On April 22nd of this year a 20 year-old Soldier went missing from Fort Hood, Texas. She was last seen in the parking lot of her unit's arms room. Her phone, wallet, and other personal belongings were found inside. Private First Class Vanessa Guillen seemed to just disappear with no trace.
Specialist Guillen (she was promoted posthumously) was being sexually harassed by a sergeant but was fearful of reporting him to her command. She told her family, who urged her to report the harassment. Her harasser became her murderer. He killed her with a hammer that night, attempted to burn her body, and with the aid of his girlfriend they chopped her into pieces and buried her in three shallow graves outside Leon, Texas. He killed himself before police could arrest him, and his girlfriend has been arrested.
Women in the military, and elsewhere, are still afraid to come forward after suffering sexual harassment and assault. They fear they won't be believed. They fear they'll be called whores. They fear their careers will end. Because this fear exists, SPC Guillen is now dead. It is fucking sad.
In the military we are taught to take care of each other, do the right thing even if it is the hard thing. We have values like "Honor, Courage, Commitment" for the Marine Corps and "Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, Personal Courage" for the Army. This isn't fucking hard. If those values are being lived, SPC Guillen is alive today. She was failed.
I'll have more about this tomorrow but since we recorded this episode so many more details have come to light that I wanted to explain.