x
Breaking News
More () »

Survivors of military sexual trauma come together on what would've been Vanessa Guillen's 21st birthday

The Pink Berets say there is still much that needs to be done for women in the military.

SAN ANTONIO — Women tired of mistreatment spoke out against military sexual assault at Hemisfair Park Wednesday evening.

The Vanessa Guillen Legacy March and Vigil was organized by the Pink Berets. Their spokesperson, Amber Davila, said they wanted to honor Guillen on what would've been her 21st birthday.

Davila says she's a fellow veteran and survivor of military sexual trauma.

"Vanessa Guillen brought it to light, but we've been battling this for decades," Davila said. "Women like myself got to come forward and say, 'I am Vanessa Guillen.'"

Guillen's remains were found about two months after she disappeared from Fort Hood in April. She was allegedly killed by a fellow soldier who later died by suicide.

Guillen's family claims she told them she was being sexually harassed by her superiors. U.S. Army officials denied any link between the allegations and her disappearance.

"This is a big problem and it needs to change," Davila said.

The soldier's death started a movement that's gaining momentum with help from the Pink Berets.

"We delivered a letter of our demands to Congress in July," Davila said. "Those demands turned into the Vanessa Guillen Act."

The Vanessa Guillen Act aims to allow service members to report sexual harassment and assault to a third party. It would also make sexual harassment a crime within the Uniform Code of Military Justice. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the House would vote on the legislation.

Davila said Guillen should be the last victim. On her birthday, they celebrated her legacy with candles lifted to the sky.

"We're raising a light to her," Davila said, "since she put a spotlight on us."