Petition for Suzanne Swift


PETITION FOR SUZANNE SWIFT:  COMMAND RAPE IN THE MILITARY

COMMAND RAPE is when those in a soldiers chain of command, who have life and death decisions over a soldier, use their position to sexually coerce and harass the junior soldier; it is equivalent to incest.

Please, visit Suzanne's website, donate to her legal defense fund, and call your representatives.  Help our American daughter.  www.suzanneswift.org

Notice to those who report false claims of rape, harassment, assault, and command rape:  you make it difficult for those who experience the real thing.  You are just as culpable as those who commit the acts. 

If it's true, take a stand, and don't back down - like Suzanne.  It would have been easier for her to site another reason for not redeploying, than stand by the truth.




 
EXCLUSIVE... Army Investigation into Sexual Harassment Charges by ...
Democracy Now, NY -  Sep 16, 2006
exclusive, Army Specialist Suzanne Swift speaks out in her first national broadcast interview.

Once again the military has demonstrated that Suzanne is considered an object which they can treat however they wish.  Their invesitgation into her charges lasted three days, and concluded two months ago, however, they did not tell her until recently.

This is negligent and shows no regard for Suzanne's deteriorating mental health, her life, or her future. Suzanne will eventually get out of the military more traumatized than she would have been initially, because, the Army did not come
forward when the investigation was complete. 

The following quote is taken from the comments of signature # 6003, Jim Stiffler.  Thank you, Jim, well said.

"
the only thing that has improved in the army is it's technology. When you join, you are a "GI", government issue; they have you, and they can damn well do what they want with you. Unless you have people ON THE OUTSIDE who understand that your not dealing with a CIVIL organization, and are willing to do what ever it takes to fight this alien system. Without this support you can be traped in a frighteningly helpless situation. Suzanne needs all the help she can get NOW. Don't just read this website and fill sympthetic for a few moments. Do something!!!! Do IT NOW!!! Don't quit until this young person is discharged honorably. And insist that the NONCOM's are punished."

UPDATE:   September 8, 2006
Suzanne's mother, Sara Rich, informed us recently that the investigation of Suzanne's case was complete. However, when I called the Ft Lewis Public Affairs office this past week,I was told the investigation is not complete. 

Their office further denied any further knowledge of Suzanne's case, siting  they "have 30,000 people on post (Fort Lewis) to keep track of."
  Seems like they aren't doing a very job at keeping track of those 30,000 people.
How many of those 30,000 people have refused deployment due to sexual harassment?   How many of those 30,000 people on Fort Lewis have on-going cases of sexual abuse?  How many have a protest camp set up outside the gates of Fort Lewis?  How many of those 30,000 people have their mother speaking nationally about Command Rape? How many of those 30,000 have a petition on line?

Either there are so many soldiers on Fort Lewis with pending sexual abuse cases that Suzanne, even with all the publicity, does not stand out, OR the military just doesn't care about victims of sexual abuse, and wants to, once again, sweep it under the rug.

If you want to see for yourself just how little the military cared for Suzanne, go to the website and read the August update.  When she refused to go back to Iraq, the people in her unit divided up her belongings amongst themselves and threw the rest away.  You have to read what happened, it will break your heart and also understand how little concern is given the  victims of Command Rape.

Obviously, we have failed to make our point.  Now is the time to write and call your representative, write letters to the editor, call in on radio talk shows, whatever you can do will help.

Thank all of you who continue to speak out and support Suzanne!  Spread the Word. Together we can make a difference.


Suzanne Swift
July 1, 2006
Specialist Suzanne Swift served honorably for one tour in Iraq; she was nineteen when she left.  While in Iraq she was repeatedly sexual harassed and abused by her chain of command. This is known as command rape; sexual abuse/harassment from someone in your  immediate chain of command.

In a war environment, the chain of command (sergeants and company commander) have total control over their troops in life and death situations.  These are the people who were sexually traumatizing Suzanne.

Suzanne's previous attempts to stop the abuse only brought contempt and no action from those responsible for protecting her. In January 2006, Suzanne chose not to return to Iraq for a second tour. She was arrested 11 June 2006, and is now at Fort Lewis, WA awaiting the results of an Army investigation.

Women veterans know all too well, how often Army investigations sweep things under the rug concerning these matters.  We also know that no one could make up the subtle details Suzanne has related to us.  We support her in saying no, to a second tour in Iraq


We further intend to insure that significant changes are made in how our women in uniform are respected, and how they respect themselves.

The problem of command rape, or tolerating sexual abuse and rape is not retricted to women, men are increasingly being sexually assaulted in our military.  Sometimes it is even more difficult for men to come forward.  We support all who have experienced sexual abuse, and encourage them to take a stand.

