Courage to Resist has announced that Sat., Jul. 15, will be a national day of action to demand an immediate honorable discharge for Spc. Suzanne Swift. -- Phan Nguyen of Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace gives details about plans for Jul. 15 in Pierce County. -- Suzanne Swift went AWOL in Janurary 2006 rather than obey orders to return with her unit to Iraq, where she was "by two superiors and coerced into a sexual relationship with a sergeant" (Register-Guard [Eugene, OR], Jun. 15, 2006) and who was arrested in June at her mother's home in Eugene, OR, and forced to return to Fort Lewis. -- Below is a letter from Suzanne Swift's mother, Sara Rich, asking you to join her at the gates of Fort Lewis on Sat., Jul. 15, to press the demand for Suzanne Swift's immediate honorable discharge. -- Sara Rich writes: "What has happened to Suzanne is happening to two out of every three women in the military right now. Young women and men are being subjected to sexual harassment, intimidation, and assault every day, and this is a national call to action. We must stop the climate of fear that our soldiers are living in every day. No more sweeping it under the carpet. Help us change the system where this is acceptable and victims are dismissed and their needs ignored. Take action and pay attention. My daughter is stepping up with her very life. What are you going to do to effect change today?" ...
JULY 15 NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION TO DEMAND AN IMMEDIATE HONORABLE DISCHARGE FOR SUZANNE SWIFT
** Letter from Suzanne Swift's Mom **
Courage to Resist
[PHOTO CAPTION: Spc. Suzanne Swift]
Suzanne joined the Army with stars in her eyes. She was told she would see far away travel, be trained as a military police officer, and when she got out she would be given money for college. Hell of a deal. Not once did the recruiter mention the deadly statistics for women in the military and how going to war dehumanizes many soldiers to a point where they think that raping and harassing women is acceptable behavior.
What has happened to Suzanne is happening to two out of every three women in the military right now. Young women and men are being subjected to sexual harassment, intimidation, and assault every day, and this is a national call to action. We must stop the climate of fear that our soldiers are living in every day. No more sweeping it under the carpet. Help us change the system where this is acceptable and victims are dismissed and their needs ignored. Take action and pay attention. My daughter is stepping up with her very life. What are you going to do to effect change today?
Support Suzanne and thousands of others in taking action. We demand that Suzanne be given a full honorable discharge from the Army and that all her mental heath needs be fully met. On this July 15, Suzanne will be 22 years old. Don't allow her to spend another minute under the care of a system that fails so many of it's own every day. Suzanne deserves an honorable discharge today!
Join me at the gates of Ft. Lewis in Tacoma, WA, on July 15 to show support for Suzanne.
Plan a support event in your own city.
For more information go to www.SuzanneSwift.org
Thank you for your time and energy.
Sara Rich, M.S.W
Listen to an audio interview with Sara Rich calling for the day of action on July 15.
HOW TO HELPS SUZANNE TODAY
1) On July 15 join with people across the country to demand an immediate honorable discharge for Suzanne Swift.
Check www.SuzanneSwift.org for forthcoming organizing materials.
2) Sign the support petition to 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, abused, and demeaned.
3) Download the informational flyer and help to educate your community about Suzanne's case.
4) Send messages of support to Suzanne (you can collect them on July 15!).
Friends of Suzanne
P.O. Box 51584
Eugene, OR 97405
5) Donate to Suzanne's legal defense fund.
RALLY IN DEFENSE OF ARMY SPECIALIST SUZANNE SWIFT NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION
Saturday, July 15 at noon.
At the overpass off of Exit 119 on I-5, just outside of Fort Lewis.
** Carpool from Olympia at 11:15 a.m., at the old Rainy Day/Apollo's parking lot, corner of Harrison and Division **
We are calling for an HONORABLE DISCHARGE for Suzanne Swift and for the military to take accounts of sexual abuse seriously.
You can park in the small gravel lot just northwest of the overpass.
Press conference with Swift's mother, Sara Rich, at 3:00 p.m.
ABOUT SUZANNE SWIFT
Suzanne Swift joined the military on a five-year term as an MP (instead of the usual four years) because the Army recruiter lied and said she wouldn't have to go to Iraq that way. However, a month after she finished basic training, the Army shipped her to Iraq. There she faced continual sexual harrassment from two different sargeants, one of whom forced her into sexual relations in what is known in the military as "command rape."
She attempted to seek redress through the appropriate military channels but was rebuffed. She was eventually diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Upon returning to Fort Lewis after her first tour in Iraq, she was the subject of sexual harrassment by a third sargeant. Again, she sought redress but was accused of being equally responsible for the harrassment. The Army also sped up her redeployment date by 7 months, requiring her to return to Iraq in less than a year. Rather than return to the abuse that she had been subjected to, and which the military failed to address, Spc. Swift went AWOL.
On June 11, police in Eugene, Oregon apprehended her at her mother's home, and she was sent back to Fort Lewis, where she has been confined. Initially when she returned to Fort Lewis, she was returned to the command of one of the sergeants who had sexually harrassed her. She could still face charges for desertion.
This Saturday is Suzanne Swift's birthday. She is turning 22.
Because she is not allowed to leave Fort Lewis, her mother will be coming to her, and she is inviting all of us to join her in supporting her daughter.
Let's go and convey the following...
- Honorable discharge for Spc. Swift.
- Demand prosecution of sexual harrassment and sexual assault in the military. The military must take seriously reports of sexual abuse.
- Stand in solidarity with other victims of sexual abuse in the military.
If the military isn't doing what it's supposed to do in order to "support the troops" and the soldiers aren't allowed to complain, then the rest of us need to step in.
For more info:
Two interviews with Swift's mother:
Sign the petition at: