<\body> Stories in America: An Update on U.S. Army Specialist Suzanne Swift

Thursday, July 27, 2006

An Update on U.S. Army Specialist Suzanne Swift

Because of today's insane news cycle, it's easy to forget people like Suzanne Swift, the young woman who is awaiting the outcome of an investigation into allegations that she was sexually harassed and assaulted by three American sergeants in Iraq. I'll continue getting updates and I hope you'll pass them around.

Also, the traditional (liberal) media still refuses to address the ongoing problem of sexual assault in the military. Suzanne's case got a fair amount of national and international attention when she was arrested, but *none* of the reporters bothered to look at the bigger picture.

Here's a recent story I wrote about Swift's case and sexual assault in the military.

This update was written by Sara Rich, Suzanne's mom:
Things continue to move forward for Suzanne. The Army has not yet disclosed the results of the commander-directed investigations. The investigator took statements from witnesses, including Suzanne, and forwarded his report to the command. The command now has to decide whether Suzanne's allegations require the Army to take action, and whether they have any bearing on Suzanne's own case. We expect to learn the results of the investigation any day now.

Suzanne's military psych evaluation came back. She was told she does not have a personality disorder, and that she has symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder but not enough to diagnose her with PTSD. No mention of military sexual trauma. So, she sits in limbo, restricted to base and assigned to "weeds and seeds" details, not knowing what her future holds.

Whatever the Army decides to do, we have total confidence in Suzanne's attorneys, Keith Scherer and Greg Gagne. They were trial attorneys in the JAG and know their way around military law. They are aggressive and very thorough. They were recommended to us by people from Military Families Speak Out as being very good at protecting their clients and advocating for families.

We are still doing fundraising to pay Suzanne's legal costs, which are substantial. There is now a link on Suzanne's website to make direct donation. Check out Suzanne's website for updates, new pictures, articles and action alerts. Suzanneswift.org. Huge thank you to Robin Bernardi for all her hard work on the website. She is a patient genius and we owe her so much.

How is Suzanne? She is OK. She is bored and tired most of them time. The stress of not knowing what the Army is going to do with her case has been hard on her. She is pretty isolated and the work she is assigned to do is mundane. She is so amazed at how much support she has received from around the world. I have been trying to see her every week or so to just hug her and give her encouragement. Her moods fluctuate from sad to angry and then just exhaustion. I tell her to hang on and we are doing all we can do to get her home. She is hopeful that the Army will do the right thing. As I mentioned in earlier updates her new unit captain is a very steady and kind man and we appreciate his thoughtful responsiveness to making Suzanne feel better.

We continue to be amazed by the activity on the petition. We are moving slowly towards 5,000 signatures. Let's get this done ASAP!!! The comments being made are powerful and significant. Remember we have Suzanne wear available on cafe press. I wear my shirt frequently and just saw my dad at a rally yesterday wearing his own, "Free Suzanne" shirt.

The family is hanging on. We want her home. I have joined CODEPINK'S Bring Them Home Fast and am not eating every other day for peace. I have been speaking out and communicating with many people all over the world. Something that has come up is that we need to create a resource list or how to list for women that are experiencing "command rape" and "military sexual trauma" right now. So, that is something we are working on.

That's it for now. Remind all the people around you to DO something every day to help create peace in the world.


Sara Rich, M.S.W


At 7/28/2006 5:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was sexually assaulted by a MSGT in the USAF, and it went to trial, and they never presented the photos, or evidence. And I lost, and he walked. I was told by the investegators off base, it was an open, shut case, and obvious he did it. He was arrested on the spot, and of course.. covered up by the military. The Base commander who ultimately made the decision to stop the trial at the first level, was later thrown a going away party by the accused.

you do the math.

At 7/28/2006 5:14 PM, Blogger Lise said...

I forgot to mention, she later had me trown in cuffs at the gate, and arrested for saying I would go to the newspapers, I was held against my will, until I could no longer breath (I had an anxiety attack). When they took me to the hospital, and weren't looking, a nurse helped me use the phone to call my mom, who I told I was being held against my will. The phone, promptly taken out of my hand. My mom called the base, said you have ten min. to release her. Within an hour, I was released and never given a reason on why I was held. What they overlooked was the piece of paper I saw and spoke of with my picture on it, stating to arrest on site for "saying I would go to the paper about the assault".

Supposedly there is a case with the Inspector General, but I still only have a case number.

You should have seen the bruises from the cuffs and from the treatment I rec'vd. The pictures, say it all.

At 7/28/2006 7:40 PM, Anonymous patriot said...

Thanks for sharing your experience. Please keep speaking out.

At 7/31/2006 2:45 PM, Blogger suzannesmom said...

Yes, I know your story because since my daughter was taken away in handcuffs 51 days ago we have received hundreds of stories just like yours. Where the victims that do speak out are treated like dirty traitors and the perpetrators are moved and promoted. WAKE UP!!! This is happening right now as I type to Lawanda in Afghanistan and many more just like her. My daughter Suzanne is my hero. She endured her sadistic treatment by her 1st Sgt. for a year in Iraq and she still holds her head up. I am so heartbroken that we are treating our military like this. Predators/perpatrators should be punished stripped of rank and court-martialed and serve brig time.
Sara, the proud mother of Suzanne

At 5/27/2011 3:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel for suzzane swift and relate to everything she is going through. I was stationed in Ft.Lewis, wa in 1984 and I was sexually harrassed and stalked by my mess hall Sgt after I turned down his advances. The harrassement and stalking got so bad that I pulled a spatcula out on him on day in the mess hall and told him if he did not leave me alone that I would pull his head off. I was sent to the Capt that day and I did not know what harrassement was. I told him he hit on me one day and I turned down his advancements since then hand every single day he would stalk me and harrassment, sometimes whe would be standing in a group with a bunch of me and call me lesbian. The harrassment got so bad and scared me so, that I ended up in Cleveland, ohio. I went AWOL and I can not remember to this day how I got there. When I went back, the JAG did not want to hear anything about what I was saying. He said, if I stayed in, that I would be sent back to where my SGT was and I told him that I could not do it.He told me to sign a paper and they would not press charges against me. That was over 25 years ago and I have PTSD, which I was recently charged with. I am now trying to get them to look at the paperwork from when I went and seen a doctor on base and my past mental history. Suzzane, I will sign your petition, with honor.


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