NOW ON NETFLIX! I Am Vanessa Guillen should be seen by everyone far and wide. Directed by Christy Wegener, the documentary tells the tale of U.S. Army soldier Vanessa Guillen, who was slain by a fellow soldier. In so many cases, many women will be subject to unnecessary comments from fellow employees and even, possibly, superiors. This may evolve into groping and unnecessary touching or physical contact. If it goes too far, it can and will lead to sexual assault, which, sadly, led to Guillen’s untimely demise that has forever scarred the Guillens to this very day.
The titular subject’s family vividly details her sexual harassment by other soldiers and a superior officer. They describe their harrowing struggles as they try to cope with the loss of their beloved family member. They are able to secure a lawyer who is more than willing to work for them pro-bono. As a result of the popularity of the case, the Guillens went to Washington, D.C., to talk with President Donald Trump to crack down on any and all sexual assaults in the military.
“…sexual assault, which, sadly, led to Guillen’s untimely demise…”
Many documentaries will give you a brief landscape of what occurred so as to not come across as too graphic or gratuitous. I Am Vanessa Guillen packs a punch of necessary energy that draws a blueprint into a pattern of psychological and physical abuse that has failed to end. The film is not only a portrait of Vanessa Guillen but is also a potent assessment of the power dynamic that exists in the military and does not seem to be leaving anytime soon. It is a harsh reality that we must deal with, but that doesn’t mean we can’t fight it and try to combat it as American citizens.
All in all, I Am Vanessa Guillen is lightning in a bottle. And even better, it comes from a place of love and reverence. Wegener captures the essence of who Vanessa Guillen was. She was a brave soldier, a devoted daughter, loving sister, and a caring friend. People like her, who get abused by fellow countrymen who vowed to protect and serve, must have their stories heard.
"…lightning in a bottle..."