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