HANFORD, Calif. (KGPE) — A peaceful protest took place in Hanford Sunday morning as demonstrators protested for the injustice of Vanessa Guillén — a soldier who was killed and dismembered by a fellow soldier.
They say her story needs to be heard.
“As a military community we will not stand for what is happening to service members and we will not stay silent any longer. We will be the voice for those who have been silenced,” organizer Ivette Stafforini said.
Organizers also wanted to show their support for all sexual assault survivors and encouraged people at the protest to register to vote so their voices can be heard.
Remains found last week buried near Fort Hood belonged to Guillén and Army officials informed her family in Houston, attorney Natalie Khawam told The Associated Press. Guillén, who had been missing since April, was killed and dismembered by a fellow soldier who took his own life last week, federal and military investigators have said.
Human remains were found Tuesday near the Leon River in Bell County, about 20 miles east of Fort Hood, during the search for Guillén. An Army spokesman said earlier Sunday that they were still waiting for positive identification of the remains.
Investigators were unable to use dental records to identify Guillén because of the state of her remains and instead used DNA from bone and hair samples, Khawam said. Guillén’s family received the information in the company of their priest, she said.
Army officials identified the soldier suspected in Guillén’s disappearance as Aaron David Robinson. Cecily Aguilar, a 22-year-old civilian from a community near near Fort Hood, was arrested and charged with one count for allegedly helping hide the body of 20-year-old solider, according to a criminal complaint.
Guillén’s family has said that they believe she was sexually harassed by Robinson and is calling for a congressional investigation.
Mayra Guillen said last week that her sister had spoken with their mother about experiencing sexual harassment, but that her mother has been too devastated to talk about it. From their text conversations, Mayra Guillen said she believed her sister was afraid during her time at Fort Hood.
Khawam said Sunday that military sexual harassment is “epidemic” and demands attention from Congress. “You can’t turn a blind eye anymore,” she said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.