Regardless of our political leanings, or views about the war or the administration, we can all agree the treatment of women in a manner such as Suzanne's is not right. 

The military is conducting an investigation, but these have been poor in the past, however, we hope because of the attention this case has received, justice will be done.

Thank you for joining us in that effort.



Note
I do understand how passionate people become about the war in general, however people from all ideologies can share in this cause.  We ask that you stick to the subject when making your comments.  
Thank you,
BJ Stewart
Originator




Congressman DeFazio, and Senator Murray have all been supportive of Suzanne and her family, many thanks to them.


Co-sponsor websites:
 
Community Alliance Lane County, Orgeon  www.calclane.org

Women Organizaing Women
www.vetwow.com

Women Veterans of America www.womenveteransofamerica.com

Texas Women Veterans
www.texaswomenveterans.org


Rev. Dorothy Mackey
www.militarywoman.org/stamp.htm

Military Families Speak Out
www.mfso.org







THIS PETITION IS SPONSORED BY THE FOLLOWING ORGANIZATIONS:

Community Alliance of Lane Country, Oregon
Military Families Speak Out
Texas Women Veterans, Austin
Women Veterans of America
STAAAMP, Inc.                                            
Women Organizing Women      

We, the undersigned, demand the immediate release of Suzanne Swift from Fort Lewis, WA where she is being detained for refusing to return to her unit where she was sexually harassed and demeaned.

Suzanne was in trauma counseling prior to being arrested for AWOL. She was initially guarded by one of her abusers. She is now back, under the control of the military, restricted to post, with the added stress of pressing charges against some of the members of her unit. This situation serves to exacerbate the trauma and is unacceptable.

If the military is not going to protect women, then women have a right to protect themselves.

If the military refuses to enforce their own policies on sexual harassment, and continues to allow an environment where reporting abuse is dangerous to the woman, then clearly, Suzanne Swift has the right to say no, to insure her own health and well being.

Failure of trust occurred causing Suzanne's absence without leave. Good order and discipline would have prevented this situation. Suzanne's first experience taking her complaints up the Chain of Command ended poorly; what would lead her to believe it would be different if she continued?

When a young person is subjected to this type of abuse of power, they become beaten down, easily intimidated, and unable to stand up for themselves.

The military has displayed gross negligence and poor judgment in the case of Suzanne Swift. Due to this fact, and the military's inability to maintain their own policies and discipline within their ranks concerning these issues; and the prevailing and tolerated misogyny that currently permeates the United States Armed Forces, the military has proven themselves unfit to pass judgment on Suzanne Swift.

The groups sponsoring this petition do not necessarily hold the same point of view on many issues; some come from strongly opposing sides and do not necessarily endorse the activities of the other. However, we have all recognized, as have those who sign this petition, the injustice of the treatment of Suzanne Swift, and the serious problems faced by troops, particularly in Iraq.

We demand an immediate honorable administrative discharge for Suzanne Swift, who has already served honorably for one tour in Iraq, enduring not only the environment of war, but also the objectification, harassment, and manipulation by her superiors.
Enough is enough.

We recognize that the Department of Defense has recently initiated a Task Force on the mental health issues in the military. We further demand representation on this Task Force and to be involved in all future efforts made by the DoD. These representatives will be selected by the Task Force that came together to help Suzanne Swift and scripted this petition.

We also call on the following individuals to answer to us, why the
the DoD's policies have not been enforced.

President of the United States, George W. Bush
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
Dr. William Winkenwerder Jr., Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs
Army Lt. Gen. Kevin C. Kiley, Surgeon General
Bill Carr, Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Military Personnel Policy
Armed Forces Chaplains Board
General Peter Pace (USMC), Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
Admiral Edmund P. Giambastiani, Jr. (USN), Vice Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
Vice Admiral Patricia Ann Tracey, Chief of Naval Education and Training
Congressman Peter DeFazio, OR
Senator Gordon Smith, OR
Senator Ron Wyden, OR
Senator John Cornyn, TX
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, TX
Senator John Warner, Senate Armed Services Committee, VA
Senator Carl Levin, Senate Armed Services Committee, MI
Congressman Duncan Hunter, Congressional Armed Services Committee, CA
Congressman Martin Meehan, Congressional Armed Services Committee, MA
Senator George Voinovich, Senate Ethics Committee, OH
Senator Tim Johnson, Senate Ethics Committee, SD
Congressman Doc Hastings, House Ethics Committee, WA
Congressman Howard Berman, House Ethics Committee, CA
Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, House Ethics Committee, OH

Respectfully awaiting your response,


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