Biden signs order to criminalize sexual harassment in military

Washington, Jan 26 (EFE).- United States President Joe Biden on Wednesday signed an executive order making sexual harassment an offense under the military’s judicial code, a reform sparked by the murder of soldier Vanessa Guillén in 2020.

Biden’s executive order also strengthens the military justice’s response to cases of domestic violence and implements changes to the “military justice code to criminalize the wrongful broadcast or distribution of intimate visual images,” the White House said in a statement.

The decree sets in motion some of the measures approved in the I Am Vanessa Guillén Act, which was ratified at the end of last year in Congress within the annual defense budget.

Guillén was 20 years old when in April 2020, she disappeared from the Fort Hood military base in Texas after having reported sexual harassment. Two months later her remains were found about 20 miles from the base, where she was killed.

According to investigations, the young woman of Mexican descent was allegedly murdered by fellow soldier Aaron David Robinson, who fled Fort Hood and later committed suicide when confronted by police.

The executive order amending the Uniform Code of Military Justice “honors the memory of Army Specialist Vanessa Guillén, whose experience with severe sexual harassment was followed by a brutal murder, catalyzing national attention to the scourge of sexual violence in our military and helping advance bipartisan military justice reform,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said at her daily press conference on Wednesday.

One in four women and one in 16 men who work for the US Department of Defense experience sexual harassment at some point in their career, according to a study last year by the research center Rand Corporation. EFE


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