After Vanessa Guillen's murder, U.S deems military sexual harassment a crime : NPR

  
Via:  sandy-2021492  •  5 months ago  •  26 comments

By:   NPR. org

After Vanessa Guillen's murder, U.S deems military sexual harassment a crime : NPR
Spc. Vanessa Guillen was murdered by a fellow soldier in 2020. "My little sister shed light on the epidemic of sexual misconduct in the military" Mayra Guillen said.

Sponsored by group The Reality Show

The Reality Show


S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



Mayra Guillen, second from left, and Lupe Guillen, second from right, have been vocal advocates for changes to military justice, after their sister Vanessa was murdered at 20 years old. The Guillen family says Vanessa endured sexual harassment — which is now a crime in the military.

Susan Walsh/AP

Sexual harassment is now a crime under U.S. military law — a milestone that might surprise many people simply because it hadn't occurred until now. The change is a direct legacy of Spc. Vanessa Guillen, who was murdered by a fellow soldier in 2020 while she was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas.

"My little sister shed light on the epidemic of sexual misconduct in the military" Mayra Guillen said in a tweet. "You'll never be forgotten. I miss you so much. Hope you're proud!"

Guillen's name was repeatedly invoked by the White House as President Biden signed an executive order that establishes sexual harassment as a specific crime under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

The White House said Guillen's "experience with severe sexual harassment was followed by her brutal murder, drawing national attention to the scourge of sexual violence in the military."

Biden's action fulfills a section of the National Defense Authorization Act, which calls for the president to establish sexual harassment as a punishable offense under the military code. The law required that step within 30 days of it being enacted; Biden signed the NDAA on Dec. 27.


Vanessa Guillen's family fought for change


Guillen's family said she was sexually harassed before her death, but fear of retaliation kept her from reporting it. Since then, her sisters and the family's attorney have pushed for changes. With Biden's new executive order delivering a core element of those reforms, Mayra Guillen said, "this feels unreal."

The National Defense Authorization Act includes several measures that reform how the military treats sexual harassment or assault. Most of those measures were drawn from or inspired by the I Am Vanessa Guillen Act:

  • When military personnel are missing or absent without leave, their commanders must immediately share information with local and federal agencies;
  • Sexual harassment complaints must be handled through independent investigations;
  • The Secretary of Defense must assess on-base living quarters and take measures "to prevent crime, including sexual assault," such as ensuring sleeping areas' have locking doors and windows;
  • The Department of Defense will track "allegations of retaliation by victims of sexual assault or sexual harassment."

Months after Guillen's family spoke out, the Army largely agreed with them


Guillen's family said she was sexually harassed before her death — but didn't report it.

"My sister was too afraid to report the harassment because no one would listen to her," Lupe Guillen told NPR in July 2020. "They take sexual harassment, sexual assault, as a joke. They don't care."

Months after that damning statement, then-Army Secretary Ryan D. McCarthy essentially agreed with Guillen's sister, saying the command climate at Fort Hood was "permissive of sexual harassment and sexual assault."

The Army punished 14 leaders at Fort Hood, relieving some high-ranking officers of duty and suspending other leaders after a review that was sparked by Guillen's death.

Biden's executive order takes effect immediately. Because the new policy is not retroactive, it won't apply to any actions that might have taken place before the president signed the order.

"All men and women in uniform should be able to serve their country free from fear of violence or harassment," Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said via Twitter. He was in the Oval Office when Biden signed the order.

Along with making sexual harassment a crime, "it also strengthens the military justice response in prosecuting cases of domestic violence, and fully implements changes to the military justice code to criminalize the wrongful broadcast or distribution of intimate visual images," the White House said.

A review panel says the changes will strengthen the U.S. military


The new changes to the military code are among the dozens of recommendations made by a special panel, the Independent Review Commission on Sexual Assault in the Military.

"This is an important step," said Kyleanne Hunter, a commission member and Marine Corps veteran who teaches at the U.S. Air Force Academy and Georgetown University.

Hunter says the changes are key to ensuring a robust military.

"That starts with ensuring that the women and men who sign up to serve are safe and protected," she said. "Addressing sexual harassment — which impacts 1 in 3 women and 1 in 16 men in the Services — is an essential part of doing this. This order will keep us safer."

The commission's members also included Army veteran Kris Fuhr, who graduated from West Point in 1985, in just the fifth class that included women.

