Vets want answers on Vanessa Guillen’s murder, sexual harassment claims

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WASHINGTON D.C. (Nexstar) — In the wake of the murder of Fort Hood Specialist Vanessa Guillen, women veterans rallied on Capitol Hill Tuesday to call for systematic changes in how sexual harassment and abuse claims are handled by the military.

Lucy Del Gaudio says she left the U.S. Army in 1998 — as a veteran and a survivor of sexual assault.

“I haven’t had a voice for 27 years,” Del Gaudio said.

On Tuesday, Del Gaudio was at the Capitol Hill rally to give other victims, like 22-year-old Guillen, a voice.

“I will not rest until justice is served for Vanessa,” she said.

In April, Guillen was killed at Fort Hood military base in Texas by a male soldier. Guillen’s family says she was sexually assaulted by him earlier, but was scared to report it to her superiors.

“When you join the Army, your command staff should not turn out to be your enemy,” said U.S. Representative for Texas’s 29th congressional district, Sylvia Garcia.

Garcia says she’s calling for a full, independent investigation into Guillen’s murder and the command climate at Fort Hood.

“We will not stop until a complete, thorough investigation is done,” Garcia said.

Garcia says she is waiting on the U.S. Secretary of the Army to start the investigation panel into military sexual harassment that he promised to create last week.

Until then, U.S. Representative for California Jackie Speier says Congress will be conducting its own investigation.

“We must offer survivors justice while sending a strong message to the forces that harassment and assault will not be tolerated,” Speier said.

Speier also says she plans to introduce a bill this week to address how sexual harassment is handled, investigated and prosecuted in the U.S. military.

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