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Small Fraction of Soldiers Experiencing Sexual Harassment Filed Complaints, Pentagon Watchdog Finds

April 24, 2024

Steve Beynon

Paratroopers ruck march through the Fort Liberty training area, May 1, 2018 during a Best Squad Competition. (U.S. Army photo by Maj. Thomas Cieslak)

By Steve Beynon, / April 23, 2024

After the alleged sexual harassment and gruesome slaying of Spc. Vanessa Guillén in 2020, Army leaders pledged to create a culture that protects the service's junior troops -- particularly women in the ranks. But four years later, it may still be struggling to understand the scope of the problem.

A report from the Pentagon's inspector general released Wednesday found that soldiers are still reluctant to report sexual harassment and other abuse. Between January 2021 and January 2023, 4,600 soldiers reported sexual harassment behaviors in their units in anonymous command climate surveys -- out of 27,000 total responses. Of that group, only 73 sexual harassment complaints were actually made.

Guillén's murder at Texas' Fort Cavazos, then named Fort Hood, and the subsequent national outcry served as a reckoning for the Army. Found two months after her disappearance, Guillen's body had been dismembered and burned, and authorities alleged she had been sexually harassed before being murdered by a male soldier, who died by suicide. His girlfriend, who helped dispose of the body, was sentenced to 30 years in prison in August.

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