A sense of how far the military has come, and how far it has to go, can be gleaned from a 2017 interview, in which Fuhr recounted the harsh treatment she and other female cadets faced in the military academy. For her, the mistreatment including an instance where a senior cadet attacked her, after sending her roommate away from their room.

The man had shoved Fuhr down to the floor and had pinned her down, Fuhr said, when her squad leader grabbed him and pulled him off of her.

"What was amazing to me," Fuhr said in that interview, was that despite the older cadet being moved to another unit after the attack, "they commissioned him in the United States Army."

Some 20 years later, Fuhr said, she ran into Sue Tendy, a former West Point coach who had spoken up for her, and tried to hold the other cadet accountable. Fuhr said hello — but Tendy immediately talked about that attack in 1982.

"She still felt so bad about it, she was like, 'I tried so hard to help you,' " Fuhr said.


Tags

jrGroupDiscuss - desc
[]
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
1  seeder  sandy-2021492    5 months ago

Progress.

 
 
 
Gordy327
Professor Principal
1.1  Gordy327  replied to  sandy-2021492 @1    5 months ago
Progress.

Every little bit helps.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
2  Vic Eldred    5 months ago

Sexual harassment is a subjective term.

 
 
 
Gordy327
Professor Principal
2.1  Gordy327  replied to  Vic Eldred @2    5 months ago

Really? How do you define it Vic?

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
2.1.1  seeder  sandy-2021492  replied to  Gordy327 @2.1    5 months ago

This ought to be interesting.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
2.1.2  devangelical  replied to  sandy-2021492 @2.1.1    5 months ago

no doubt.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
2.1.3  Vic Eldred  replied to  Gordy327 @2.1    5 months ago

I'm saying it is broad enough for everyone to define it.

Let me offer an example. A female officer could interpret criticism as sexual harassment.

Or what about excessive complaints coming from male subordinates?  Could that be considered harassment?

There is such a thing as sexual harassment, but it would have to be very narrowly defined.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
2.1.4  seeder  sandy-2021492  replied to  Vic Eldred @2.1.3    5 months ago

Criticism is only sexual harassment  if it is about her appearance or anything pertaining to sex, or if it is in retaliation for rejected advances by the person offering criticism.

Are you confusing sexual harassment and sex discrimination?

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
2.1.5  Vic Eldred  replied to  sandy-2021492 @2.1.4    5 months ago
Criticism is only sexual harassment  if it is about her appearance or anything pertaining to sex, or if it is in retaliation for rejected advances by the person offering criticism.

Suppose it's about performance?

Do we get to question decisions?

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
2.1.6  seeder  sandy-2021492  replied to  Vic Eldred @2.1.5    5 months ago

If a woman is receiving honest criticism based on performance, that's not a problem.

If she is receiving criticism regarding mistakes made by her male colleagues who are not being criticized, that's sex discrimination.

If she is receiving criticism in retaliation for telling somebody she's not interested in them, or for reporting harassment, that's sexual harassment. 

Anybody accused of sexual harassment should not be in a position to retaliate using the command structure, or to decide whether the report goes further, up to and including criminal charges.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
2.1.7  Vic Eldred  replied to  sandy-2021492 @2.1.6    5 months ago

Do you see what I mean Sandy?

A lot would have to be written into that rule.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
2.1.8  devangelical  replied to  Vic Eldred @2.1.5    5 months ago
Suppose it's about performance?

performance based upon what parameters...

Do we get to question decisions?

apparently only your side of the aisle gets to claim that privilege...

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
2.1.9  seeder  sandy-2021492  replied to  Vic Eldred @2.1.7    5 months ago

No, I think you're making this more complicated than it needs to be.  We've had a working definition of sexual harassment for years now. 

 
 
 
Gordy327
Professor Principal
2.1.10  Gordy327  replied to  Vic Eldred @2.1.3    5 months ago
I'm saying it is broad enough for everyone to define it.

No, it isn't. It's pretty straightforward. Here is how the US Government defines sexual harassment in its policy:

Harassment can include "sexual harassment" or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person's sex. For example, it is illegal to harass a woman by making offensive comments about women in general.

Here is the legal definition: Uninvited and unwanted sexual behavior, whether verbal or physical, especially by an individual in a position of authority over the victim (such as an employer, or a teacher).

Notice the common theme? Does that still seem "broad" to you Vic?

