Help us make a stand against sexual assault in the military
Enough is enough! Sexual assault in the military is intolerable and inexcusable. The military's response of indifference is incomprehensible. The failure of us, as citizens, to hold them accountable for their sex crimes stops now.
Starting Wednesday, August 16th 2006, the Swift Action Network, a Suzanne Swift support group, will pitch up tent outside Fort Lewis in Washington State, where Swift is stationed. The camp will begin at 7pm Wednesday, at Exit 119 on Interstate 5. Our goal is to show solidarity with Suzanne Swift's ongoing plight, and to bring awareness to the epidemic level of sexual assault in the military.
Our demands are as follows:
1) Suzanne Swift be given a full honorable discharge.
2) She be given full medical care for life, as a minor restitution for her Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and the trauma she has received at the hands of her superiors and the military.
3) The military start bringing the perpetrators of sexual assault and harassment to justice, beginning with the Sergeants that assaulted Swift.
We will not leave until all our demands are met. This has gone on long enough. The time to take a stand against this injustice is right now!
---Sexual Assault in the Military---
"It is estimated that 45% of the women in the US Armed Forces have been sexually assaulted. Another report, in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, states that of the 79% who have been harassed, one third have been assaulted and at least 14% have been gang-raped by co-workers. Many reports from the troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan authenticate this data.
While many, many women and men in the Armed Forces suffer sexual assault and harassment in silence, there are a few brave individuals who refuse to be silent any longer. Specialist Suzanne Swift is one of those people.
Not long after Suzanne Swift deployed to Iraq in February 2004, two of her Sergeants began propositioning her for sex. They forced her into what is referred to as "command rape," which is rape by a superior officer under the threat of punitive action. In the combat zone, both of these Sergeants have life and death authority over the people under their command. Both of these Sergeants are married. The harrassment continued upon her return to Fort Lewis in February, 2005. This harassment culminated with a statement made by her direct superior, a third perpetrator. When Swift asked him, "Where do I report in the morning?", he responded by saying, "In my bed, naked."
When her unit set to redeploy to Iraq in January, 2006, she refused to return, and went AWOL. She stayed with her mother in Eugene, Oregon, until she was found and arrested on June 11, 2006. She was brought back to Fort Lewis, and placed back under the supervision of one of the Sergeants who assaulted her. At first, she was confined to barracks with that individual, though now she is able to leave the base.
Sexual harassment and assault in the military will no longer be tolerated. The military's long-standing refusal to take responsibility for crimes committed under its watch ends now.
The demonstration will focus on freeing Suzanne Swift, and on raising awareness of the military's continued tolerance of sexual assault. The demonstration is not anti-war in itself, although war certainly exacerbates the problem.
---How Can I Help?---
*Donate money (A donation account is being set up, contact email@example.com for more information).
*Bring supplies for us. Food, water, sunscreen, art, sign making supplies, anything you think we might need.
*NO DRUGS OR ALCOHOL!
*Bring a tent, and pitch up with us. Food and entertainment will be provided as aid and donations come in.
*Tell others about the crime of sexual assault and harassment in the Armed Forces.
For any other questions, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org