As a woman working in the entertainment industry, it’s hard to hear stories like Vanessa Guillen’s. I know the feeling of not wanting to speak up about sexual harassment in the work field and for many of us it becomes part of the job. The world saw Vanessa’s beautiful face and her heartbreaking story went viral. The 20-year-old U.S. Army soldier was murdered on April 22, 2020, inside a Fort Hood, Texas, armory by another soldier, 20 year old Aaron David Robinson. Guillén had been missing since April 22 when some of her dismembered remains were found buried along the Leon River on June 30.
Once her body was discovered, Robinson fled Fort Hood, and shot himself when cops attempted to apprehend him in Texas. Robinson’s girlfriend was taken into custody and is alleged to have helped Robinson dispose of Vanessa’s body. Watching Vanessa’s mom fight to find her daughter and breaking down in front of cameras triggered me as well…When you start out young and eager to work in your dream field you walk into life wearing rose-colored glasses. Until you learn that things aren’t always as they seem. Men become attracted to you, and the comments start but you don’t want to lose your job and ‘it’s not a big deal right’? Then comes the unwanted advances and propositions and unethical business practices. What about the girls who don’t fit the ‘girl next door image’? What happens when they are sexually harassed? They certainly don’t go viral and most times they continue to push through it because after all, ‘we are strong right’? I’ve been that girl and now as an adult woman stories like Vanessa’s triggers memories from the past. Even when women decide to speak up, they are labeled crazy or opportunists and allegations are swept under the rug.
Let this be a lesson to young women everywhere looking to rise in their career. Always say something. We can’t let anyone think it’s alright to harass us in any form. And for the people who commit these crimes, ‘what’s done in the dark will come to the light.’
Rest peacefully Vanessa Guillen.
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