Our Sister’s Keeper – Local March To Protest for Military Sexual Trauma

Lifestyle
July 29, 2020

WHEN: SATURDAY, AUGUST 1, 2020
WHERE: FAIRVIEW PARK, CN PAVILLION #11, CENTRALIA, IL
TIME: 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM

The tragic death of Army PFC Vanessa Guillen, who was brutally murdered on-base while serving at Fort Hood, Texas, has brought national attention to our country’s failure to properly support the ongoing crisis of Military Sexual Trauma (MST). MST affects thousands of women and men in the United States Armed Forces every year, but only a small percentage of these crimes ever result in real consequences for those responsible. In response, the family of Vanessa Guillen are teaming up with active-duty and veteran members of all five military branches for a series of marches and protests scheduled to take place in over a dozen cities from coast to coast on Saturday, August 1, 2020.

Approximately 75,000 of 500,000 active-duty military personnel, (15%) are women. One out of three women will experience some form of MST during their enlistment. In 2019, over 20,000 military personnel reported being the victims of rape, sexual assault, stalking, harassment, or domestic violence. Of those, slightly more than 300 reports resulted in formal criminal action; and, only 105 of those resulted in an actual conviction. These trends are far worse than those among the general population.

76% of MST victims report their attacker was above them in the chain of command. This raises issues of workplace discrimination and abuse of power within the command structure. Many victims report being subject to further harassment, abuse, and retaliation for speaking out. The effects of which are devastating to those enlisted and recruiting efforts among women. The vast majority of these crimes (including PFC Guillen) go unreported to the proper authorities.

Event organizers are demanding structural and procedural changes to the process by which MST cases are handled. This includes creating a US military database of sexual predators, integrating the Military Entrance Processing Station with the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), immediate passage of the 2013 Military Justice Improvement Act (S.1752), and allowing victims to report crimes anonymously to civilian authorities. Implementing these changes, ensures military brass that victims feel more comfortable coming forward and seeking treatment for their trauma, while increasing their ability to effectively prosecute these crimes of epidemic military proportion, and broader civilian community.

Help support our active-duty and veteran military’s most vulnerable members find justice, and the peace they deserve. Guest speakers include event organizer, US Army Veteran Kenya Lunsford; Judge Judy Cates; Veterans; Victims; and many more. Find us on Social Media @ Our Sister’s Keeper on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. For more information, please contact local event organizer, US Army Veteran Kenya Lunsford at klunsford1025@gmail.com.

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