Vanessa Guillen Act Explained

In this post, we have to discuss yet another difficult topic, one that affects many military service members. Specifically, we want to examine the recent “I am Vanessa Guillen Act,” which criminalizes sexual harassment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

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What is this legislation? How will it impact military service members who experience this? We’ll cover all that here.

What is the ‘I am Vanessa Guillen Act’?

The “I am Vanessa Guillen Act,” which President Joe Biden signed into law Jan. 1, 2022, allows harassment victims to have their case heard by an independent investigator within 72 hours. This lets them bypass their immediate commanders, thus eliminating the chance for authorities to ignore serious complaints. The law also adds further safeguards to prevent superior officers from retaliating against accusers for any reason.

Defense attorney for the Guillen family, Natalie Khawam, says that this legislation will make a substantial difference in prosecuting and investigating sexual assault in the military. 

Supporters of the legislation are trumpeting it as a “mountain-moving” victory for abuse victims. They lament, however, that it took the unnecessary death of a young service member to bring about reform. The “I am Vanessa Guillen Act” was also part of the Biden administration’s $770 billion National Defense Authorization Act.

SRQ Vets is glad to help you stay abreast of all the issues and struggles of active-duty military and veterans. With more awareness, you can make a difference in identifying and addressing problems like sexual harassment in the military & mental health issues that may arise post-military. If you’d like to learn more about our mission or support us, contact us at 941-777-8387.

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