BWJP Welcomes Rebecca Henry, JD, MA, our new Chief Program Officer

Rebecca has been working to mitigate gender-based violence for 25 years, representing female inmates harassed by guards, litigating complex custody cases with survivors, developing training and technical assistance for victims’ attorneys, and providing expert consultation to legislative staff. Most recently, Rebecca was Chief Counsel to the Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence (CDSV) at the American Bar Association, where she served as an expert resource on all aspects of gender-based violence and the law to ABA leadership and staff, legislators, attorneys, judges, media, and others. There she managed all program activities and budgets, hired and supervised staff, conducted strategic planning, and served as staff liaison to members.  She holds an MA (ABD) in philosophy and feminist theory from the University of Minnesota, and a JD from New York University. 

“Rebecca’s extraordinary service as Chief Counsel at the American Bar Association made clear that she was the best choice to become our first Chief Program Officer,” said CEO Sánchez. “Her deep intellect, creative problem solving, and sharp legal skills will be instrumental in leading our National Centers in addressing the most difficult legal issues impacting the most marginalized in our society.” 

Meet Rebecca 

Q: What brought you into the field of gender-based violence? 

Rebecca: It feels like I’ve been interested in justice and women’s rights since elementary school! It’s a winding tale that took me through a doctoral program in feminist ethics before landing me in law school. As an undergrad, I spent a practicum year working at Planned Parenthood, where most women I met were dealing with GBV and reproductive coercion. In my law school clinic, we represented female inmates (the vast majority of whom have a history of GBV) who were being groped and assaulted by guards under the pretext of body searches. My first legal job was representing survivors in complex custody litigation, where I began to see first-hand how legal systems are not actually designed to serve justice, but compliance. All of this brought me around full circle to imagining practical ways to get better legal outcomes for survivors, and working to bend systems to the needs of the marginalized. It’s work I’m so proud and fortunate to do. 

Q: What drew you to want to work at BWJP? 

Rebecca: BWJP is such a diverse, creative, and prolific community partner, and one that is striving to match its vision and ideals to practice with intentionality. I was eager to have the opportunity to collaborate with this team of experts and innovators. 

Q: What are you most looking forward to working at BWJP? 

Rebecca: I love that BWJP is in the process of reinventing itself, solidly anchored by decades of cutting-edge work while also reaching to expand and evolve. I’m really excited to be a part of that evolution. 

Q: How do you like to spend your time outside of work? 

Rebecca: I love to solve puzzles, and that includes everything from crosswords to re-working the plumbing in my hundred-year-old bungalow. My current project is thoroughly rehabbing a vintage camper, with the grace and forbearance of my generous wife. 

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