen family and Khawam as they work to pass. Sexual Harassment Independent Investigation and Prosecution (SHIIP) Act Join the law and continue to support victims of military sexual trauma and harassment.
With her experience and newfound knowledge in policymaking, Myra Galen is exploring the idea of running for Congress in the future.
“I am satisfied with the fact that people will no longer be silent,” he said. “They’re ready to speak out, they’re ready to fight, they’re ready to advocate, they’re ready to come forward and say ‘enough is enough.’ This is a better outcome than retaliating against.”