Sexually Assaulted GI is Charged After Going AWOL

The Army has brought charges against military police officer Suzanne Swift because she has refused to do another tour of duty in Iraq after being sexually harassed during her first stay. Swift has reported sexual abuse and harassment by three noncommissioned officers during her time in the military; two of these reported incidents occurred while Swift was stationed in Iraq. The Army has verified the incident that happened in the US, and the perpetrator has been disciplined, The Washignton Post reports.

One of Swift’s complaints is against her platoon sergeant in Kuwait, saying he coerced her into a sexual relationship. “And you know, I was 19. I fell for it, and for months I was like his little sex slave, I guess. It was disgusting, and it was horrible, and I didn’t know what to do,” Swift told The Seattle Times. Officials in the Army claim they are taking the accusations seriously, but they have been unable to prove them true: “He said he didn’t – it was his word against hers,” said Sgt. Maj. Yolanda Choates, according to The Washington Post.

Her other complaint is against her squad leader in Iraq who allegedly pressured her into having sex with him. Swift told The Washington Post that she feared retaliation if she refused him. After ending the relationship, he ordered her to do early morning workouts, wear a wall clock around her neck, and report hourly to him in full gear.

Swift has made national headlines since refusing to deploy in January and has gained a vast amount of support from peace activists and women’s rights groups, including CodePink. These groups have started a petition drive and have demonstrated near her current base in Fort Lewis, WA, AP reports.


The Associated Press 9/27/06; The Washington Post 9/24/06; The Seattle Times 9/28/06

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