ABILENE, TX. (KTAB/KRBC)- With protests over the death of former U.S. Army Veteran Vanessa Guillen spreading across the country, on Saturday night a driving protest was held in Abilene. After seeing the line of cars drive by, more spectators jumped in their cars and joined.
“I prayed for them, I prayed that they would find her and she could hold her daughter again,” said protest organizer Terri Martinez.
Saturday night’s driving protest started in the Abilene Police Department parking lot, and travelled throughout the surrounding area. Cars were decorated with paint, balloons, flags, and posters with hopes of raising awareness and giving a voice to Vanessa Guillen.
“The chain of command is usually who you report sexual harassment to, and if the abuse is coming from somewhere within that chain, or if you’re reporting to someone in that chain and they are not taking care of the issue, then your voice is not being heard, and it’s going swept under the rug,” said protest organizer and U.S. Army Veteran Alisha Gamez.
Some protesters used this demonstration to shine a light on all female harassment victims.
“A lot of women are scared to come forward, because they don’t actually get justice for what happens to them. She semi went forward, and then in the end she lost her life for it,” said protest organizer Antoinette Alvarado.
Alisha Gamez says, she is pushing for legislative change within the military, to give harassment victims the opportunity to report their cases to officials outside the chain of command.
“I love the army, I just hate what happened and because of what happened I think this law within the army, this regulation needs to be readjusted,” said Gamez.
Terri Martinez says seeing the Abilene community together gives her hope that real change is on its way.
“Us coming out here, you know, helping spread the word and her voice, I think will change something. We may not see it now, but hopefully we’ll see it soon,” said Terri Martinez.
Organizers of the protest say, taking the time to listen and empathize with victims of abuse and harassment could help prevent tragedies like the death of Vanessa Guillen, and so many more.
According to Alisha Gamez, there will be another driving event for Vanessa Guillen on July, 26th.