A Look at WDN’s Support of Military Justice Reform Following Biden’s Executive Order

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President Biden recently stripped military commanders of their authority over cases of sexual assault, rape, and murder. This follows two decades of pressure from female lawmakers, victims of sexual assault, and the general public, including the WDN community. President & CEO Emerita Donna Hall joined us for an interview to share more.

Donna Hall, President & CEO Emerita

Why did the WDN community feel called to support the documentary The Invisible War? What impact did it have?

We felt it important to focus on an issue that was universal – sexual assault, with this specific focus on the military which has always been very quiet and under the radar – and had the opportunity 10 years ago through an introduction to the co-productor and co-director Amy Ziering to learn about The Invisible War and to help distribute it widely across the country and support activities for discussion and action. The film got a lot of attention from senior people in the military and citizen groups. It won numerous awards. We were very proud to be listed as an Executive Producer.

What was WDN’s strategy to advocate for military justice reform?

We had a long view, we knew it would take a long time before real action could be taken, and we also knew that there was a role we could play in supporting widespread public engagement to help set the stage for legislative change.

As President & CEO, you led WDN in these efforts. What are your reflections upon hearing the news of this major reform a decade later?

A decade later I can look back with pride on the partnership that members, staff, and partners in the field played in launching this important film, which reached far and wide and played a role in stimulating progressive military reform. The wheels move very slowly and it’s frustrating, but our patience was rewarded in this case. It is important never to let our resolve drop.

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