I am Vanessa Guillen: Documentary Screening at UST Houston
Vanessa Guillen's name symbolizes one of the most tragic cases of sexual harassment against women in the history of the U.S. Army. Guillen, a soldier at Fort Hood, Texas, was murdered in 2020. Her family's relentless search for justice has prompted historical changes in how the Army investigates and deals with sexual harassment accusations. In observance of Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April, the University of St. Thomas - Houston (UST) Veteran Success Center, Camp SHiEld (a leading national organization for the empowerment of women veterans), and Tequila Kateri will host a screening of the documentary "I Am Vanessa Guillen," an in-depth look into the disappearance of the 20-year-old soldier.
The screening will take place on April 21 at 7 p.m. at Jones Hall on the campus of the University of St. Thomas – Houston at 3800 Montrose Boulevard, Houston, Texas, 77006.
"With this event," says Dr. Trisha Ruiz, director of the Veteran Success Center at UST, "we honor the memory of a life full of promise, a life of a loving sister, daughter, and soldier. Vanessa's death was not in vain; her experience transformed reporting procedures to protect female soldiers. We are honored to welcome her loving family to our campus."
For Maggie Peterson, Founder and CEO of Camp SHiEld, this screening is an opportunity to strengthen her organization's commitment to all soldiers who have been victims of sexual harassment.
"I could not think of an event that is more aligned with the mission of Camp SHiEld. Our message to every female soldier who has been a victim of sexual harassment is that they are not alone. We see them, we believe them, and stand alongside them."
Mayra and Lupe Guillen, Vanessa's sisters, will attend the event. Since the tragic death of their sister, Mayra and Lupe have been instrumental in raising awareness of the need for reform in the handling of the U.S. military’s sexual harassment cases. Both sisters have spoken at the nation's capital about sexual harassment reporting procedures. Their actions resulted in the I Am Vanessa Guillen Act, a federal law that excludes service members from investigating and prosecuting sexual harassment allegations at U.S. military bases.