AUSTIN (KXAN) — Family members of Vanessa Guillen marched for her and others at Fort Hood who have died this year, calling for the bill named after the soldier to get support.
The march began at 11 a.m. at Republic Square at 422 West Fifth Street in Austin. From there, marchers headed to the Texas State Capitol.
“It’s very, very important that you guys are here today,” one woman said at the rally. “We want to put pressure — we’re gonna get this law passed.”
Guillen was a military specialist at Fort Hood who disappeared in April. Her family said before she disappeared that she had told them she had been sexually harassed but didn’t feel she could report it. Another soldier is accused of killing Guillen.‘
There have been a number of rallies and vigils for Guillen in Austin and throughout the state. State Rep. César Blanco (D-El Paso) was among those at a rally in Killeen in July, where he said he planned to file a bill in Guillen’s honor next legislative session.
“The act will prohibit retaliation, court marshaling, and any other punishment against victims or survivors for reporting sexual assault. The idea is that the bill will ensure criminal sexual assaults can be prosecuted in state courts to the full extent of the law, to hold offenders accountable outside of the military chain of command,” Rep. Blanco said at the time.
Between January and July of this year, 23 Fort Hood soldiers have died. At the beginning of the month, Fort Hood replaced its commander, and an investigation began into its climate and culture.