A Public Statement Regarding Public Discourse Surrounding the I Am Vanessa Guillen Act
The Military Sexual Trauma Movement, Inc. is a grassroots human rights organization that was founded by Military Sexual Trauma (MST) veteran, Jánelle Marina Méndez in 2018 in Dutchess County, New York.
According to Human Rights Watch, 90% of Latin and Caribbean American female Marines experience both rape and retaliation. This is the most severe racial and sex discrimination deviation of any minority group across all U.S. Military branches. This intersectional discrimination is unique to veterans like Jánelle Marina who have overlapping minority identities.
- Jánelle Marina Méndez, Military Sexual Trauma Movement CEO in Washington D.C.
Jánelle Marina Méndez said, “I founded the Military Sexual Trauma Movement in 2018, 2 years before Vanessa Guillen died. I am responsible for turning MST into a national movement and I raised the issue in the public eye. I even authored, lobbied, and enacted the Restoration of Honor Act of 2019.
I am the human responsible for creating the legal definition of MST in U.S. Law and creating a legally recognizable class of veterans not known in the legal system. At ages 16, 17, and 18, I experienced child-sexual slavery while serving on active duty in the United States Marine Corps.
The I Am Vanessa Guillen Act left out critical protections for some of the most vulnerable classes of veterans such as those that are transgender. It’s disappointing the media and politicians aren’t listening to the voices of survivors of MST like myself.”
A group of veterans who have experienced MST has issued the following statement in support of Jánelle, “As veterans who have experienced MST, we organized and developed our own grassroots movement to advocate for ourselves. Our issues surrounding MST are complex.
We have an abundance of healthcare, education, housing benefits, and legal obstacles to endure over our lifetimes that need to be addressed on a legislative scale. We have the highest rates of suicide, homelessness, infertility, miscarriage and pregnancy complications, and substance abuse of any other class of veteran.
Our issues are remaining ignored due to the current public discourse surrounding our community. As MST veterans who have to live with these legal and healthcare issues for the rest of our lives, it is our voices that must be at the center of public discourse related to Military Sexual Trauma and our experiences.
We are asking the media and public to center their news regarding MST around our lived experiences so that we can adequately attain restorative justice. With the release of Netflix’s Vanessa Guillen documentary, we feel compelled to raise our voices.”
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