The family of murdered Latina soldier Vanessa Guillén celebrated that President Joe Biden signed the military spending law on Monday, which includes “historic changes” in the way the Armed Forces handle cases of sexual harassment and assault.
“The # FY22NDAA was signed by the President of the United States. May these historic changes be blessings to those who need them and give hope to those who felt they were not being heard, like my sister. Unfortunately, his story was the catalyst for this law. # YosoyVanessaGuillén. We did it, ” Mayra Guillén, Vanessa’s sister , wrote on Twitter .
Biden signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on Monday, which includes the increase in defense spending for the year 2022, a budget of 760,000 million dollars.
The 2022 NDAA includes the I Am Vanessa Guillén Act, promoted by the family of the murdered soldier.
Guillén, 20, was an Army soldier at Fort Hood, Texas, when she disappeared on April 22, 2020. Her dismembered and burned remains were found on June 30 of that year about 20 miles from the city. base, where he died the night of his disappearance.
According to investigations, Guillén was killed by fellow soldier Aaron David Robinson, who, upon learning of the discovery of his partner’s remains, escaped from Fort Hood and later committed suicide when the police tried to arrest him in Kileen, Texas.
Natalie Khawam, a lawyer for the Guillén family, also reacted to the signing of the NDAA. “Soldiers were afraid to report sexual harassment, fearing that they would not believe them or worse yet, that they would suffer retaliation for reporting it! Well, no more! ”He wrote on Instagram.
The Guillén family and their attorneys worked with legislators to get the Act approved.
Federal Representative Adam Smith, D-Washington, also welcomed the signing of the document in a statement. “I am proud of what separates this year’s NDAA from previous defense budgets: a package of significant changes in the way the Armed Forces will handle sex crimes under the Uniformed Code of Military Justice, ” he said.
He explained that these reforms will remove the commanders from the control of the prosecution of sexual crimes in the Armed Forces. Instead, he said, qualified and independent military attorneys “will have the exclusive authority to make decisions on charges and the responsibility to prosecute those crimes.”
In Texas, a similar proposal went into effect last September to protect the state’s military who report sexual assaults.