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“At a time when the need for independent journalism and for media outlets unaffiliated with and untainted by the government and corporate sponsors is greater than ever, Project Censored has created a context for reporting the complete truths in all matters that matter. . . . It is therefore left to us to find sources for information we can trust. . . . It is in this task that we are fortunate to have an ally like Project Cen-sored.” —Dahr Jamail
“Censored 2014 is a clarion call for truth telling. Not only does this volume highlight fearless speech in fateful times, it connect the dots between the key issues we face, lauds our whistleblowers and amplifies their voices, and shines light in the dark places of our government that most need exposure.” –Daniel Ellsberg, The Pentagon Papers
“Hot news, cold truths, utterly uncensored.” —Greg Palast
“[Censored] should be affixed to the bulletin boards in every newsroom in America. And, perhaps read aloud to a few publishers and television executives.” —Ralph Nader
Buy it, read it, act on it. Our future depends on the knowledge this col-lection of suppressed stories allows us.” —San Diego Review
“Project Censored shines a spotlight on news that an informed public must have . . . a vital contribution to our democratic process.” —Rhoda H. Karpatkin, president, Consumer’s Union
“Those who read and support Project Censored are in the know.” —Cynthia McKinney
“One of the most significant media research projects in the country.” —I. F. Stone
“[Censored] offers devastating evidence of the dumbing-down of main-stream news in America. . . . Required reading for broadcasters, journalists, and well-informed citizens.” —Los Angeles Times
“Project Censored brings to light some of the most important stories of the year that you never saw or heard about. This is your chance to find out what got buried.” –Diane Ravitch, author of The Death and Life of the Great American School System.
“Project Censored is one of the organizations that we should listen to, to be assured that our newspapers and our broadcasting outlets are practicing thorough and ethical journalism.” —Walter Cronkite
“For ages, I’ve dreamed of a United States where Project Censored isn’t necessary, where these crucial stories and defining issues are on the front page of the New York Times, the cover of Time, and in heavy rotation on CNN. That world still doesn’t exist, but we always have Project Censored’s yearly book to pull together the most important things the corporate media ignored, missed, or botched.” –Russ Kick, author of You Are Being Lied To, Everything You Know Is Wrong, and the New York Times bestselling series The Graphic Canon.
“In another home run for Project Censored, Censored 2013 shows how the American public has been bamboozled, snookered, and dumbed down by the corporate media. It is chock-full of ‘ah-ha’ moments where we understand just how we’ve been fleeced by banksters, stripped of our civil liberties, and blindly led down a path of never-ending war.” –Medea Benjamin, author of Drone Warfare, cofounder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK.
“The staff of Project Censored presents their annual compilation of the previous year’s 25 stories most overlooked by the mainstream media along with essays about censorship and its consequences. The stories include an 813% rise in hate and anti-government groups since 2008, human rights violations by the US Border Patrol, and Israeli doctors injecting Ethiopian immigrants with birth control without their consent. Other stories focus on the environment, like the effects of fracking and Monsantos GMO seeds. The writers point out misinformation and outright deception in the media, including CNN relegating factual accounts to the “opinion” section and the whitewashing of Margaret Thatcher’s career following her death in 2013, unlike Hugo Chavez, who was routinely disparaged in the coverage following his death. One essay deals with the proliferation of “Junk Food News,” in which “CNN and Fox News devoted more time to ‘Gangnam Style’ than the renewal of Uganda’s ‘Kill the Gays’ law.” Another explains common media manipulation tactics and outlines practices to becoming a more engaged, free-thinking news consumer or even citizen journalist. Rob Williams remarks on Hollywood’s “deep and abiding role as a popular propaganda provider” via Argo and Zero Dark Thirty. An expose on working conditions in Chinese Apple factories is brutal yet essential reading. This book is evident of Project Censored’s profoundly important work in educating readers on current events and the skills needed to be a critical thinker.” -Publisher’s Weekly said about Censored 2014 (Oct.)
“Project Censored interrogates the present in the same way that Oliver Stone and I tried to interrogate the past in our Untold History of the United States. It not only shines a penetrating light on the American Empire and all its deadly, destructive, and deceitful actions, it does so at a time when the Obama administration is mounting a fierce effort to silence truth-tellers and whistleblowers. Project Censored provides the kind of fearless and honest journalism we so desperately need in these dangerous times.” —Peter Kuznick, professor of history, American University, and coauthor, with Oliver Stone, of The Untold History of the United States
“Most journalists in the United States believe the press here is free. That grand illusion only helps obscure the fact that, by and large, the US corporate press does not report what’s really going on, while tuning out, or laughing off, all those who try to do just that. Americans–now more than ever–need those outlets that do labor to report some truth. Project Censored is not just among the bravest, smartest, and most rigorous of those outlets, but the only one that’s wholly focused on those stories that the corporate press ignores, downplays, and/or distorts. This latest book is therefore a must read for anyone who cares about this country, its tottering economy, and–most important– what’s now left of its democracy.” –Mark Crispin Miller, author, professor of media ecology, New York University.
“Activist groups like Project Censored . . . are helping to build the media democracy movement. We have to challenge the powers that be and rebuild media from the bottom up.” —Amy Goodman
“Project Censored continues to be an invaluable resource in exposing and highlighting shocking stories that are routinely minimized or ignored by the corporate media. The vital nature of this work is underscored by this year’s NSA leaks. The world needs more brave whistle blowers and independent journalists in the service of reclaiming democracy and challenging the abuse of power. Project Censored stands out for its commitment to such work.” —Deepa Kumar, author of Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire and associate professor of Media Studies and Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University

#23 Unprocessed Rape Kits

Rape and Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call to Action, a report by the White House Council on Women and Girls issued in January 2014, revealed that nearly one in five US women have experienced rape or attempted rape in their lifetimes. Furthermore, the report indicated that, although the testing of rape kits—forensic exams that collect evidence of rape or sexual assault, including the perpetrator’s DNA—can be “vital for the prosecution of cases,” a backlog of untested rape kits may factor into low rape prosecution rates.

The White House report cited a 2011 study of more than 2,000 law enforcement agencies, which found that 44 percent of the agencies did not send forensic evidence to a laboratory because the suspect had not been identified; another 15 percent said they did not submit the evidence because the prosecutor did not request it; and 11 percent cited the lab’s inability to produce timely results. The White House report described a DNA Backlog Reduction Program, administered through the National Institute of Justice, which would fund 120 state and local crime labs to conduct DNA testing.

Writing for Truthout, Emily Homrok reported that a five-month study conducted by CBS News in 2009 had found a minimum of at least 20,000 unprocessed rape kits across the US. Homrok’s article detailed Jessica Ripley’s case. In February 2012, Ripley was raped in a parking garage in Salt Lake City, Utah. When the responding officer interviewed Ripley, he alluded several times to the fact that she was intoxicated and should not have been somewhere the officer “would never allow his daughter to go.” At the hospital, a rape kit was used and police were contacted—yet despite evidence produced by the kit, no investigative advances have been made in Ripley’s case. Ripley’s kit never even made it to the lab for testing; it was one of 788 that got destroyed or was left untouched by the Salt Lake City Police Department over an eight-year period, Homrok wrote. Rape tests are often not taken seriously by police officers because the victims are seen as “dumb drunk girls.”

In March 2014, the White House announced that its fiscal year 2015 budget would provide thirty-five million dollars for a new grant program to “inventory and test rape kits, develop ‘cold case’ units to pursue new investigative leads, and support victims throughout the process.” As Nora Caplan-Bricker reported for the New Republic, the Department of Justice estimated that as many as 400,000 rape kits were currently going unexamined because local authorities could not afford to analyze them. Testing a rape kit costs between $500 and $1,500, so, Caplan-Bricker wrote, “the administration’s proposed investment is only enough to make a moderate-sized dent in the issue.”

Less than a year later, in January 2015, the BBC’s Taylor Kate Brown reported significant progress in processing the backlog of untested rape kits. Using funds from a National Institute of Justice grant, Detroit police had tested some 2,000 unprocessed rape kits and were in the process of testing another 8,000. In Cleveland, Brown reported, police had submitted all of its 4,300 backlogged kits for testing. Cleveland police opened more than 1,800 investigations, and local prosecutors had “indicted 231 people, a third of whom had at least one previous rape conviction.” As Brown wrote, “Amid a reinvigorated call to test the estimated hundreds of thousands of rape kits in police storage across America, other US cities are also seeing dramatic results—a high number of previously unidentified serial rapists and dozens of unsolved cases going to prosecution.”

According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), approximately 68 percent of sexual assault cases go unreported.

Emily Homrok, “How Often Do Rape Kits Go Unprocessed?,” Truthout, October 3, 2014, http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/26561-how-often-do-rape-kits-go-unprocessed.

Nora Caplan-Bricker, “The Backlog of 400,000 Unprocessed Rape Kits Is A Disgrace,” New Republic, March 9, 2014, http://www.newrepublic.com/article/116945/rape-kits-backlog-joe-biden-announces-35-million-reopen-cases.

Taylor Kate Brown, “New Hope for Rape Kit Testing Advocates,” BBC, January 5, 2015,http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-30554719.

Student Researchers: Jessika Bales (Indian River State College) and Nathan Bowman (College of Marin)

Faculty Evaluators: Jared Kinggard (Indian River State College) and Susan Rahman (College of Marin)

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