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
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,