Let me offer an example. A female officer could interpret criticism as sexual harassment.

A poor example. Criticism by itself, let's say criticism of job performance, is not harassment. 

Or what about excessive complaints coming from male subordinates?  Could that be considered harassment?

What's the nature of the complaints? It's sexual harassment if the subordinates are being sexually harassed by a superior.

There is such a thing as sexual harassment, but it would have to be very narrowly defined.

It is, and I've provided the definition. You're welcome.

Suppose it's about performance?

Already addressed.

Do we get to question decisions?

Sure. Why not?

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
2.1.11  Vic Eldred  replied to  devangelical @2.1.8    5 months ago
performance based upon what parameters...

Well, Let's pretend you're a female moderator over on those groups you moderate on. You issue a ticket for every Conservative comment and I IM you asking to justify those tickets and then you claim harassment. Get it?

I happen to think a lot of women have faced sexual harassment, but the rules have to be very specific, because it can be all too easily used as a weapon.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
2.1.12  Vic Eldred  replied to  Gordy327 @2.1.10    5 months ago
A poor example. Criticism by itself, let's say criticism of job performance, is not harassment. 

Then we agree. Include that in the rule and I think we can move on.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
2.1.13  seeder  sandy-2021492  replied to  Vic Eldred @2.1.11    5 months ago

Is it true that I've ticketed every conservative comment?  That's pretty easy to research, isn't it?  If all conservative comments have been ticketed, by me, then I'm in the wrong.  If most stand (and we know, of course, that they do), then the accusation is false, and constitutes harassment.

The problem is that harassers very rarely admit that they're, you know, harassing.  They're either to biased or too dishonest.  And in the military, too often the harassers are the ones in the position to decide whether the harassment is to be addressed, or the victim is to be punished for speaking up.

The rules already are specific.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
2.1.14  Vic Eldred  replied to  sandy-2021492 @2.1.13    5 months ago
Is it true that I've ticketed every conservative comment? 

Absolutely not!


 That's pretty easy to research, isn't it?  

Um-hum.  But you must have had complaints via IM over some tickets?  Do you consider those a form of harassment?

 
 
 
Gordy327
Professor Principal
2.1.15  Gordy327  replied to  Vic Eldred @2.1.12    5 months ago
Include that in the rule and I think we can move on.

If one is going to claim sexual harassment over job performance, assuming the reviewer is not alluding to the subordinate's gender or sexuality or the like relating to performance, then the claimant has no case. Otherwise, it's just a review. So what's the problem?

Butyou must have had complaints via IM over some tickets?  Do you consider those a form of harassment?

Do the complaints allude to Sandy's sex or sexuality or the like? The issue is sexual harassment Vic. You're trying to conflate it with harassment in general.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
2.1.16  seeder  sandy-2021492  replied to  Vic Eldred @2.1.14    5 months ago

Some are harassment, but I don't assume it's based on my sex.  I generally assume it's based on the complainant's biases.  Sometimes, it's based on the complainant's lack of knowledge regarding how moderation and the assignment of points works.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
2.1.17  Vic Eldred  replied to  sandy-2021492 @2.1.16    5 months ago
Some are harassment

Thank you Sandy.

Have a good day.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
2.1.18  Vic Eldred  replied to  Gordy327 @2.1.15    5 months ago
You're trying to conflate it with harassment in general.

Sandy knows what I mean.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
2.1.19  seeder  sandy-2021492  replied to  Vic Eldred @2.1.17    5 months ago

You, too, Vic.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
2.1.20  devangelical  replied to  Vic Eldred @2.1.11    5 months ago
Let's pretend you're a female moderator

kind of says it all...

You issue a ticket for every Conservative comment

and yet, your comments are still posted here...

thanks for proving my point.

 
 
 
Gordy327
Professor Principal
2.1.21  Gordy327  replied to  Vic Eldred @2.1.18    5 months ago
Sandy knows what I mean.

Yes, but you seem confused about the nature of the harassment. Harassment is a broad term. Sexual harassment is specific. See the difference?

 
 
 
Gordy327
Professor Principal
2.1.22  Gordy327  replied to  devangelical @2.1.20    5 months ago

Gone are the bygone days of cat calls and butt slaps towards women with no repercussions. Some are probably upset by that too.

 
 

Who is online


Greg Jones
Colour Me Free


46 visitors