CALDWELL, Idaho — Idaho Female Veterans Network (IFVN) will hold a vigil at 8 p.m. on July 14 on the steps of the Caldwell Veterans' Memorial Hall to honor Specialist Vanessa Guillen and demand justice for her death. The goal of this event is to acknowledge survivors of military sexual trauma to bring awareness to a systemic problem that prevails throughout all military branches.
"Supporting our troops means a lot more than just putting a bumper sticker on your car," said Rosie Mustic, Event Organizer and Leader of the Canyon County IFVN Chapter and Veteran of the United States Marine Corps. The responsibility we all have at this moment lies with speaking our truth and hoping that the change we have been waiting for will happen before another female service member suffers."
Four out of 10 female service members report having been sexually assaulted, and 80 percent report sexual harassment, according to a release from IFVN.
"Last year alone the number of assaults in the Airforce went up 9%, clearly we have a great deal of work to be done," said Keri Steneck, Member of the IFVN, Vice Chair of the Idaho Veterans Wellness Center and Veteran of the United States Army. "Vanessa's story is heartbreaking, and her voice deserves to be heard loud and clear. My concern at this time is that if the media, politicians, and public do not hear these stories and look into this immense problem we will never see change."
Everyone who attends the vigil is asked to wear a face covering and adhere to the social distancing guidelines set by the CDC.