Protect Our Defenders News Blog


***STATEMENT*** Univision Film #IamVanessaGuillen Wins Webby Award, Recognizing Power of Survivors’ Storytelling

May 15, 2023

Univision Film #IamVanessaGuillen Wins Webby Award, Recognizing Power of Survivors’ Storytelling

Made in partnership with Protect Our Defenders, the film traces the path of survivor Karina Lopez as she launches the viral #IamVanessaGuillen movement following the death of Guillen at Fort Hood in 2020

Washington, DC – Today, Univision Noticias’ groundbreaking film, #IAmVanessaGuillen, will be honored with 2023 Webby Award selections for both “Documentary: Longform” and “People’s Voice.” Produced in partnership with Protect Our Defenders, the documentary chronicles the story of survivor Karina Lopez who launched the viral #IamVanessaGuillen hashtag following the tragic murder of Guillen at Fort Hood in 2020.

“The voices of Karina Lopez and fellow survivors have shattered silence around military sexual trauma and ignited a movement for accountability and reform,” said Protect Our Defenders Director of Programs and Policy, Adelaide Kahn-Fowler. “We are grateful to them – and to this film’s Director and Producer Andrea Patiño Contreras and Producer David Adams – for their unflinching pursuit of transparency, accountability, and justice.”

Karina ultimately inspired hundreds of servicemembers to come forward with their own experiences to shed light on sexual violence, misogyny and racism systematically covered up by military leadership.

“Survivors, and those who tell their stories, are critical to driving forward lasting change,” Kahn-Fowler continued. “Their efforts have helped pass the most important  military justice reform in history and they inspire us all to believe in a future free from the scourge of military sexual assault.”

The work of advocates and survivors featured in this documentary was critical to securing the most transformative military justice reform in our nation’s history – the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), officially empowering independent military prosecutors to determine whether those accused of sexual assault, rape and other serious offenses will be prosecuted.

“Survivors’ stories – like those in the #IAmVanessaGuillen documentary – are a chilling reminder of the urgent work that lies ahead. The trauma endured by these brave men and women demands our collective attention and action,” said Protect Our Defenders Senior Vice President, Josh Connolly, former Chief of Staff for Rep. Jackie Speier. “While progress has been made, tragedies continue to come to light from bases like Fort Hood and Pentagon reports that repeatedly show the military has a systematic culture of abuse.”

“Congress needs to ensure that hard-fought legislative reforms are implemented properly, and that military leadership is held accountable,” Connolly continued. “It is our responsibility to ensure that no survivor feels silenced or alone, and that every voice is heard and valued.”

To view the documentary in its entirety, please visit: