Toward Freedom Wins 2013 Project Censored Award for Coverage of Sexual Violence Against Women in the US Military

Project Censored annually chooses 25 of the most important stories censored by the corporate media. This year, Toward Freedom won a Project Censored Award for John Lasker’s investigative article into the sexual violence against women in the US military.

Here is Lasker’s award-winning article: Sexual Violence Against Women in the US Military: The Search for Truth and Justice


Click here to see all top 25 censored news stories of 2011-2012

16. Sexual Violence against Women Soldiers on the Rise and Under Wraps

The 2005 death of US Army Private LaVena Johnson, officially ruled suicide by the Department of Defense, in fact exemplifies the sexual violence that female soldiers encounter while serving their country. Johnson’s autopsy revealed wounds inconsistent with suicide, including chemical burns that many believe were intended to destroy DNA evidence of rape. The Pentagon has tried to intimidate reporters and editors working on stories about Johnson. Johnson’s case is among at least twenty where female soldiers have died under suspicious circumstances. The mysterious deaths coincide with an increase in sexual violence against women in the military. According to the Department of Defense, in 2010, there were 3,158 total reports of sexual assault in the military. The DOD estimates that this number represents only 13.5 percent of the actual assaults, making the total number of military rapes and sexual assaults in excess of 19,000 for the year.

Censored News Cluster: Women and Gender, Race and Ethnicity

John Lasker, “Sexual Violence Against Women in the US Military: The Search for Truth and Justice,” Toward Freedom, July 14, 2011,

Student Researcher: Taylor Falbisaner (Sonoma State University)

Faculty Evaluator: Peter Phillips (Sonoma State University)


About Project Censored: “Founded by Carl Jensen in 1976, Project Censored is a media research program working in cooperation with numerous independent media groups in the US… Between 700 and 1000 stories are submitted to Project Censored each year from journalists, scholars, librarians, and concerned citizens around the world. With the help of more than 200 Sonoma State University faculty, students, and community members, Project Censored reviews the story submissions for coverage, content, reliability of sources and national significance. The university community selects 25 stories to submit to the Project Censored panel of judges who then rank them in order of importance.”

“Project censored is one of the organizations that we should listen to, to be assured that our newspapers and our broadcast outlets are practicing thorough and ethical journalism.” – Walter Cronkite

What is Modern Censorship? (From Project Censored): “At Project Censored, we examine the coverage of news and information important to the maintenance of a healthy and functioning democracy. We define Modern Censorship as the subtle yet constant and sophisticated manipulation of reality in our mass media outlets. On a daily basis, censorship refers to the intentional non-inclusion of a news story – or piece of a news story – based on anything other than a desire to tell the truth. Such manipulation can take the form of political pressure (from government officials and powerful individuals), economic pressure (from advertisers and funders), and legal pressure (the threat of lawsuits from deep-pocket individuals, corporations, and institutions).”