The death of Vanessa Guillen, a 20-year-old U.S. soldier stationed in Texas who went missing in April, has sparked a protest movement framed in the recent social unrest over the Black Lives Matter issue, and in what seems like a tailspin of the #MeToo movement of 2017.
Between local protests, the legal involvement of her family, and the #IAmVanessaGuillen social media movement that has brought to light the epidemic of sexual harassment and violence within the ranks of the military, Vanessa’s death has managed to get the attention it deserves.
Now, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) has spoken out over Guillen’s death, urging Latinas across the country not to join the U.S. military, according to its president Domingo Garcia.
“We are asking all women, especially Latinas or their families: Don’t join the military until we are sure that you will be protected and cared for when you serve our country,” Garcia said in a video. “And right now I don’t think the military is capable of doing that because of what happened to Vanessa Guillen.”
Before Guillen’s remains were found, and before her main suspect committed suicide, the U.S. Army’s Criminal Investigation Command (CID) and LULAC each pledged $25,000 for any information on his whereabouts, The Hill reported.
Last week, the remains of her body were found near the Lion River in Bell County, Texas, and the family’s lawyer, Natalie Khawam, told the media that Guillen was killed with a hammer before her alleged killer Aaron David Robinson and his girlfriend Cecily Anne Aguilar tried to burn her body before dismembering it with a machete.
“There is no security if your daughter decides to join the Army or any of the military branches,” Garcia said. “There is still a system of predators that doesn’t protect the women who serve our country.”
LULAC’s president added that the leadership in the military “did not take Vanessa’s disappearance seriously.”
“For 30 days they basically did nothing. And it wasn’t until the family got involved and started having protests that it became a national issue,” Garcia said.