Earlier this year, Gullen, a soldier assigned to Fort Hood, was found dead in Killeen, Texas, after intimating that she was going to make a sexual harassment complaint against another soldier. After her death, and the uproar it caused, legislation was introduced to deal with sexual harassment in the Army.
On September 16 a bipartisan bill called the ‘I Am Vanessa Guillen Act’ was introduced in Guillen’s memory. It will make sexual harassment a crime within the Uniform Code of Military Justice and move prosecution decisions about sexual harassment and assault out of the military chain of command.
But that is not all. A memorial to Gullen’s memory was erected outside one of the gates at Fort Hood on private land, the parking lot of a local tattoo parlor. It “features a large mural painted by artist Cherine Mendoza in early July so that soldiers could see and remember Guillen every time they left the fort’s East Gate,” and be reminded that women are not playthings to be harassed at will.
A week ago, someone made a mess of the candles shaped like a heart in front of the memorial. It has been revealed that surveillance video of the vandal – a man holding a can of some sort – does exist. Further, the League of United Latin American Citizens – not the police, as the vandalism was not reported to them – request the public’s help in identifying this person.
‘I would ask that we focus on reminding the community that the mural is there to bring the community together and bring awareness to sexual assault, sexual harassment and its prevention,’ Analuisa Tapia, LULAC district director said in a press release.