Family of Vanessa Guillen fights for amendment in NDAA

Published: Sep. 30, 2021 at 6:23 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Vanessa Guillen would have turned 22-years-old Thursday. The family of the slain Fort Hood soldier is marking the occasion in the nation’s capital, continuing their push for military reform.

Guillen’s sister, Mayra, and family lawyer, Natalie Khawam, have spent the week meeting with lawmakers as they consider the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) – the annual defense funding bill.

Khawam says Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) recently filled an amendment to the NDAA that would help soldiers like Vanessa who are victims of sexual assault. Specifically, it would allow victims the right to file a claim to seek relief or financial compensation.

“This is important, because there are so many victims out there that went to serve our country, they put on a uniform every day,” Khawam told the Gray Television Washington News Bureau. “They were wiling to take a bullet for our country, but they are not signing up to get harassed or sexually assaulted. What happened to Vanessa was very preventable.”

The House passed its version of the NDAA last week. The Senate needs to pass one as well before the two chambers can iron out the differences.

Khawam and the Guillen family are hopeful this amendment will be included.

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